The first part of the legendary Soviet film series "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson" was released in 1979. The film consisted of two episodes based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle "Colorful Ribbon" and "Study in Crimson Tones". The director of the film, Igor Maslennikov, did not plan to shoot a sequel, but the picture became so popular that in total the series consisted of eleven episodes.
Now it is difficult for viewers to imagine in the role of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes not Vasily Livanov, but some other actor. But, for this role, Vasily Borisovich was not approved immediately. Among the candidates were also Sergei Yursky, Boris Klyuev, Oleg Yankovsky and others. But, the operator of the film, Yuri Veksler, suggested to Maslennikov that Livanov would be ideal for this role. Already the first screen tests showed that Veksler was right.
It turned out to be no less difficult to find the performer of the role of Dr. Watson, a reliable assistant to Sherlock Holmes. Oleg Basilashvili, Alexander Kalyagin, Leonid Kuravlev were considered as contenders. The director himself insisted that the best "doctor" was Vitaly Solomin. But, the commission did not agree for a long time, claiming that Solomin had a typical Slavic appearance. As a result, Maslennikov managed to convince everyone.
Already at the beginning of filming, Rina Zelena, who brilliantly played the landlady of Mrs. Hudson's apartment, was almost 80 years old. And when the shooting came to an end, the actress turned 84. Of course, her role in the film cannot be called the main one, but the audience remembered her no less than Livanov and Solomin. On the set, the actress was pulled into such a tight corset that she could hardly breathe.
The literary Sherlock Holmes is known to have lived in London at 221 B, Baker Street. By the way, at the time when Conan Doyle was working on works about the adventures of the genius detective, such an address in London simply did not exist. But the shooting of the film "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson" took place quite far from England - in Riga at 22 Jauniela Street. Some episodes were filmed in Leningrad, Tallinn and Abkhazia. Sometimes the real Thames River appeared on the screens, but at the request of Maslennikov, it was filmed by Central Television employees working in the UK.
The pipe, which Sherlock Holmes did not part with, was made by master Alexey Fedorov, the best pipe maker of the Soviet Union. He took orders from the creative elite of the whole country and even made a pipe for Stalin himself. It is not surprising that many dreamed of becoming the owner of a product of such a master. As a result, the pipe was stolen right from the set. Later, two more copies were made by Fedorov's student, one was presented to Vasily Livanov, the other is kept in the Lenfilm Museum.
Vasily Livanov's voice is simply impossible not to recognize. And he became so as a result of an unpleasant incident. In his youth, the actor starred in the film by Mikhail Kalatozov "Unsent Letter". Filming took place in Siberia in a severe frost, as a result of which Livanov lost his voice. Two weeks later, he spoke again, but with a hoarse voice. At first the actor was very worried, but then he realized that his voice had become unique.
Scotland Yard inspector Lestrade was played by Borislav Brondukov. Thanks to the talent of the actor, the inspector on the screen looked comical enough, but not devoid of charm. The only thing that did not suit the director of the film was Brondukov's voice. Therefore, says Lestrade in the voice of Igor Efimov.
A beautiful and good-natured dog named Cyclone had to portray the evil dog of the Baskervilles. The film crew had to work hard to make the Cyclone look like a real monster on the screen. The ego was wrapped in a reflective tape, since they did not dare to smear the dog with phosphorus, this could damage the respiratory tract and deprive the four-legged actor of the scent.
Sherlock Holmes was very fond of playing the violin. But, what the fictional literary hero did, the actor Vasily Livanov did not succeed in any way. I had to go for a trick: Livanov only imitated playing a musical instrument, and the music sounded in the recording.
During the filming of the series based on the story "The Motley Ribbon", the snake had to crawl out of the ventilation vent along a free hanging cord, and then climb back along it. But, in reality, it was simply impossible to do this, snakes need a solid support to move. Therefore, only a small episode was shown in the film when the snake pokes its head out of the ventilation. In his story, Conan Doyle clearly exaggerated the capabilities of snakes.
Vasily Borisovich Livanov recalled that he became interested in stories about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a teenager, when he could not imagine that he would be able to play a detective in a movie. And now Livanov is recognized as the best performer of the role of Holmes in the history of world cinema. In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Order of the British Empire.