Jan 10

This Is No Place Like Holmes

Do You See////9 comments • 660 views

Sherlock Holmes does give the reviewer plenty of options on the Holmes based puns. In probing the homoerotic subtext we even get the Guardian crying about Holmesophobia (nice work – cheers). And all of this is hung on some sort of idea that the film either is, or isn’t, faithful to the source and that this is important. My take on this is as follows:
a) It is not important
b) It is not that faithful
c) It is as faithful as other versions
d) It is very entertaining.

And d) is what matters right? So what has surprised me in reading reviews, particularly British reviews, that fiathfulness to the book be damned. FAITHFULNESS TO LONDON is to be demanded. And whilst much has been said about them capturing a certain kind of grimy historical Victoriana, they lose every humanities brownie point for all of its assaults on geography. For example, why exactly would one take a Hackney Carriage from 221B Baker Street* to Pentonville Prison via London Bridge. For Holmes and Watson are seen travelling south across said bridge en route (all the better to show off the soon to be important Tower Bridge in construction.

I am not the kind of pedant that says things like this spoil the film for me. I know the realities of filming in London, however the fact that this is filmed in the studio and IN A COMPUTER means that they could for once make a reliable geography. The above trip seems like a sensible cab driving money spinner compared to the conclusion which suggests the following. That somehow one can get from Guy Fawkes old haunt, the cellars of the Houses Of Parliament, to Tower Bridge via the sewers in about two minutes. AND SOMEHOW IN THE PROCESS GET TO THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE RIVER IN THE PROCESS. And then to suggest that there would be a secret passage from the sewers to the top of the UNDER CONSTRUCTION TOWER BRIDGE.

Worth it for the fight obviously. Maybe they took the Thunderbirds Thames Monorail.

*Here seen as an address for an entire house, rather than, as Conan Doyle must have meant, a flat.


  1. 1
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 8 Jan 2010 #

    We should really do an extended study of the geography of film london: iue the ACTUAL geography of the TRUE london as revealed by the medium of unbothered cinematographers and CGI nerds

    Do they take the underground ever?

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 8 Jan 2010 #

    Yes they do take the underground, but they only ever use the closed Aldwych Station!

  3. 3
    Mark M on 8 Jan 2010 #

    As I remember it, in the ER goes to London episode, Corday emerges FROM Westminster Station on her way to work in a hospital (inevitably) by Tower Bridge. The rubbish thing about that is that if she was going down INTO the tube at that point, it would actually make sense and you could still get your shot of the Houses of Parliament in.

    More vexing, considering the source, is Poppy’s bike ride at the start of Happy Go Lucky, which picks her up by the Royal Courts of Justice heading into Fleet Street and seems to following a logical sequence to Blackfriars Bridge – and then in the next shot she’s back on Fleet Street, before then reaching her destination in Waterloo.

  4. 4
    Pete Baran on 8 Jan 2010 #

    28 “INSERT TIME PERIOD HERE” Later is rather good at this. There are all sorts of crossing the river errors in both, and I’m a big fan do the quick route out of London that goes from the Blackwall Tunnel via Tottenham Court Road. But 28 Weeks Later has a particularly quick underground walk from Charing Cross Tube Station to WEMBLEY STADIUM, which appears to take about ten minutes. IT TAKES LONGER TO GET TO WEMBLEY FROM WEMBLEY CENTRAL THAN THAT.

  5. 5
    lonepilgrim on 8 Jan 2010 #

    They are in an alternative version of London as mapped here:


  6. 6
    cz on 8 Jan 2010 #

    faithfulness to geography is just as boring a pedantry as faithfulness to source

  7. 7
    Pete on 9 Jan 2010 #

    Oh absolutely cz, and I will certainly let it slide for the climax as the part built Tower Bridge is an excellent setting for the end (and if the alternative would have been dangling off of Big Ben we have been there many times before). But since the geography of the film exists only in a computer, why choose not to be faithful as it does pull you out of the film for a second. The “going south on London Bridge” seemed pointless to me. It exists to show us Tower Bridge being built but there are many ways to do that.

  8. 8
    swanstep on 10 Jan 2010 #

    @lonepilgrim,6. That anagram map is utter utter brilliance. I mean, just, wow. A Sad empath, Concerning torments r/t please. Who knew that a steam-punk/harry potter/northern lights/brazil nightmare was only an anagram away?

  9. 9
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 10 Jan 2010 #

    The anagram map’s been turning up for a couple of years at least, but every time it reappears you think it’s a new one until you print it out and check — there’s always details you didn’t remember, ideas and images that you missed last time

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