The Granada Holmes on DVD
Reviewed by Charles Prepolec
Released the first week of October 2000 under the name The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this MPI Home Video DVD had me curious for some time. The disc features the first four episodes of the series, which are A Scandal in Bohemia, The Dancing Men, The Naval Treaty and The Solitary Cyclist. Also included are a rather weak group of extras consisting of a promotional trailer, a still photo gallery, a biography for Brett and a biography for Conan Doyle. The promo trailer appears to be something cooked up by the folks at MPI to promote either this DVD series or is a previous piece promoting the earlier video releases, quite frankly, I couldn’t really determine which. The stills gallery features a selection of tired publicity stills that we have all seen before, although they are set to music. The quality of the images is not particularly good. The bio’s of both Brett and Doyle are extremely weak and superficial at best, at worst they are inaccurate and indicate a complete disinterest by MPI in researching their subjects. The Doyle bio indicates that after Doyle killed off Holmes in 1893, he returned a year later in The Return of Sherlock Holmes…c’mon people, crack a book! The bio for Brett is lacking in content and doesn’t even make an effort to list a decent filmography. I dearly hope that MPI can get their act together for future releases.

So is there any good news? Well, yes! The episodes themselves are new digitally remastered transfers and show the series in a better light than the previous video versions. While the image retains a fair bit of graininess to it, although still infinitely preferable to the video releases. To determine just how much of an improvement was present, I watched the episode
The Dancing Men on video (the Simon & Schuster video, not the later MPI release) and DVD at the same time, just flicking back and forth using my remote’s Video/TV button. The difference was striking, particularly in dimly lit scenes. Crisp colour separations (although the flesh tones weren’t great) and variable blacks have now replaced the murky mud of the decade old video images. The Granada sets never looked so good! The sound quality, while an improvement was by no means perfect, as there is still some quavering to the music at times, with near drop outs turning up in The Dancing Men. Overall, this is the best that these episodes have looked.

The most pleasing thing about this DVD release is the pricing. You get four full episodes on one DVD, which I ordered from
www.express.com for $13.99 USD.  At that price, this DVD can’t be beat!

C’mon MPI, we’re waiting for the rest…

The next Granada/MPI DVD release is due August 28, 2001. The new DVD will feature only two episodes this time out;
The Speckled Band and The Crooked Man.
Packaging and design © 2000 MPI Home Video
Packaging and design © 2000 MPI Home Video
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