The Golden Pince-Nez (TV episode 1994)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Golden-Pince Nez

The Golden-Pince Nez (episode No. 38) is the 3rd episode of season 6 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson, aired on ITV on 21 march 1994. 51 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez (1904).

Adapting The Golden-Pince Nez was no easy task. Edward Hardwicke being unavailable for filming, scriptwriter Gary Hopkins had to urgently modify his script and replace Watson with Mycroft Holmes. Except for this forced substitution, Hopkins has, on the whole, respected the original story and preserved Arthur Conan Doyle's excellent dialogues, limiting himself to the retouching imposed by plausibility or the need to avoid platitude, which has led him, among other things, to spice up the outcome by executing the traitor. But if it has changed a little the plot, it has considerably enriched it. The prologue to the episode, which shows a riot in pre-revolutionary Russia, vividly revives the historical facts quickly cited by Conan Doyle. More boldly, Hopkins introduced into the film a burning component of the British news of 1904, the suffragette campaign for women's vote. This interesting addition is not arbitrary, Conan Doyle having actively participated in the controversies on women's suffrage. We naturally regret Watson's absence, but the couple formed by the Holmes brothers, both united and rival, similar in intelligence and opposed in temperament, are not lacking in spiciness and Charles Gray, phlegmatic, misanthropic and ironic Mycroft, brightens the episode with welcome touches of humour. Peter Hammond's images, sometimes of baroque beauty, can also be remarkable for their dramatic effectiveness when they show Anna's door, the nihilist, breaking up inexorably under police blows or her face speckled with blood drops after her involuntary murder. Taking full advantage of Jeremy Brett's face, Hammond multiplies close-ups as beautiful as they are suggestive, such as the one where the light of a flash, falling straight into Sherlock Holmes' eyes, gives them an almost disturbing supernatural glow. Finally, faced with multiple difficulties, the Granada team managed to get by with honour.




Plot summary (spoiler)

Inspector Hopkins is distraught because the murder of Willoughby Smith, Secretary of Professor Coram, seems to have no motive whatsoever. Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, consulted, deduced from the examination of the pince-nez discovered in the young man's hand that he had been killed by a terribly short-sighted woman. According to Susan Tarlton's testimony, the murderer could not have escaped without being spotted. So where could she be? Examining the desk, Sherlock Holmes noticed scratches, proof that someone had tried to open a drawer. However, Coram claims that nothing was stolen and that Smith killed himself. While her companions wander astray suspecting Abigail Crosby of Smith's murder on the pretext that she was wearing a pince-nez and that the young people had quarrelled violently, Sherlock Holmes returned to Coram. There, he discovers steps printed on the layer of snuff that Mycroft had discreetly spread in front of the library. So someone hides behind a secret door: Anna, Coram's wife. Out of hiding spontaneously, she explains that blind without her pince-nez, she went by mistake to the teacher's room, who only agreed to hide her under the threat of being handed over to the vengeance of her ex-comrades. He and Anna were once nihilist activists, but he betray her and her companions to the police. All of them, including the harmless Alexis, Anna's brother, were heavily condemned. Coram fled Russia with his letters, which would have proved his innocence. After her sentence was served, Anna came to take them back. The secretary grabbed her and, grabbing a letter opener, she unintentionally struck him fatally. Having instructed Sherlock Holmes to deliver Alexis' letters to the Russian embassy, Anna succumbed to the poison she had administered to herself. As for Coram, a nihilist who had found him will kill him.

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