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Making of a Guy film

The two main weapons director Guy Ritchie used to reinvent the world’s best-known detective are to be found on the edges of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.

movie reviews Updated: May 22, 2010 00:15 IST

Sherlock Holmes
Reliance BIG Home/Warner, Rs 599 (2-disc set)
Rating: ****

The two main weapons director Guy Ritchie used to reinvent the world’s best-known detective are to be found on the edges of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.

First there’s ‘baritsu’, a martial artform Conan Doyle mentioned only in The Adventure of the Empty House. And then there’s Irene Adler, the only person to have ever conned the detective, in A Scandal in Bohemia. And what a remarkable difference the blowup of these two things make. In Robert Downey Jr. we have for the first time a Holmes who can be jealous in romance and deadly in combat. This difference from any earlier portrayal of our cocaine-addicted, cerebral detective is underlined in this DVD set’s specials.

The feature on why there’s no deerstalker hat, a dress code introduced by illustrator Sidney Paget, takes a tongue-in-cheek view of the earlier efforts. The ‘tutorial’ on baritsu is another matter. There is, in fact, no such thing. The educated guess is that Conan Doyle twisted bartitsu, a self-defence technique invented by a British engineer.