Sunday Silents Presents: Sherlock Holmes (1916)

Sunday Silents Presents: Sherlock Holmes (1916)

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

3:00 pm | 1 hr 56 min | Mystery

William Gillette, one of the most famous actors of the 19th and early 20th centuries, is the star of Sherlock Holme. Gillette created the role of Holmes in the play written in 1899, and had played it 1,300 times on stage before it was made into a “moving picture.” It was Gillette who was responsible for much of the costume still associated with the character, notably the deerstalker hat and the calabash pipe (a pipe Holmes never smoked in any of Conan Doyle’s novellas).

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, William Gillette was the son of a former senator and was encouraged in his acting career by family friend Mark Twain. He was renowned in many roles in the United States and in England, but his most famous and popular portrayal was Sherlock Holmes. It was said that Gillette could hold an audience spellbound simply by standing motionless and in complete silence, or, by indulging his grand gestures, change the mood onstage entirely.

The 1916 print of Sherlock Holmes had long been considered a lost film. However, on October 1, 2014, it was announced that a print of the film had been found in the Cinémathèque Francaise collection in Paris. The French premiere of the restored film took place in January 2015; the U.S. premiere followed in May 2015. The print that was found is a nitrate negative of the nine-reel serial with French-language inter titles which were translated back into English in consultation with William Gillette’s original manuscripts, which are preserved at the Chicago History Museum.

Rosendale’s Sunday Silents series is accompanied on the piano with improvisational music composed and performed by Marta Waterman.

Sherlock Holmes (1916) from Flicker Alley on Vimeo.