The Greek Interpreter (TV episode 1985)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Greek Interpreter

The Greek Interpreter (episode No. 9) is the 2nd episode of season 2 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and David Burke as Dr. Watson, aired on ITV on 1st september 1985. 50 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter (1893).

The Greek Interpreter is a gripping episode, rife with vicious violence and cynical blackness. Harold Latimer, who exercises a dubious hold over Sophia Kratides and his sniggering, unhinged and sadistic accomplice Wilson Kemp make an infernal pair whose innocent and hapless victims arouse compassion. Paul Kratides is beaten to death for his wholehearted devotion to his sister Sophia and Melas the compassionate and plucky Greek interpreter, nearly dies for having tried to help him. The champions of the law counterattack forcefully, as can be seen from the tremendous energy displayed by Jeremy Brett and David Burke during Melas enthralling rescue. But the highlight of the episode is the grandstand finale devised by Derek Marlowe. The villains' engine dashes through the night, where its firebox throws a glimmering red glow. Latimer tries to escape by leaping from the moving train but ends up stuck on its swinging open door, till another locomotive travelling in the opposite direction seals his fate…This thrilling scene concludes with the magnificent picture of Sherlock wrapping protective arms around Sophia and Watson, both horror-stricken. But many hints of humour brighten this dark story, for example when Sherlock and an amazed Watson pass through the Diogenes Club, whose unsociable members sit in silence ignoring each other or when Sherlock draws voluptuously on his cigarette close to the sign "Smoking strictly prohibited". Mycroft, ideally embodied by Charles Gray, contributes greatly to the episode appeal. He is as stout and listless as Sherlock is thin and energetic and his simpering contrasts comically with his bulk. But Mycroft shows formidable intelligence and audacity, should the occasion so demand. In the dining wagon, he starts up a conversation with Kemp, and when leaving the table, pretends to lose his balance and bumps into the villain to relieve him from his revolver. Obviously, Jeremy Brett, David Burke and Charles Gray form an outstanding team in this most striking story, remarkably adapted by Derek Marlowe.




Plot summary (spoiler)

Mycroft Holmes calls Sherlock to put before him the unsettling events Mr Melas, a Greek interpreter, has found himself involved in: a Mr Latimer came to enlist his services and shoved him in a coach without allowing him to know where he was taken to. Upon their arrival, Melas discovers the appalling master of the house, Kemp, and a gagged captive. Kemp wants his unfortunate Greek prisoner, Paul Kratides, to sign a mysterious document and is in need of Melas' help to translate his questions in Greek and Kratides' answers in English. During this disquieting scene, Melas catches a glimpse of Kratides' sister, Sophia…Kratides remaining inflexible in his resolve, Latimer shoves Melas back in the coach and throws him to the street in an unknown area. Holmes and Watson assume that Sophia Kratides, while staying in Great Britain, fell in love with Latimer; worried, her brother and guardian Paul hurried to London but was abducted and confined to make him sign a document allowing Latimer to get his hands on Sophia's fortune. Thanks to an advertisement placed in the papers, Mycroft gets Sophia's address and Sherlock rushes to The Myrtles, Beckenham, with his brother and Watson. They plan to pick Melas up at his place but Kemp, aware that the Greek interpreter has betrayed his secret, has abducted him. Watson, Inspector Gregson and the Holmes brothers arrive at The Myrtles just in time to save Melas from asphyxiation. But Kratides is dead and the villains have flown, taking the girl with them. Sherlock and his companions succeed in boarding the runaway's train. Having found Latimer, the detective tells him Melas is alive and will testify against him. The criminal tries to escape by jumping from the train but is killed by an express. Meanwhile, Mycroft has cunningly disarmed Kemp, who is handed over to the police.

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