With the passing of film legend Christopher Lee on Sunday . . . well, you know . . . a lot of appreciation coming out. His later film outings in the Tolkien adaptations kept him well on the radar of the general public, and he seems to have crossed everybody's entertainment path at some point . . . and definitely that of the ardent Sherlockian.
Henry Baskerville, Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock Holmes again . . . and again.
Yeah . . .
But while his Mycroft is imprinted on my mind forever . . . "The last doctor who warned me about that was crossing Piccadilly, slipped on an orange peel, and was run over by a delivery van from Fortnum and Mason. Your very good health." . . . it's not a Holmes that will ever be my classic Christopher Lee role.
No, it was those Saturday afternoon matinees in the Strand Theater, where I first saw the preview to The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and got hooked on Holmes, where it wasn't Holmes filling the screen but the never-quite-fully-killed Count Dracula.
Christopher Lee's Dracula always overshadowed his Holmes for me. Frank Langella also played both, but was just too pretty for either role, really. Lee's Dracula was commanding, powerful, and total monster. He was the serial killer before my friends and I even knew what serial killers were. When I first learned of Jack the Ripper, I figured he had to be something like Christopher Lee's Dracula, or else why the heck would people be so scared of him?
On my list of movies I want to go to an alternate universe to see one day is a 1960s Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula featuring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. Hammer Films was doing Cushing as Sherlock and Lee as Dracula, so that film was soooo close, sooo possible (except maybe for the whims of that Doyle kid who was still probably a bit of a problem back then).
For now, however, the only Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula we have featuring Christopher Lee is pitting Lee versus Lee in our looking back at his works in our memories. And that's not too shabby at thing, at that.