Saturday, April 27, 2024

The Hallmark of a Scandal in Bohemia Romance

 During our recent discussion of "A Scandal in Bohemia" at our local library, we came upon a realization that couldn't be unrealized: "A Scandal in Bohemia" has all the makings of a Hallmark movie.

There is the prince, of course. Hallmark movies love their princes. The fairy tale come true.

And our Hallmark adaptation of "A Scandal in Bohemia" starts in what is typically the last act of of a "girl meets prince" story. Irene Adler in finishing her final performance with the Imperial Opera of Warsaw, her vocals providing the soundtrack for the opening credits as Wilhelm Gottsrich Sigismond von Ormstein watches adoringly from his box, fiddling excitedly with a small box, that we eventually see has a ring in it.

Irene's performance finishes and she rushes backstage, immediately asking her best friend/costumer if the bags are packed. Her pal replies that of course they are, and already en route to the station. Irene is returning to America and her roots after finding Europe just too traditional and trapped in its history. They leave the theater and start to get into a waiting four-wheeler only to find the handsome and charming King Willie inside. Irene is angry at first, but he wins her over, convincing her that her American ideas are just what Bohemia needs and if she agrees to marry him, they will show Europe that new ideas are possible.

Cut to three weeks later, with title card saying "Three weeks later . . ."

Willie, sitting cowed with his mother and his ministers, telling Irene that his royal duties must take precedence over his personal desires and that he cannot be with her. His mother states that travel arrangements have been made and that she has passage booked to America, and that the Bohemian royal guards will now escort her to a waiting ship. As they leave the palace, however, Irene eludes her escorts and leads them on a merry chase, finally taking refuge in the British Embassy.

Here we meet the slightly awkward but endearing Godfrey Norton, who at first tries to talk her into going to the American embassy, but eventually sees the menacing-looking Bohemian guards outside the embassy searching for her and agrees to help her escape.

Norton has some emergency documents they keep at the embassy allowing Godfrey and Irene to pose as a Canadian couple and leave Bohemia by train. A lot of cute stuff goes on here, and at one point in the journey Irene accidentally sees this awkward Brit with his shirt off and realizes what a hunk o' man he is, as Hallmark movies tend to go with. She is recognized by a fan at some point, and the King of Bohemia's agents start making trouble, stealing her luggage (which makes her wear charming local garb so Godfrey can see that she's just a normal American girl and not a fancy opera star), and attacking twice with Irene and Godfrey working so naturally together in fending them off that it brings them closer together. A mystery man is watching them as well, but they don't notice.

News of the King's impending marriage comes to them, and Irene sends the King a telegram telling him to call off his agents or she will send the photo of him and her to his fiancee's family. Godfrey and Irene were getting pretty close, but Godfrey is put off by the fact Irene still has a photo of her and the King, thinking feelings still exist.

At this point, the Watson-written part of "A Scandal in Bohemia" kicks in. Irene has settled temporarily in London, and Godfrey is preparing to return to embassy duty in Europe, when he is summoned to Whitehall by one Mycroft Holmes, who wants to know why he's helping this American woman screw up an important alliance-cementing European royal wedding. Godfrey tries to tell Mycroft that Irene is a good person who has authentic feelings for the King and a broken heart, but Mycroft then tells Godfrey that his best agent had been watching Godfrey and Irene since Bohemia (the mystery man mentioned earlier) who steps in to report that Irene Adler is plainly in love with Godfrey, not the King. Mycroft points out that if Godfrey were to marry Irene, she would pose no threat the the King, and Godfrey awkwardly wraps up the conversation and rushes out.

Godfrey and Irene have their big moment, ending all confusion and admitting their love for each other, and we soon get all the rush to get married part with Sherlock Holmes as their witness that we know so well.

The story concludes with Godfrey and Irene happy and headed for America, Willie and Clothilde happily at their Scandinavian royal wedding, and Irene's costumer friend having a meet cute with Dr. Watson.

The final mid-credit scene of the movie is Sherlock Holmes visiting his brother Mycroft and comparing notes, with Mycroft alluding that he actually solved the problem and that Sherlock wasn't needed. And that maybe Sherlock should see about finding a wife of Irene's caliber, which Sherlock nopes in some funny fashion that may or may not involve Watson.

The End.

It's the spaces in between what we know of the King, Irene, and Godfrey that make "A Scandal in Bohemia" true Hallmark movie fodder. Watson's different, distant POV only gives us the most scant outline of the romance that lies beneath the King and Sherlock story, and neither of them is the true lead character of "A Scandal in Bohemia."

I really hope Hallmark does adapt the tale one day and bring it to its true potential. And let Godfrey Norton finally have his due and his Irene.


  1. For the time period involved, it could just be his rolled up sleeves, and uncollared neck and not a whole shirt. Still, what a man! Irene should play with children at one point as well. Emphasize her joy in simple things. Show him he's not really out of her league.

  2. You know, that's remarkably good. I can TOTALLY see that as a Hallmark movie. Or even a Hollywood Romcom.