from the screenplay by Chris Columbus
Young Sherlock Holmes
The blurb on the back:
On his first murder case, a brilliant schoolboy is swept into a perilous adventure!
This is rubbish, an insult to you and an affront to me. Just to be clear why (briefly, cos I can't be bothered to go into all the details):
Obviously, most of this is the result of letting Hollywood interfere with the classics: with Steven Spielberg as producer and Chris 'Home Alone' Columbus as writer, it's not too surprising that the story is stuffed full of clichés and nonsenses aimed squarely and very, very simply at Middle America - you wouldn't expect any ambiguities from this lot and you don't get them.
Now in the movie, all this wasn't quite so disastrous. Barry Levinson is a good, competent director, the acting - Nicholas Rowe and Alan Cox as Holmes and Watson - was really quite good and if the plot was a bit ropey (well, very ropey) then it didn't matter too much because Sherlock Holmes is never just about plot. And anyway, dropping quotes from the real books into a movie can come across as a bit of a post-modernist joke in the right hands.
But when it's put down on the page, the whole thing turns into a catastrophe of the first water. Alan Arnold was the publicist on the film (the publicist!) and is clearly incapable of writing a novel. 'My feeling throughout,' he says in the Acknowledgements, 'has been one of the deepest respect for the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.' If he had any self-respect, he would have given up on the project once it became painfully apparent that he wasn't up to the job. In a civilized society, he and Columbus would be taken out and shot for their crimes against Sherlock. A single soft-nosed revolver bullet fired from a converted air-gun should be enough for both of them.