"there is a search-party" [SIGN]
In an effort that would impress Sherlock Holmes himself, the Baker Street Irregulars and UCLA Film & Television Archive are teaming up in an effort to solve the mystery of the lost Sherlock Holmes films.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive is the second-largest moving image archive in the U.S. after the Library of Congress, and the world's largest university-based media archive. The Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) is the first international Sherlock Holmes society. Together, the organizations are mounting a world-wide search for the lost Sherlock Holmes films.
The project is called “Searching for Sherlock: The Game’s Afoot,” and the two nonprofit organizations plan to contact film archives, Sherlock Holmes societies, film historians, collectors, and other potential sources around the world to find in their efforts. The plan is to restore and eventually screen currently lost films featuring the world’s first consulting detective.
After first appearing in A Study in Scarlet in 1887, Sherlock Holmes became a household name, appearing in 56 short stories and four novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Since that time, the detective has appeared in every form of media and the works have never been out of print.
Sherlock Holmes has been played in hundreds of film and television shows, first appearing in the one-minute film "Sherlock Holmes Baffled," produced by Thomas Edison in 1900. This was the same time that William Gillette was playing Holmes on stage. Gillette went on to film his famous play in 1916, and that film was thought to be lost to the ages until a surprise announcement in 2014 that Sherlock Holmes had been found.
Searching for Sherlock will seek to find and restore other known Sherlock Holmes films, including a British production of A Study in Scarlet, produced in 1914; a Danish series, produced by Nordisk films, beginning in 1908; The Missing Rembrandt, produced in 1932, starring Arthur Wontner; and many more.
According to Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak, Director of the UCLA Archive, more than 100 films about the iconic British detective are lost or are in need of restoration or preservation. A committee has been formed to lead the search, including such notables as Nicholas Meyer, BSI ("A Fine, Morocco Case), author of the book and Oscar-nominated screenplay The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and leading silent film historian Kevin Brownlow.
The Honorary Project Chair is Robert Downey, Jr., who has portrayed Sherlock Holmes on the screen in two films, with a third Holmes film that will begin production in the fall and scheduled to be released December 2021.
Committee members include:
- Angela Allen, MBE; script supervisor
- Kevin Brownlow, film historian; author
- Barbara Roisman Cooper, BSI ("Mary Maberley"); Archive Board member; film historian; author
- John P. Connolly, actor; Past President, AFTRA; former CEO, Actors’ Equity
- Bryony Dixon, Curator of Silent Film, British Film Institute
- Jan-Christopher Horak, Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive; film historian
- Leslie S. Klinger, BSI ("The Abbey Grange"); author-editor
- Bonnie MacBird, BSI ("Art in the Blood"); author; screenwriter
- Nicholas Meyer, BSI ("A Fine Morocco Case"); author; screenwriter; film producer; film director
- Russell Merritt, BSI ("The Trepoff Murder");Adjunct Professor, UC Berkeley Department of Film & Media
- Glen S. Miranker, BSI ("The Origin of Tree Worship"); former Co-Chair, BSI Trust; former Chief Technology Officer, Apple
- Judge Andrew J. Peck (ret.); BSI ("Inspector Baynes, Surrey Constabulary")
- Steven Rothman, BSI ("The Valley of Fear"); editor, The Baker Street Journal
- Marisa Soto, Marketing & Communications Officer, UCLA Film & Television Archive
- Bronni Stein, Vice Chair, UCLA Film & Television Archive Board
- Tony Palmer, film director
- John Ptak, Archive Board member; film producer; former agent
- Adrian Wood, archival film consultant
For further information about the project or suggestions regarding the search, contact Barbara at peninc1 AT aol DOT com.
The game's afoot!