Sherlocked – the convention

Where shall I start writing about an weekend that was stuffed with such a variety of experiences that still are not sorted in my mind – probably never will?

At the beginning there was this series on telly I fell in love with a couple of years ago. BBC’s „Sherlock“ is a treat not only because of the extraordinary professionals that are dealing with bringing a modern Sherlock Holmes to life in our modern times. But it brings fans and crew together in a way that is fascinating and heartwarming at the same time.

Excited and scared at the same time
So when Sherlock the official convention was announced earlier this year, it soon was clear that fans started planning their trip to London – fans from all over the world. And when it finally was time to walk into ExCel, the exhibition and convention centre in London for registration and picking up some items, I – being a totally con newbie – was excited, thrilled and a bit scared. Excited and thrilled because I would finally meet Benedict Cumberbatch in real life, scared because I totally had no clue how not to behave like a idiot and not to fall over while waiting in the queue for my first photoshoot with a man I adore both as a brilliant actor and as a human being. When it was my turn to walk the few steps in front of the camera, I was totally calm and relaxed just because I looked at him while waiting. And although it was only a matter of a few seconds, I obviously managed to say „Good morning, so nice to meet you finally“. Obviously because Benedict looked at me (I mean those eyes!!) and saying „How are you? Nice to meet you, too“ (that voice!!) he put his hand on my shoulder. Seconds later, the camera has fixed that moment forever, Benedict answered my „Thank you, have a nice day“ with a „Have a nice day, too. Take care“ and it was my turn to grab my pic, stroll outside, meet my best friends and other fans who smiled at me who had survived her first BenMoment ever.

A smile at the end of a long day
When I met Benedict for a second shoot inside the 221B Baker Street set, it was almost the end of a long day. He, sitting in Sherlock’s chair, looking tired, gave me a smile. „How are you?“ „Tired, but fine. Has been a long day.“ „Yes“, he answered and while I desperately tried not to fall off or into John’s chair, I realised Benedict murmured something like „Take care, the chair is very low“. Only seconds later I crawled out of the chair, hoping not to fall over my own feet and straight in front of Benedict’s shoes. „Thank you and all the best for you“, I stumbled, looking for seconds straight into his eyes, eyes that brightened (seemed that my voice was still functioning) while Benedict gave me a lovely smile „Aw.That’s very nice. Thank you. Take care“ and I was out of the set again.

I have no idea how others went through these moments, how it was for them meeting Benedict and all the other actors. I found Benedict as lovely, nice, charming and polite as I ever thought he would be. And I respect him even more considering the fact that he must have met hundreds of fans in only one hour, maybe a thousand when the day came to an end. A day where I saw him on stage for a Q&A with fans and introducing a screening of Scandal in Belgravia that wrapped up my day, where he was funny, cheeky and a joy to watch and listen to.

Andrew’s yellow chucks
But there was a con world beyond Benedict, too. And it was thrilling and exciting meeting lots of the other actors. One of my highlights was Andrew Scott’s photoshoot and him signing my pic later. It seems he was really enjoying his time, looking straight at me when I walked over to him for the photoshoot, smiling and giggling as if he was meeting and old friend. A bright smile welcomed me later when it was my turn for getting Andrew’s autograph. „You left me a crying mess after ‚Pride‘,“ I said, causing him to look baffled at me. „But it’s all fine now that you are wearing yellow chucks.“ „Yaaah, chucks are cool, aren’t they?“ Andrew laughed out loud, smiled while he was handing my pic over.

Lars Mikkelsen who made me feel even more tiny at my photoshoot, seemed pleased and smiled when I said „The Team“ hooked me. Una Stubbs greeted me with open arms and made me feel as we could have tea together instantly. Louise Brealey hugged me, asked when I was returning to Germany, ordered nice weather when she learned I had another day in London for strolling round the city (thx, btw, it worked perfectly) and left me with another warm hug, saying „Meet you on Twitter“.

Besides photoshoots and signing, I attended talks with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Lars Mikkelsen and Andrew Scott, watched a special effect show with Danny Hargreaves and unfortunately missed others. But I met lovely people literally from all over the world. People who were funny, kind, intelligent, interested in such a variety of things and very polite in ignoring my English. People who were friendly enough recognising me behind my Twitter account and started a chat and whom I hopefully will meet again online and in RL. People who are sharing the same love for a fandom which is able to communicate with quotes alone and which hopefully will stay a kind and friendly one.

Yes, this weekend was packed with a huge schedule and it was exhausting. But is was definitely worth it.

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Quick look at a huge book

If you stumbled across Alan Turing because of the film „The Imitation Game“ starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, you may be aware of Andrew Hodges‘ biography „The Enigma“ – the basis of Graham Moore’s Oscar awarded screenplay.

A much deeper inside look at Alan Turing’s work which helped breaking the German enigma code, shortened the Second World War by at least two years and saved millions of lives, you should read the huge book „Alan Turing – His work and impact“ by S. Barry Cooper and Jan van Leewen. Yes, there are lots of mathematical theories, even formulas (something very awful for people like me unable to cope with numbers) but the more than 870 pages, accompanied by indexes and bibliographies are worth reading, browsing through essays about and from Alan.

„He was a genius: he was ‚a Wonder of the world‘.
Bernards Richards about Alan Turing

One essay that strikes me most  – besides the ones by Alan himself which offer a look inside the brain of a man a colleague described as „a Wonder of the world“ – is the piece „Why Turing cracked the Enigma code and the Germans did not“ by Klaus Schmeh. The German computer scientist explains that Germans were unable to bring their cryptographers together to find a possible weakness in the Enigma code itself. Despite the fact that German experts were aware of a possible breach, Britain’s success in breaking Enigma was only revealed in the 1970s when details about the codebreaker’s work at Bletchley Park became public.

„Alan Turing – His work and impact“ may not be an easy read. But it is worth every try.

S.Barry Cooper, Jan van Leeuwen: Alan Turing – His work an impact, Elsevier, £ 53 can be ordered here.

Foto: pb

Foto: pb

Alan Turing – the codebreaker

It was a secret world behind the Victorian facade of the house in Bletchley Park some 70 kilometres Northwest of London. At the beginning of the second World War the British government realised that it would be essential to decode the messages of Nazi Germany to win the war. But all messages were encrypted with the help of Enigma machines – codes that everybody believed were unbreakable. At Bletchley Park analytics from all over Britain were gathered, sworn to secrecy and set to shifts 24 hours a day – a work that would be useless at the end of every day when the Germans changed their codes.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a trailer of "The Imitation Game". Screenshot: pb

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a trailer of „The Imitation Game“. Screenshot: pb

 

„The Imitation Game“ which hits German cinemas at January 22nd celebrates and focuses on codebreaker Alan Turing, the unsung hero who helped to win the war for the allies. It is believed today that he shortened the war for about two years and saved millions of lives. Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is one of the first experts in Bletchley Park. Born in 1912, he has just finished his studies in Cambridge and is „an odd duck“ according to his mother and colleagues. In his job interview right at the beginning of the film he calls himself one of the best mathematicians in the world, a genius who somehow lives in his own world but he discovers that Enigma can only be beaten by another machine. A machine –  the Turing bombe as it is called later –  that would work without interruptions and which he is eager to build against all odds. Only after Alan discovers by chance that some words will appear in every German message he and his colleagues are able to reduce the unbelievable numbers of possible codes so that the bombe is finally able to do its work. It’s an irony of history that the arrogant greeting „Heil Hitler“ – „Hail to Hitler“ helps the allies to win the war because these words are in fact hidden in every message.

But the life of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park isn’t to get easier at all. It is Alan who knowing that homosexuality is illegal tries to hide his biggest secret and protect his privacy while – at least in the film – is suspected to be a Russian spy. After World War II he isn’t celebrated as a war hero but sentenced to chemical castration to „heal“ his homosexuality. But the oestrogens not only caused growing breasts but left Alan unable to concentrate on his beloved work and he killed himself in 1954.

His work which is the basis of the modern computer technique and the internet was classified till 1970s. Queen Elizabeth granted Alan an Royal pardon on December 24th 2013 after the British Parliament refused to pardon Alan in 2011, even after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized 2009 on behalf of the British government: „I am very proud to say: we’re sorry. You deserved so much better.“

Read my review of the film here.

The German version of this blog entry was first published in Fränkischer Tag and on infranken.de.

Alan Turing – ein echter Held

Der Zweite Weltkrieg ist auch bald 70 Jahre nach seinem Ende immer noch präsent, jedenfalls wenn man sich den Stoff ansieht, aus dem Filme und Bücher gemacht sind. Mit „The Imitation Game – Ein streng geheimes Leben“ (115min, Verleih: Square One) kommt am 22. Januar ein weiterer Film, der in dieser Zeit spielt, ins deutsche Kino. Doch er ist nicht einfach ein weiterer Film, der in dieser Zeit spielt.

„The Imitation Game“ ist ein Film über den auch bei uns weitgehend unbekannten Helden Alan Turing. Der englische Mathematiker war zusammen mit seinen Kollegen maßgeblich daran beteiligt, den Zweiten Weltkrieg – wie Experten heute meinen – um bis zu vier Jahre zu verkürzen und Millionen Leben zu retten, indem er den deutschen Enigma-Code knackte. Doch der Film ist weit davon entfernt im Pathos zu ersticken, denn er ist auch eine Tragödie. Turing, den Zeitgenossen als liebenswerten, aber etwas merkwürdigen Menschen beschreiben, tat immer das, wovon er überzeugt war. Er lebte für die Mathematik, in der er als Genie galt, er war witzig und er war homosexuell zu einer Zeit, in der das verboten war und mit Gefängnis bestraft wurde.

„Sie brauchen mich viel mehr als ich Sie.“
Alan Turing in seinem Vorstellungsgespräch (meine Übersetzung)

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Benedict Cumberbatch als Alan Turing – aus einem Trailer. Screenshot: pb

Der Film von Regisseur Morton Tyldum hat alles, was ein guter Film braucht: er ist witzig, spannend, herzerwärmend und herzzerreißend. Und er ist zu allererst ein Film über Alan Turing (gespielt von Benedict Cumberbatch), der Großbritannien loyal diente, alle Geheimnisse über seine Arbeit in Bletchley Park wahrte und dafür nicht etwa mit allen Ehren bedacht wurde, die ein Land vergeben kann. Alan Turing wurde dafür bestraft, homosexuell zu sein und mit Östrogen behandelt, um ihn von der Homosexualität zu heilen. Außerdem hielt man ihn für unzuverlässig, Geheimnisse für sich behalten zu können und schloss ihn von seiner Arbeit als Kryptoanalytiker beim späteren britischen Geheimdienst aus.

Benedict Cumberbatchs beste Leistung

Benedict Cumberbatch gilt Kennern zurecht als einer der besten Schauspieler seiner Generation. In „The Imitation Game“ liefert er seine bisher beste schauspielerische Leistung auf der Kinoleinwand ab. Sein Alan ist verletzlich, arrogant, witzig, eigenbröterlisch und er tut und sagt immer genau das, was er in diesem Moment für richtig hält. Das wahre Können eines Schauspielers offenbart sich auch in dem, was er nicht sagt, dann nämlich, wenn ein Schauspieler mit einer einzigen Geste, einem einzigen Wimpernschlag einen ganzen Monolog erzählen kann. Das kann Benedict Cumberbatch den ganzen Film über, der in jedem Detail und mit jeder Rolle perfekt ist. Doch in der letzten Szene, die er zusammen mit Keira Knightley hat –  sie spielt Joan Clarke, eine Kollegin und Freundin, die auch noch nach Alan Turings Tod sehr viel für ihn empfunden hat – zeigt sich Benedict Cumberbatchs wahre Meisterschaft. Und die des Films, der auch in herzzerreißenden Szenen niemals kitschig ist.

„The Imitation Game“ ist ein Film, den man gesehen haben muss. Er verdient jede Auszeichnung, für die er bereits jetzt gehandelt wird.

 

Update: [25.Januar 2015]

Gestern habe ich die deutsche Fassung gesehen. Und ich muss zugeben: Sie ist nicht so schlimm wie ich befürchtet habe. Erst vor ein paar Tagen habe ich den deutschen Trailer noch einmal gesehen und war der festen Überzeugung, dass die Synchronisation grottenschlecht ist. Vor allem beim Vorstellungsgespräch zwischen Alan Turing (Sprecher: Tommy Morgenstern) und Commander Denniston (Leon Richter) hatte ich den Eindruck, dass beide Synchronstimmen überhaupt nicht zu denen der Schauspieler passen und viel zu hoch rüberkommen. Ein Eindruck, der sich dann auch bestätigt hat. Dass Tommy Morgenstern, der auch Sherlocks deutsche Stimme ist,  hier Benedict Cumberbatch seine Stimme leiht, hätte ich nicht gedacht. Sie klingt mir vergleichsweise viel zu hoch. Was aber sicher daran liegt, dass ich nicht nur an Benedicts tiefe Stimme gewöhnt bin, sondern auch daran, dass ich viel im englischen Original anschaue – dem Internet sei Dank. Daher wirken Synchronfassungen auf mich irgendwie flacher und zu sehr einem Hochdeutsch angepasst, dass im üblichen Sprachgebrauch so nicht verwendet wird. Das gilt auch für „The Imitation Game“.

Es ist sicher nicht leicht, eine Synchronisation zu machen: Vieles aus der Originalsprache ist schlichtweg nicht 1:1 ins Deutsche zu übersetzen, von der Koordination der Lippenbewegungen ganz zu schweigen. Weil nicht jeder einem Film auf Englisch (oder auch einer beliebigen anderen Sprache) folgen kann, ist sie dennoch hilfreich. Wer aber die Möglichkeit hat, die Originalfassung zu schauen, sollte das unbedingt tun. Auch wenn es vor allem für Ungeübte nicht leicht ist. Es lohnt sich!

Den englischen Trailer gibt es hier.


Hier gibt es den deutschen Trailer.

Grundlage für den Film ist das lesenswerte Buch von Andrew Hodges „Enigma“. Meinen englischen Buchtipp gibt es hier.

You can find the English version of this entry here.

Sherlock Holmes behind glass

He is one of the most adapted literary figures of all times and has a very special relationship with London. The fact that the exhibition „Sherlock Holmes – The man who has never lived and will never die“ (Museum of London, till 12th April 2015) is the first since 63 years to focus on the famous detective is astonishing. But maybe it’s just the right time. There are new films and BBC aired the third series of „Sherlock“ with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the famous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson this year. The fourth will be filmed 2015 including a Christmas special and will hopefully hit telly not too late in 2016.

IMG_20141115_161130

Photo: Petra Breunig

 The only consulting detective the world has ever seen

But we wouldn’t have neither of these films without Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. With the first stories published in 1887 he created a genius who baffled his readers with eccentricity, logic and a very keen observation: Sherlock Holmes, the only consulting detective the world has ever seen, was always ahead of his time. But Conan Doyle created much more. He placed his figure right into Victorian London, the city which played the third major role besides Holmes and Watson in most of the 56 short stories and two novels, as some critics say. A city full of fog and hansom cabs which in the exhibition comes to life with the help of early photographs and paintings. Among them is the Charing Cross bridge of Claude Monet and the  huge painting of George William Joy called „The Bayswater Omnibus“ which I found very impressive.

Sherlock Holmes‘ London is both a fiction and reality. The famous address 221B Baker Street is fictional whereas Baker Street does exist. And so does the tube or West London. London was a city in transformation. Houses were demolished, streets widened and so the London we know today slowly came to life. Films prove the fact that London about 1900 was a city buzzing with life and people.

 

„I selected paintings (…)  which resonate with Sherlock Holmes.“

Dr Pat Hardy, Art Curator at the Museum of London

“It took me about two years and a lot of negotiation to secure the pieces which appear in the exhibition“, says Dr Pat Hardy, Art Curator at the Museum of London. „I selected paintings which made the visual points we are trying to get across and which resonate with Sherlock Holmes, for example those relating fog, mystery, busy streets, hansom cabs, trains, suburbs, grand architecture and the sheer size of London”.

 

IMG_20141115_164231

Photo: Petra Breunig

 

And of course there are other pieces helping to bring Sherlock Holmes to life. Of course there is the pipe and  magnifier, bunsen burner, pliers and test tubes, but there are typewriters and a fingerprint kit, coats (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s belstaff is there, too), hats and deerstalkers. Scenes taken of diverse Sherlock Holmes films and re arranged make it quite clear that Sherlock Holmes was always a man of his time and always was re invented anew. And he proves the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle was a fantastic author even though he hates his famous figure and always thought of the stories of the famous detective as something not worth his time.

More about the exhibition.

The German version of this article was first published in Fränkischer Tag and online at infranken.de.

Sherlock Chronicles – a wonderful treat for a fan

Sherlock Chronicles. Photo: pb

Sherlock Chronicles. Photo: pb

You think you do know everything about BBC’s Sherlock? Think twice, dive into the wonderful book „Sherlock Chronicles“ written by Steve Tribe and take a stroll from the very beginning (or even before the beginning itself) to the latest episode so far.

The book is stuffed with all kind of information any Sherlockian needs to know. There are deleted scenes-scripts, behind the scenes pictures and interviews with cast and crew members. But was makes this book outstanding compared to other Sherlock fan books is the reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. „Holmes from Holmes“, as the writer names it, shows quotes from the canon and how and where Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat used them in one of the episodes. You will always find it baffling to read and realise again how modern Sherlock Holmes is and always has been – and how brilliant all episodes of „Sherlock“ are, how carefully they are arranged and how deep their connection to Doyle is.

„Sherlock Chronicles“ is a must have book for every fan and a wonderful gift for a Sherlockian dear to your heart.

Steve Tribe: Sherlock Chronicles. BBC books, Penguin Random House, about 16 £/ 22 €.

A tribute to a true hero

With anniversaries of both World Wars, it seems we are flooded with documentaries, books and radio plays. And even despite the fact that this topic is a very important one, people could be bored getting another film situated in the Second World War.

„The Imitation Game“ is not just another film about one of the darkest periods in European history. It is a tribute to the true hero Alan Turing who helped breaking the German enigma code, win the war for the allies and saved thousands of lives. But it’s also a tragedy. Alan, who people always looked at as somehow different, awkward and not of this world, lived the life of a man who always was true to himself. He deeply cared for his work as a mathematician, dived into solving any problem and was – for all we learn from the people who knew him –  a very warm hearted man who happened to be gay in a time when homosexuality was illegal.

„You need me more than I need you.“ Alan Turing in his job interview

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing – from a trailer of „The Imitation Game“. Screenshot: pb

Director Morten Tyldum’s film is all you want to have in a really good movie: it is heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, sad and thrilling. And it is a story about Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), a man who loyally served his country, lived with all the secrets about his work at Bletchley Park during the war but instead of celebrating him as a war hero and giving him all the honour a country could give, was prosecuted for his sexuality, treated with oestrogens, intending to free him of his homosexuality. And if this wasn’t enough he was considered being unreliable of keeping secrets and was refused to continue his cryptographic work for the British Government Communications Headquarters.

Benedict Cumberbatch performs the role of his life. His Alan is vulnerable, arrogant, funny and he always does and says what he thinks is right at this special moment. And even if he doesn’t say anything, you know exactly what is going on in his mind – you just have to look to realise what only a brilliant actor is able to do: telling a whole story with a tiny movement within his face. The scenes with Keira Knightley who is Joan Clarke, a fellow mathematician and cryptanalysis who was in a relationship with Alan and still cared very deeply for him till his death and even afterwards, are far away from any kitsch film makers could squeeze into them.

„The Imitation Game“ is the must see film of this winter. It deserves all the awards the film industry has to offer.

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More about Alan Turing:

Andrew Hodges: The Enigma – the biography the film is based on. Read my review here.

Sinclair McKay: The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition

Official page of The Imitation Game

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park Podcast – Apple users click here.

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Not weird, not stupid, but happy

Two people fall in love  and decide to marry. Isn’t that a most lovely thing to announce in an old fashioned way by an ad in a newspaper? Those who don’t feel happy for the couple must lack feelings at all.

Benedict Cumberbatch did exactly that – rumours know that he previously talked to his soon to be mother in law – and fits all the speculations fans have about a man who isn’t only one of the best actors of his generation. Benedict is as humble and polite, funny and intelligent as a perfect human being could be. At least this is what fans get to know from interviews or even from meeting him in real life. Is  it really such a surprise that he inspires his fans in so many ways and is adored for being the man he is?

No, it isn’t. And no, you don’t have to understand it. But why don’t you just accept that the Cumbercollective loves and adores Benedict Cumberbatch? That his fans are not weird, nor stupid? But people who are very friendly, kind and connected all over the world? And no: we are not Cumberbitches for heaven’s sake. It’s more than two years ago. Of course I know that this word is used to get more clicks on a webpage. But this doesn’t mean that it is okay to use it. It only proves the fact that there are journalists out there who are so arrogant in their struggle to stay above all things, trying not to get emotionally engaged, that they find fans‘ reaction nothing more than ridiculous.

If you read my blog on a regular basis (Hi, reader!) or are following me on Twitter (Hi follower!), you know that I am a journalist myself. I do believe that it is important to get facts right, to stay neutral, to get all the information you can get on the topic you’re writing about, even when you have to face a deadline. But I will never understand why some journalists think that they are something special, that they want to teach their readers right from wrong. And why they are laughing at fans.

Maybe it’s because I’m only working at a local newspaper, in a town where people recognise me in the supermarket and will tell me straight in the face what they hate about my last article. Or what they liked.

Maybe it’s because I’m part of the Cumbercollective. And I am proud of it.

Frankenstein – Go see it wherever it is screened

First of all – a confession: I’m not a theatre goer. I’m not an expert when it comes to classical music, classic literature or other stuff educated people consider to be important. I mean really important. It’s not that I don’t listen to classical music or read classic literature but it’s because I like it nor matter what experts think.

Screenshot: pb

National Theatre Live’s broadcast of „Frankenstein“ is of course a performance I had to watch. As a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch seeing my beloved actor on stage is another step getting me a bit deeper into his brilliant acting abilities. And watching „Frankenstein“ on a big screen in cinema with really good sounds was like sitting on the stage without the need to be dressed up. Or at least very close to it. The story about Victor Frankenstein who creates a human being out of parts of dead bodies is science-fiction but at the same time an age old quest of humanity itself. How do we decide what is human? Do we love or at least respect all men no matter how they look like? The creature (the artificially created human is always referred to as „it“ or „the creature“ or even „the monster“) asks these questions and makes you think about yourself, your reactions and you really care for him (as I like to prefer to see the creature as a fragile human being), no matter how he looks like.

„This is your universe, Frankenstein!“
The Creature

I saw Benedict as the creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor a few days ago so I can’t judge if the version showing Jonny Lee Miller as the creature and Benedict as Victor is better or which one I like most. At least not yet. For now I can say that the performance of the whole cast was stunning and thrilling throughout the film. The audience was hooked from the moment Benedict as the creature fell out of his egg – trying to use his arms and legs, in fact the whole body, literally learn to live –  till the end with all emotions from laughter to baffled dead silence.

Of course there will be people saying that it is inappropriate to bring theatre to cinemas, to bring it to people who normally wouldn’t go to a theatre at all. I think it is inappropriate to decide what is good entertainment and what is bad. The only thing that really counts is if people like it, no matter if they are wearing a gorgeous dress or tee, jeans and chucks. If you want to be entertained and maybe willing to try something totally new for yourself: Go and watch „Frankenstein“. Even a longer travel will make a difference.

 

[Update: After I have seen the other version – Benedict as Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature, I cannot decide which one is better.

Jonny Lee Miller’s Creature is some how louder and more aggressive without lacking the vulnerability of his figure. Benedict’s Victor is more sensible for the deed he has done, more afraid of the creature but also of the abilities of humanity.

„Frankenstein“  is a very demanding piece (and it’s therefore no surprise that both main actors are bathed in sweat)  only very good actors are able to perform with their parts changing every day in the original on stage. And again Benedict proofs that he is a brilliant actor, who is always very present and breath taking. Both versions are different, not only in the way the main actors are playing their roles. The way the camera presents the play to the cinema audience is also different, so you will see in fact two different performances. Both are worth every minute.

Eine liebevolle Hommage an Sherlock Holmes

Der Sherlock Holmes, den Sir Arthur Conan Doyle erfunden hat, ist ein Mann im besten Alter und im vollen Besitz seiner geistigen Fähigkeiten. Was der wohl berühmteste Detektiv der Literaturgeschichte gemacht hat, bevor er in die Adresse 221 B Baker Street eingezogen ist, das entzieht sich dem Wissen der Leser – auch wenn es Andeutungen und einige Bücher darüber geben mag, so lässt Doyle Sherlock-Holmes-Fans im Unklaren. Das Gleiche gilt für das Leben im Ruhestand, von dem wir eigentlich nur wissen, dass Holmes sich zurückgezogen hat und Bienen züchtet.

Im Mitch Cullins „A Slight Trick of the Mind“ (auf Deutsch etwa: „Eine leichte Sinnestäuschung“) begegnet der Leser einem 93-jährigen Sherlock Holmes, der ein ruhiges, zurückgezogenes Leben auf einem Bauernhof in Sussex führt und an dem nur seine Haushälterin und deren Sohn teilhaben. Um es gleich zu schreiben: was für jeden Fan und natürlich auch für den Sherlock Holmes des Originals und seinen Erfinder eine Beleidigung hätte werden können, ist eine wunderbare Liebeserklärung an den großen Detektiv. Cullin schreibt einen Roman voller Respekt, voller Liebe zum Detail, der zu Herzen geht, gelegentlich zu Tränen rührt und eines der besten Stück Unterhaltungsliteratur ist, die es momentan gibt (leider nicht auf Deutsch). Sein Sherlock Holmes weiß um seinen gebrechlichen Körper, den er nur noch mit Hilfe von Krücken bewegen kann, er weiß, dass er sich nicht mehr auf sein einst so brillantes Gehirn verlassen kann und dass ihn sein Gedächtnis trügt.

„Wissen Sie, für mich war er nie Watson.
Er war einfach nur John für mich.“

Zwar geht es auch in dieser Geschichte um einen lang zurückliegenden Fall –   um eine Frau, die Holmes immer noch beeindruckt (wenn es auch nicht DIE Frau ist), um eine Reise nach Japan, wo er einen Brieffreund trifft. Doch es geht um viel mehr als um einen Fall und um einen Klienten. Denn es ist die Geschichte eines alten Mannes, der auf sein Leben zurückblickt und versucht, mit sich und den Menschen seiner Umgebung ins Reine zu kommen. Natürlich ist John einer dieser Menschen. „You know, I never did call him Watson – he was John, simply John.“ („Wissen Sie, für mich war er nie Watson. Er war immer einfach nur John für mich.“), erklärt Holmes seinem japanischen Freund. John war für ihn nie der Trottel, für den ihn Dramatiker und Romanschreiber ausgegeben haben –  eine Tatsache, die Holmes als eine persönliche Beleidigung auffasst, weil er den Mann immer noch zutiefst respektiert, „the man who with his customary humour, patience, and loyalty, indulged the eccentries of a frequently disagreeable friend.“ („der mit seinem Humor, seiner Geduld und seiner Loyalität den exzentrischen und unausstehlichen Freund ertragen hat.“). Fans der BBC-Fernsehserie „Sherlock“ wird das an die Rede des Trauzeugen in der Folge „Das Zeichen der drei“ erinnern, mit der Benedict Cumberbatchs Sherlock seine Zuneigung zu Martin Freemans John Watson auf eine ähnliche, nicht minder rührende Art und Weise ausdrückt.
Mitch Cullins Werk hat mindestens genauso viel Liebe zum und Respekt vor dem Original wie die Macher der BBC –  Fans werden das zu schätzen wissen.

A Slight Trick of the Mind“ wird derzeit mit Ian McKellen als Sherlock Holmes verfilmt und wird voraussichtlich 2015 in die Kinos kommen –  wie unter anderen die britische Zeitung The Guardian auf ihrer Internetseite schreibt. Der britische Schauspieler bestätigte auf Twitter, dass er in die Haut des berühmten Detektivs schlüpfen wird: „Over 70 actors have previously played Sherlock Holmes. Now he’s 93 years olf and it’s my turn.” (“Mehr als 70 Schauspieler haben bis jetzt Sherlock Holmes verkörpert. Jetzt ist er 93 und jetzt bin ich dran.“). McKellens vielleicht bekannteste Rolle ist die den Zauberers Gandalf in der Verfilmung von „Der Herr der Ringe“ und „Der Hobbbit“, dessen dritter Teil im Dezember 2014 in die Kinos kommen wird.

Mitch Cullin, „A Slight Trick of the Mind“, Anchor Books, 2005, ca. 10.90 Euro

 

Eine leicht geänderte und ergänzte Fassung dieses Blogeintrags ist in den Baker Street Chronicles der Deutschen Sherlock-Holmes-Gesellschaft, Herbst 2014, erschienen.

You can find the English version here.