Monday, November 23, 2009

Wandering Through Online Mysteries

by Julia Buckley

Mystery lovers could waste an awful lot of time wandering through clips on You Tube. Just as film can forever preserve the images suggested by our favorite detective novels, so can You Tube forever preserve some of those wonderful movies and shows.

For example, look at this classic clip with Humphrey Bogart in a film version of Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP. Bogie is charming as ever as a surprisingly slight-looking Marlowe (I picture him tougher, more muscular) who engages in mild flirtation while keeping surveillance on a tough across the street.

And long before David Suchet played Christie's Poirot, Peter Ustinov did so. Here, in EVIL UNDER THE SUN, he indulges in one of Poirot's favorite things: bringing together the suspects for a revelation. SPOILER ALERT: don't watch this one if you don't know, or want to know, the ending of EVIL UNDER THE SUN!

British actor Ian Carmichael did a creditable job bringing the difficult character of Lord Peter Wimsey to life onscreen. I think Dorothy Sayers would have enjoyed his take on the character--especially those penetrating blue eyes!

Speaking of handsome detectives, I've always loved Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy mysteries, and only the devilishly attractive Ian MacShane has ever portrayed him onscreen. In this clip Lovejoy is caught in a bog.

Many an actor has tried his hand at capturing the personality of Conan-Doyle's great Sherlock Holmes. One of the most admirable attempts was by Jeremy Brett (I'm not sure I'll be able to say the same of Robert Downey, Jr. in the upcoming Holmes flick!)

Who are your favorite detectives captured on film?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I liked Inspector Morse (and now Lewis) a lot. Wallander is very good, too.

Thanks for these clips, Julia! You've reminded me of some movies I'd like to rent again.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Julia Buckley said...

I loved John Thaw as Morse. In fact, I had a clip of him that somehow didn't transfer here. I miss him.

Sheila Connolly said...

You have slighted Basil Rathbone, the iconic Sherlock Holmes!

Susan D said...

There's only one of each:
Joan Hickson
David Suchet
Ian Carmichael (absolutely!!)
Jeremy Brett.

But hey, don't you hate that man-made cliche that survives to this day: attractive woman with glasses and hair tied back removes glasses and hair clip and suddenly, "Oh my gosh! Miss Perkins! You're beautiful!"

Lonnie Cruse said...

Miss Marple (Joan Hickson)for sure

Actually I love nearly all of them. Choosing is too difficult. I need another cup of coffee for this.

Julia Buckley said...

I do love Rathbone, but I thought Brett made more of an effort to capture some of Holmes' complexities.

Susan, it is HORRIBLE! And I'm not even sure what we're supposed to think about that scene. Is Marlowe supposed to have fooled around with her? You notice he rather heavily touches her arm twice before he leaves. Was this supposed to be controversial? I can't remember the book well enough to know if this went beyond flirtation.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thaw as Morse--and Rathbone for me! I saw the trailer of Downey as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, though, and I think we're all going to enjoy it. :)

Julia Buckley said...

Liz, Rathbone was a whole different kind of Holmes, but I did enjoy his as well. I sort of had a crush on him as a kid, even though he was the evil Guy of Gisbon to Errol Flynn's Robin Hood.

I'm not sure about the Downey Holmes. They seem to be endeavoring to turn him into some sort of action hero. I wonder what Conan Doyle would think.

Lyn said...

I have loved practically every incarnation of Miss Marple, but Joan Hickson nailed that character. And Jeremy Brett as Holmes. I loved Rathbone, but could never make head nor tail of the stories.

And I don't know what they're doing with this latest round of Miss Marple stories on TV. There was no need to do those again. None.

And thanks for the clips. Such a nice way to end the day.

CluesSister said...

I'm a big Perry Mason fan even if he's not technically a detective. I would love to find the early films in which Perry was played by Warren Williams. One was directed by Michael Curtiz and another had Perry and Della getting married. Any clues?