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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона) is a series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations made for Soviet television between 1979 and 1986. It is commonly known as "Russian Sherlock Holmes" in Western fan circles, although the Baker Street scenes were actually filmed in Latvia. It stars Vasily Livanov as Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Dr. Watson.
The series is generally true to the Doyle stories, but is more of an Adaptation Distillation than a straight page-to-screen conversion. The combination of the Victorian British setting and the Russian sensibilities of the creators give the series an interesting blend of cultural influences. Livanov, Solomin, and many of the supporting actors give memorable performances - Livanov was even awarded an Order of the British Empire for his portrayal of Holmes - and the opening theme is insidiously catchy.
The series is a cultural icon in Russia. The films are less well known in the West than the English-speaking Holmes adaptations, but English-subtitled episodes are now available.
Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptation Distillation
- Adorkable: Vitaly Solomin's Watson ranks up there with Martin Freeman's in ex-military-doctor cuteness.
- Arguably, Dr. Mortimer in Hound of the Baskervilles.
- Badass Bookworm: Holmes, as usual.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Henry Baskerville, before his nerve begins to fail him.
- Bowdlerise: Holmes doesn't use cocaine in this adaptation (although he still smokes like a chimney).
- Watson's military service takes place in the unspecified "East," not Afghanistan - probably because the Soviet Union had its own military activity in the area at that time.
- Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Hudson.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Watson's belief in the first episode that Holmes is a criminal mastermind. He does have the right skill set for it and he knows all kinds of disreputable people.
- Everybody Smokes: at least most of the men seem to, although in Holmes and Watson's case this is true to Doyle canon.
- Food Porn: the big Victorian breakfast scene in the first episode. Did the camera really need to linger on the table for that long?
- Friendship Moment: many. Holmes and Watson are particularly affectionate in this version, possibly due to Russian social norms for close friends, and Solomin and Livanov have excellent chemistry.
- Genius Bruiser: Holmes. When Dr. Roylott (villain of the Speckled Band story) comes to Watson and Holmes, demands to stop investigation and threaten them by bending iron poker. After Roylott storms out, Holmes rather casually straightens it out. And of course he is a former boxing champion.
- Genius Slob: Holmes. It appears to be a matter of principle with him: he doesn't even let Mrs. Hudson dust his things.
- Gentleman Detective: Holmes, of course, in an eccentric sort of way.
- Innocently Insensitive: Holmes, in the scene with Watson's pocket watch. His chain of deductions regarding Watson's alcoholic older brother winds up hitting a few sore spots and provokes a Dude, Not Funny reaction from Watson. To be fair to Holmes, Watson did ask Holmes what he could infer from the watch.
- Memetic Outfit: the cape and deerstalker make their inevitable appearance.
- Mr. Fanservice: Vitaly Solomin's Watson is quite easy on the eyes if you like boyishly handsome blond men in tweed, and Holmes is rather dapper in his own way.
- Obviously Evil: this version of Moriarty is incredibly sinister looking.
- Older Than They Look: Solomin's Watson is quite boyish looking for someone who, given the age of the actor at the time of filming, is probably around forty.
- Science Marches On: unlike Doyle (and Holmes), the Russian scriptwriters knew that snakes are deaf, and the adaptation of "The Speckled Band" acknowledges and addresses the issue.
- Smart People Play Chess
- Stoic Spectacles: Holmes wears little round reading glasses in a few scenes.
- Took a Level In Kindness: Livanov's Holmes, while still restless, eccentric, and at times a bit of a Troll, is more gentlemanly and less troubled than some incarnations of the character.