Silver Blaze (TV episode 1988)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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Silver Blaze

Silver Blaze (episode No. 23) is the 2nd episode of season 4 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Return of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson, aired on ITV on 13 april 1988. 51 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of Silver Blaze (1892).

The famous story of Silver Blaze is a brilliant demonstration of Holmes' methods. Upon learning that the sheep curry served to the stable boy was supplemented with opium, Holmes deduced who is the culprit, the only one able to program this dish that would mask the taste of the drug. The detective's imagination precedes and guides his observation: if he spots the burned match in the mud, it is because he is looking for it, having mentally reconstructed the scene that took place between man and horse. Faithful to his taste for secrecy, Holmes maintained the suspense about Straker's death until the final coup de theatre: the assassin present near the colonel was none other than the thoroughbred, who was in self-defence. Always scrupulous, John Hawkesworth made only one notable change to Arthur Conan Doyle's particularly well-constructed narrative. The novelist had honestly admitted to having made a mistake by running Silver Blaze in make-up, contrary to the rules of turf. The scriptwriter therefore placed the grooming and recognition of the thoroughbred before and not after the race. As for Conan Doyle's replicas, powerful and spiritual but monopolized by Holmes, Hawkesworth only distributed them judiciously among the various characters. An impeccable logician, Holmes also plays the entertaining role of an indulgent and mystifying vigilante. Faced with Russel Hunter, who has turned Sylas Brown into the embodiment of abject corruption and cowardice, Jeremy Brett, imperial, smiles with amusement. Having pardoned Brown in exchange for unconditional submission, Holmes undertook to punish Colonel Ross's derogatory remarks and insolent chuckles, savourably interpreted by Peter Barkworth, by making his wait last longer. To his stupid arrogance, Holmes opposes only a smiling silence. But the horse found, the race won and the murder explained, Colonel Ross, stunned, will only have to make amends.




Plot summary (spoiler)

The disappearance of Silver Blaze and the assassination of its coach Straker brought Holmes to Colonel Ross' home. The day before the tragedy, a curry dish was served and an intruder, Simpson, solicited "tips" on the Wessex Cup. The next day, Mrs. Straker discovers the disappearance of her husband and the horse Silver Blaze. Drugged, the stable hand is asleep. On the moor, Straker and Simpson's scarf lie. According to Inspector Gregory, Simpson hoped to restore his fortune by kidnapping the favourite and betting on his rival. He stole the thoroughbred and, caught up with Straker, smashed his skull in. We found on the trainer a cataract knife and a seamstress note. Having discovered a piece of candle and a burnt match at the crime scene, Holmes explored the moor. According to him, the horse, a gregarious animal, went to the nearest stable. Soon, he discovers his tracks and those of Brown, Mapleton's crooked coach. Seeing Silver Flame, he took it away, made it up and hid it. As punishment for Ross' humiliating words, Holmes hid from him that the horse had been found, but formally advised him to maintain his registration for the race. When the day came, Ross, who was looking for his champion, shouted loudly when Holmes pointed to him for a solid-coloured beast. But when Holmes washes the horse's forehead, the white star of Silver Blaze appears. Straker, ruined by his mistress, wanted to win by losing his horse. He had mixed with the dish of the opium valet, undetectable associated with curry and when he took out the thoroughbred, the dog obviously did not bark. Straker, who had trained on sheep, was about to cut the horse's tendon with his cataract knife when the animal gave him a deadly hustle and ran away at night.

  • Credits : Monique Claisse (texts), Sarah Fava (photos), Granada.