The Red Circle (TV episode 1994)

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The Red Circle

The Red Circle (episode No. 39) is the 4th 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 28 march 1994. 51 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Red Circle (1911).

Arthur Conan Doyle's story is captivating but, once again, too thin to feed an episode. Adaptation first strengthened her by exploiting her comic potential. Mrs. Warren, whose original role was essentially functional, becomes a picturesque and comical character of a mistress woman governing and mothering her old husband. As for Mrs. Hudson, absent from the short story, she amuses us by cunning to soften her recalcitrant tenant. But it is above all the dramatic aspects of the story that adaptation has reinforced. His breathless prologue, enhanced by Patrick Gowers' music, hovers over the whole episode in the evil shadow of the Red Circle. Gennaro Lucca and Giordano, invisible protagonists of the short story, are clearly visible here. The first, sympathetic, interests us in his salvation. The second, bestial, brutal and cruel, makes us wish him well. But the most powerful tragic reinforcement is the addition of the character of Firmani, to whom we owe a striking sequence: while the singer repeats the sublime air of Isolde's death, she suddenly sees with horror the unfortunate machinist hanging from the hangers, slashed. The script enriches the action, rare in the original, by sequences such as Giordano's escape on the roofs and his fight with Leverton. But above all, Jeremy Brett, in relatively better condition, finds a remarkable play of expressiveness, variety and flexibility, his only mistake being perhaps the final image of Sherlock Holmes moved to tears. Very funny when, horrified at the prospect of an explosion of female hysteria, he uses his friend as a shield and laconically orders: "Manage, Watson", the detective moves when silent, motionless and with a dark face, he meditates by the faint light of a candle on the death of the good Firmani. Brett embodies here an endearing Holmes, always ardent in hunting but less arrogant and more sensitive, as if age had softened his roughness.




Plot summary (spoiler)

Mrs. Warren is horribly anxious. Indeed, its tenant, an Italian recently arrived from America, remains invisible and communicates through words written in block letters. Knowing that the previous tenant was Enrico Firmani, very helpful to his compatriots, Watson made a visit to him that was as reckless as it was useless. For his part, Holmes learned that the murderer of the wealthy New York trader Zamba was the leader of The Red Circle, Gorgiano, who is now chasing the Luccas. When Holmes came to the opera to meet Firmani, who was a machinist there, he was appalled to learn that he had just been murdered. However, he pulled himself together and examined with Watson the issues of the Daily Chronicle, the only link between the mysterious tenant and the outside world. Announcements signed G. indicate that coded signals will soon be sent to him from a neighbouring house. Mrs. Hudson comes along, announcing the kidnapping of Mr. Warren! When the old man was released, Holmes understood that the kidnappers were actually angry with his resident. He waited for the latter to open his door to take his meal tray and discovered that it was a woman, Emilia, wife of Gennaro Lucca. The young people had emigrated to America, where Zamba's partner, Castalote, had adopted them. Castalote refused to finance The Red Circle to which Genaro had once belonged, ignoring its mafia nature. Gorgiano, turned down by Emilia, took revenge by having her husband murder her benefactor. But Emilia alerted the police and the couple moved to England, where Firmani helped her hide. Gennaro must, that same evening, send his signals to Emilia. Holmes, Inspector Hawkins and the American Leverton, are waiting for him and Gorgiano to arrive. The latter, who had come to pick up Emilia, found the door closed. He then attacked Gennaro, who stabbed him to death. Unfortunately, Hawkins is arresting the Luccas for murder. But quickly relaxed, they will be able to leave and live freely in Australia.

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