The Bruce Partington Plans (TV episode 1988)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Bruce Partington Plans

The Bruce Partington Plans (episode No. 25) is the 4th 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 27 april 1988. 52 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans (1908).

This episode concludes Sherlock Holmes' Return in style. The plot is captivating. West's guilt is first presented as obvious. But soon questions arise, continually fuelling the suspense. How could West travel without a ticket? Why does Holmes rejoice when he discovers that a curve and a switch precede the place where his body was lying? What revelation illuminated Holmes when he discovered on the map the street of the spy Oberstein? And Sherlock's brilliant deductions, embodied in a sharp and incisive Brett, lead to unusual and surprising conclusions. Action is no more lacking than mystery. Holmes and his companions set a trap for the thief that led to his capture. A twist: this traitor is the supreme planner's own brother! Oberstein will also not escape Holmes' nets, who triumphed over the whole line. The sinister fog enveloping the city, the death of a young man who is presumed innocent, the distress of his fiancée, embodied by the moving Amanda Waring, create a very gripping dramatic atmosphere. But the comedian mixes as always with the tragic. Brett perfectly reflects Holmes' overwhelming or feverish boredom as he desperately tries to get Watson's attention, determined not to let himself be disturbed. Arthur Conan Doyle's text offers actors a wide range of witty and humorous lines, such as the one in which Sherlock Holmes, spinning the metaphor, likens his brother to a streetcar that never deviates from his line. Charles Gray is a perfect Mycroft Holmes, both imposing and comic, and the sequence in which Sherlock Holmes, seizing the culprit, throws him at the feet of his astonished brother who is still asleep is a rare comedy. This very complete episode makes us regret that, because lack of money, the next two could not be shot.




Plot summary (spoiler)

The astounding event of Mycroft Holmes's arrival on Baker Street was the theft of ten pages of plans from the Bruce Partington submarine, seven of which were found on the Cadogan West employee, discovered dead near a London subway track. Sherlock deduced from the absence of a ticket in West's pockets and from the observation of the track that the employee did not kill himself when he fell off the train. He was murdered and placed on the roof of a wagon, from where his body slipped when the convoy tanned on a switch. Holmes will not learn anything from the planner, Sir James Walter: he has just died, his brother claims, of the shock caused by the disappearance of the documents. West's fiancée Violet Westbury explains to Holmes that he abandoned her on the way to the theatre to rush to the Admiralty buildings and Johnson, the head of the department, reveals that only he and Sir James held the keys to access the plans. But Holmes notices that the desk flaps do not join: West could have observed, through the slits, an alarming spectacle. Having introduced himself into the home of the spy Oberstein, Holmes sees his hypotheses about West confirmed: the trains stop under the window, stained with blood. In Oberstein's office, Holmes and Watson discovered the ads signed by Pierrot where he set up an appointment with the man who delivered the plans to him. Immediately Holmes, using the same pseudonym, summoned this mysterious traitor; but when he appeared, it turned out that he was none other than the Honourable Colonel Valentine Walter! He had copied his brother Sir James' keys and stolen the plans. Having surprised Walter, West followed him to Oberstein's house, which, fearing his testimony, killed him. Walter confused, Holmes used it to lure the spy, who fell into the trap.

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