Moriarty is a bit of an interesting last name. It gets mangled a bit (“Mormontree” once) but not nearly as much as some. When telling it to someone, I automatically spell it afterwards by default. I’m forever removing extra I’s from various locations. It is when I run into a Sherlock Holmes fan, though, that things get interesting.
Professor James Moriarty was Holmes’ arch-nemesis. Every bit the equal to Holmes’ incredible intellect, his diabolical machinations lead some (including me) to claim he was the first Super Villain. This surname connection to a fictional character has led to hundreds of discussions of him, Holmes, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle throughout my life. While not making me an expert, it certainly gave me some perspective on the topic.
Like when Robert Downey Jr., lit the pipe in 2009, I got an earful. His turn at Holmes wasn’t horrible. It was better than I expected, to be honest, but it really doesn’t rate at the best the Detective has seen. So who does rate that honor in my book? This Topless Robot blog post on the 10 Best Sherlock Holmses gets it just about right.
Their top choice is mine as well – Jeremy Brett. Just watch this collection of some of his clips from the first season of his performance on television in the UK. I hadn’t seen his “stagnation” speech in a long time, but it hasn’t lost its power. To quote from the blog post:
he was completely transcendent as Holmes, brilliantly cunning and yet almost unbearably lonely and withdrawn, fine-tuned and deeply haunted. Determined to give the part his all, Brett dove in headfirst, creating a special compilation of notes (the famous “Baker Street File”), scrutinizing every script for accuracy and inventing a backstory.
If you’re curious, watch some of the other clips and track down some of the other great incarnations of this legendary Detective. He doesn’t need to be an action hero – he is quite impressive just as he stands.
- A Modern ‘Sherlock’ Is More Than Elementary (npr.org)
- ‘Sherlock Holmes 2? Has Found Its Moriarty? (screenrant.com)
- Stephen Fry to Play Mycroft Holmes in ‘Sherlock Holmes 2? (slashfilm.com)