Eille Norwood

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Eille Norwood

Eille Norwood (11 october 1861 - 24 december 1948), whose real name was Edward Anthony Brett, was an English actor remembered for having played Sherlock Holmes in 47 silent movies between 1921 and 1923, for Stoll Picture Productions.

Specifically, Norwood has played the detective in two films The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1921 and The Sign of Four in 1923, and 3 sets of 15 20-minutes movies: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1921, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1922 and The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1923. Each time with Hubert Willis as Dr. Watson, except in the last film, The Sign of Four, where Willis was replaced by Arthur Cullin.

Norwood remained in history as one of the best performers of Sherlock Holmes, also particularly appreciated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, who declared himself being fascinated by the performance of Eille Norwood and the quality of the Stoll Picture Productions, only reproaching them to transpose the stories in the twentys. Norwood had demonstrated a thorough understanding of the character, which he shared some qualities like the gift of disguise and the ability to play violin (provided that he learned to play the instrument for the role), and was greatly inspired by Sidney Paget's illustrations.

In addition to the films, Norwood also interpreted Holmes on stage in 1923, in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, in a play written by his nephew and strongly inspired by the play of William Gillette. The play was a great success, acclaimed by public and critics and toured in UK and abroad, including the Netherlands and Denmark, where Norwood was respectively replaced by Henri De Vries and Herman Florents.