Robert Downey Jr. and UCLA Film and Television are seeking to find long-lost Sherlock Holmes silent movies. RDJ has been named honorary chair of Searching for Sherlock: The Game's Afoot. The actor is preparing to play the legendary character for a third time after starring in 2009's Sherlock Holmes and 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Guy Ritchie directed both installments, but Dexter Fletcher will be taking on the third and presumably final adventure in this trilogy.
UCLA Film and Television Archive director Jan-Christopher Horak and Baker Street Irregulars are looking to preserve the long-lost Sherlock Holmes projects and have partnered with Robert Downey Jr. to do so. It's unclear how many of these movies are out there, but it's all a part of the extensive hunt, which is currently underway. Horak had this to say about Searching for Sherlock: The Game's Afoot.
"Sherlock Holmes is really an international phenomenon. We decided that it would really be worthwhile to, first of all, do a research project and find out how many of these Sherlock Holmes films survived and in what condition, and what we at UCLA Film and TV archive could then do to preserve some of them."
Jan-Christopher Horak estimates that more than 80% of American features from the silent movie era have been lost. He attributes this to "eroded prints, mislabeling, fires, and other causes." The Los Angeles Times reveals that their journey to hunt down the long-lost Sherlock Holmes movies isn't going to be easy. You can read what the Times had to say below.
"Because the circumstances of their disappearances are so varied and unpredictable, it's hard to say exactly how many Holmes adaptations wait to be discovered. But they are aware of some that may still be out there based on evidence of prints of long-lost films."
UCLA's Jan-Christopher Horak knows the process isn't going to be easy. "It's not like there's a list anywhere," Horak said. He does believe there are plenty of the features that are probably gone forever due to different reasons. However, he states, "there are films that survived - that we know have survived." Baker Street Irregular member Leslie Klinger had this to say.
"Many are lost in the sense that there are no known copies/ We know about the film, but nobody's seen it for a generation or more. And we're hoping that copies exist out there."
Searching for Sherlock: The Game's Afoot officially kicked off last month, though it is unclear if they've had any luck with their detective work at this time. The journey will be a real-life Sherlock Holmes mission that will more than likely bring the hunt internationally to preserve the variety of movie adaptations from over the years. Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary character has been capturing the imagination of readers since the 1800s and his work is arguably more famous now than it ever has been. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report on Searching for Sherlock: The Game's Afoot.