It took British actor Christopher Lee quite a long time to be discovered as the perfect actor to play Sherlock Holmes.
After a small part in Laurence Olivier's movie version of "Hamlet" in 1948, he starred as the mute Frankenstein's monster and then played a lascivious Count Dracula in the now classic Hammer Films in the late 1950's. Lee would play the role of the bloodthirsty vampire again and again until the 1970's.
In 1959, he first came into contact with the world of Sherlock Holmes by playing Sir Henry Baskerville in Hammer Films' production of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" opposite his friend Peter Cushing as Holmes.
The actor was finally promoted to the role of Sherlock Holmes in 1962 in the German movie "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace".
His tall, lean figure and his aristocratic bearing made him a fantastic choice to play the famous detective. Unfortunately, because of bad decisions on part of the director and the producer, the movie became a disaster on more than one level.
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After the unfortunate experience of this movie, it is no wonder that it took Lee nearly 30 years to return to the role of Sherlock Holmes.
But first he played Holmes's older brother Mycroft in Billy Wilder's movie "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Stephens in the title role.
In 1991, the actor finally returned to the role of Sherlock Holmes and played an older version of the detective in the TV movie "Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady" with Patrick Macnee as Dr Watson. This movie reunited the detective with Irene Adler.
Lee and Macnee teamed up again in 1992 for another TV movie called "Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls" in which Holmes is asked by the British king to safeguard the Star of Africa on a trip to Cape Town.
I think it is a real shame that producers did not offer Christopher Lee more and better roles as Sherlock Holmes during his long and distinguished career. I am convinced he would have delivered classic performances as the detective if only he had been given the right material to work with.
Fortunately for movie lovers all around the world, the creative minds behind the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy as well as "The Hobbit" movies and the new Star Wars movies showed more sense by offering Christopher Lee such distinctive roles as the dark wizard Saruman or Count Dooku.
"Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace"
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