French-film archive Cinémathèque Française announced today that it has uncovered a lost, silent film version of Sherlock Holmes from 1916 in its archives. The film is the only surviving footage of actor William Gillette — the first to don Holmes’s iconic deerstalker hat — in a role that he made famous in stage portrayals. It is currently being restored and will make its U.S. debut at the the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in May 2015. “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,” said Robert Byrne, board president of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. “Audiences are going to be blown away when they see the real Sherlock Holmes on screen for the first time.” Um, the real Sherlock Holmes? Mr. Byrne should be glad the Cumberbitches don’t have some sort of Beygency-type enforcement organization (Cumberbeygency?).
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