Much is also being made of the (initially) lighter tone of the return of PBS’ Sherlock this month, even for a series that has already taken some liberties in the past. In fact, show co-creator Mark Gatiss has stated a predilection for placing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s characters Holmes and Watson in ‘less reverential’ settings, much like the ‘30s and 40s Basil Rathbone ‘Sherlocks.’

With that in mind I’d like to present a list of Sherlocks available to watch free via FilmOn’s Video OnDemand  service for immediate research and comparison, as well as to slake the thirst of those who can’t get enough sleuthing.

sherlock holmes and the secret weapon

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942)

This is the fourth in the Basil Rathbone series, updated to contemporary WWII Britain. It incorporates minimal elements of Doyle’s story The Code of the Dancing Men. Rathbone is in various disguises for much of the film (Peter Sellers would later spoof the ‘German bookseller’ in The Pink Panther), or in hero mode, and pretty much all of the skullduggery is in the service of the mother country.

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woman in green

The Woman In Green (1945)

Holmes returns to sleuthing in this (already) eleventh of the Rathbone Sherlocks, which features a more prominent role for Professor Moriarty. The atmosphere is more London ‘high society, with some light ‘hypnotic’ elements. A bit of a vibe that Woody Allen would wallow in for Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001).

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withoutaclue

Without a Clue (1988)

And for a total flipping of the script, there is Without A Clue from 1988. Ben Kingsley plays Dr. Watson as the true mastermind behind the duo — in fact, the creator of the Sherlock Holmes character. Michael Caine is in his 1988 Golden Globe-nominated Dirty Rotten Scoundrels mode as Reginald Kinkaid (no relation to the recently deceased Dave Madden’s Partridge Family character Reuben Kinkaid), hired to play Holmes under Watson’s watchful eye. Kingsley has the opportunity to develop his ‘boiling below the surface’ persona, while supporting actors Jeffery Jones (channeling Emperor Joseph II and Dean Rooney as Inspector Lestrade), Paul Freeman (his René Belloq experience in Raiders of the Lost Ark making him a natural for Moriarty), Lysette Anthony (Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives) and Peter Cook (the ’68 Bedazzled ‘Devil’ in one of his final flurry of film appearances) contribute to a light but highly entertaining romp, great for a nightcap.

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You might also like:
Gotta Watch, Sherlock edition: Robert Mitchum in The Big Sleep
Beyond Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who: Know your British TV blogs
What can American TV learn from the BBC’s Sherlock?

More mysteries are being unraveled on FilmOn’s ShockMasters:

You might also like:
Gotta Watch, Sherlock edition: Robert Mitchum in The Big Sleep
Beyond Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who: Know your British TV blogs
What can American TV learn from the BBC’s Sherlock?

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