Nearly 100-years-old, a silent film Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette has been discovered at the Cinémathèque Française. Even thought the 1916 film isn't the first Holmes film ever made, it is the only one starring Gilllette, from whom we get a fair number of Holmes' most famous quirks.

Directed in 1916 by Arthur Berthelet, this film followed a handful of other portrayals captured on film. Before the film, Gillette had already played Holmes to great acclaim in the theater — he'd do his play 1,300 times in his lifetime. He's considered the first to wear the infamous deerstalker, smoke the curved pipe (which was easier to act with than a straight on), and his "Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow" was the model for "Elementary, my dear Watson." He was also the model for the illustrations of Holmes by Frederic Dorr Steele, featured in Collier's Weekly.


So now that there is finally a print of the only film he did as the character, we can see some of this history for ourselves. It's currently undergoing restoration by the Cinémathèque Française and San Francisco Silent Film Festival. That's in preparation for its premiere at the restoration festival Toute la Mémoire du Monde in January 2015. A U.S. debate will follow at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in May 2015.


Image: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

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