William Hooker Gillette (1853 -1937) was the world's foremost interpreter of Sherlock Holmes - having played him approximately 1300 times on stage, and in a 1916 silent film long thought lost, until now. A complete dupe negative was identified in France in 2014, this William Gillette film is a vital missing link in the history of Sherlock Holmes on screen. This newly-restored edition, represents the sole surviving appearance of Gillette's Holmes on film. Presented with an original score composed and performed by Neil Brand, Guenter Buchwald, and Frank Bockius. The film faithfully retains the play's famous set pieces - Holmes's encounter with Professor Moriarty, his daring escape from the Stepney Gas Chamber, and the tour-de-force deductions. It also illustrates how Gillette, who wrote the adaptation himself, wove bits from Conan Doyle's stories ranging from "A Scandal in Bohemia" to "The Final Problem," into an original, innovative mystery play. Film restorer Robert Byrne says, "It's an amazing privilege to work with these reels that have been lost for generations. William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes has ranked among the holy grails of lost film and my first glimpse of the footage confirms Gillette's magnetism. Audiences are going to be blown away when they see the original Sherlock Holmes on screen for the first time." Silent with English intertitles. 116 minutes plus bonus materials. DVD and Blu-ray versions are included.
Bonus Materials Include:
• "From Lost to Found: Restoring William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes" - Presented by film restorer Robert Byrne at the 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival
• Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900): Courtesy of the Library of Congress and presented in HD, this is the earliest known film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes.
• A Canine Sherlock (1912): From the EYE Film Institute, the film stars Spot the Dog as the titular character.
• Piu forte che Sherlock Holmes (1913): Also from the EYE Film Institute, this entertaining Italian trick-film owes as much to Mélies as it does Doyle.
• HD transfers from the Fox Movietone Collection: Interview with Arthur Conan Doyle and outtakes from a 1930 newsreel with William Gillette showing off his amateur railroad (University of South Carolina).
• A PDF typescript of the 1899 Sherlock Holmes play by William Gillette.
• A PDF of the original contract between William Gillette and the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company.
• A booklet featuring images from the film and information about the restoration project.