Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

It’s Time for an Animated Film!

Every year we review an animated film and this year it is:

I’ll always look back on that first with the most fondness; my introduction to Basil of Baker Street, the great mouse detective

So guess what guys! Bonus Disney film and bonus Vincent Price!

This was one of my upmost favorite films growing up. I don’t think I could ever fully explain how amazing this film is-it is just too good.

So the original story is a book Basil of Baker Street, which was awful-don’t read it. Instead, when Disney went into production they borrowed from The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and other of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.

As my costume this year was Sherlock Jane Holmes Austen, I knew I had to review it.

Mystery, you say?

The main character Basil of Baker Street is a mousified version of Sherlock Holmes-a mix of Leslie Howard and Basil Rathbone (where his name comes from). This film not only has a great main character but the best Disney villain of all time, Ratigan.

Played by Vincent Price-this guy gives Professor Moriarty (Sherlock’s archnemsis) a real run for his money.

This film starts of with father and daughter-Hiram and Olivia Flaversham. Hiram is a toy inventor and is celebrating with the apple of his eye, Olivia. Unfortunately, her birthay is interrupted with intruders.

He quickly hides his daughter and then is kidnapped. 

Meanwhile, in London, Dr. David Q. Dawson has just arrived from Afghanistan, newly retired from the war. He’s looking for a place to stay and to begin his practice.

Dr. Dawson: Little did I know that my life was about to change forever.

He sees little Olivia trying to make her way down the street without being run over, and feels sorry for her. She tells him she is looking for the famous detective, and shows him a newspaper clipping. He agrees to help her, and off they go.

When they arrive at 221 1/2 Baker Street, Basil is not there. They decide to wait when they are interrupted by a strange looking mouse.

Yes, it is Basil of Baker Street, the Great Mouse Detective.

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Olivia tries to talk to him, but he ignores her…until she mentions a certain little fact:

Olivia Flaversham: I didn’t lose him. He was taken by a bat.

Basil: Did you say… bat?

Olivia Flaversham: Yes.

Basil: Did he have a crippled wing?

Olivia Flaversham: I don’t know, but he had a peg leg.

Basil: Ha!

Dr. Dawson: I say, do you know him?

Basil: Know him? That bat, one Fidget by name, is in the employ of the very fiend that was the target of my experiment! The horror of my every waking moment. The nefarious Professor Ratigan!

Dr. Dawson: Ratigan?

Basil: He’s a genius, Dawson. A genius twisted for evil. The Napoleon of crime!

Dr. Dawson: As bad as all that, eh?

Basil: Worse! For years I’ve tried to capture him, and I’ve come close, so very close, but each time he’s narrowly evaded my grasp! Not a corner of London is safe while Ratigan is at large. There’s no evil scheme he wouldn’t concoct. No depravity he wouldn’t commit. Who knows what dastardly scheme that villain may be plotting even as we speak.

From here we fade out to take a look at the villain-Ratigan (Vincent Price). His plan is to have Haversham create a toy mouse Queen, kidnap the real Queen, and use his toy/puppet to rule all mousedom. After his amazing reveal and we have THE BEST VILLAN SONG OUT OF ALL THE DISNEY VILLAN SONGS!!

So debonair, so evil, so classy, so demented, etc. He has it all. Fantastic!

Meanwhile, Fidget goes looking for the girl and to find out what Basil has unearthed. They spot him and the chase is on-after a quick stop to Sherlock Holmes’ flat (Sherlock Holmes speaks with the voice of Basil Rathbone. Since Rathbone was already deceased it was edited from his reading of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Caedmon Records in 1966).

In the flat they pick up Toby, a dog, and track Fidget down to a toy store:

Olivia is stolen, but luckily they found the list and Basil uses al his power of deduction to find Ratigan’s lair.

It is time to suit up and head out. The two disguise themselves as sailors and head down to a tavern on the waterfront.

Bar Maid: What’ll you have?

Dr. Dawson: I’ll have a dry sherry, with, oh, perhaps a twist of…

Basil: Two pints for me and my shipmate. Oh, by the way. We just got into port. We’re looking for an old friend of mine. Maybe you know him. Goes by the name… of Ratigan! [Everyone at the bar gasps and turn to Basil]

Bar Maid: I… never heard of him.

Basil is on high alert and notices that the drinks have been roofied. But it is too late for Dawson who causes a giant scene:

When I was a kid I never noticed how racy this was. It almost didn’t make it in the final cut. I just remember enjoying the song.

Oh, well

So they get out of there and follow Fidget, but it turns out to be a trap. Ratigan has outwitted Basil. He takes his robot Queen, the Flavershams, and his crew and set off to fulfill his evil plan.

Let’s stop and talk about how awesome this scene is:

  1. Ratigan’s enthusiasm and how he can’t settle on one so he does all his ideas.
  2. How Basil figures out this plan and incorporates it, calculating in like a minute.
  3. When he is free the first thing he does is change back into his “uniform”.
  4. Basil catches Olivia as she is thrown through the air just like that.
  5. And he stops to have his picture taken.

Meanwhile, Ratigan has fooled the queen, abducted her, and has established his Robot Queen who has given him all the power.

Ratigan: I have the power!

Robot Queen: Of course you do.

Ratigan: I am supreme!

Robot Queen: Only you.

Ratigan: This is my kingdom! [maniacal laugh] That is, of course, with your highness’ permission. [the robot is idle; Ratigan slaps it to start it again]

Robot Queen: Most assuredly… you insidious fiend.

Ratigan: What?

Robot Queen: You’re not my royal consort!

Ratigan: [to crowd] Such a sense of humor.

Robot Queen: You’re a cheap fraud & impostor!

Ratigan: [under his breath] Flaversham!

Basil: [operating the robot] A corrupt, vicious, demented, lowlife scoundrel. There’s no evil scheme you wouldn’t concoct. [the robot goes crazy and breaks apart]

Robot Queen: No depravity you wouldn’t commit. You, professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known as a…

Ratigan: Don’t say it!

Basil: …Sewer rat!

Yes Basil came in just the nick of time. Ratigan escapes with Olivia and Basil and Dawson are on the train again. Basil crashes into Ratigan and they wind up in Big Ben and we have one of the most amazing scenes in Big Ben-and one of the scariest.

Back at Baker Street Hiram and Olivia leave to go home and get back to their lives-

Olivia Flaversham: Goodbye, Basil. [sniffles] I… I’ll never forget you.

Basil: Nor I you, Miss… Miss Flangerhanger.

Dr. Dawson: [chuckles] Whatever.

Afterwards, Dawson is going to go about what he originally planed t do, but Basil likes having a best friend.

Dr. Dawson: Well, it’s time I was on my way too.

Basil: But… umm… but I thought…

Dr. Dawson: Well, the case is over, and perhaps… well perhaps it’s best I found my own living quarters.

Basil: But…[Knock on doorOh, now who could that be?

[Dawson opens door; a lady mouse is standing there]

Lady Mouse: Is this the home of the famous Basil of Baker Street?

Dr. Dawson: Indeed it is, miss. You look as if you’re in some kind of trouble.

Lady Mouse: Oh, I am. I am.

Dr. Dawson: Then you have come to precisely the right place.

Basil: Ah, allow me to introduce my trusted associate Dr. Dawson, with whom I do all of my cases. Isn’t that right, doctor?

Dr. Dawson: Oh? Why, yes. By all means.

Basil: As you can see, Dawson, this young lady is from the Hampstead district, and is troubled about the mysterious disappearance of an emerald ring in the third finger of her right hand. Now, tell me the story, and pray, be precise.

And that is just the beginning-many more adventures are to cme. Although sadly they didn’t make any more movies. I don’t know why not!

It is such an amazing film, and I watched it over and over and over again as a child.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more The Great Mouse Detective, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more private investigators, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more Vincent Price, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Disney films, go to One Who Was Both Hero and Villain: Maleficent (2014)

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Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to check out repeatedly when you were a Child.

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So there are lots of books I used to read over and over again as a child.

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The ones I remember reading the most were The Chronicles of Narnia and the children’s version of The Phantom of the Opera.

But there is another book(s) that I used to read over and over, Sherlock Holmes short stories.

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As I have mentioned before, I grew up reading the Great Illustrated Classics series and that introduced me to the character Sherlock Holmes. After I read one children’s’ collection, I read every short story there was about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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I even read stories based on him, like the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, (which was like Choose Your Own Adventure), and I was a giant fan of Basil of Baker Street.

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So yeah, I was obsessed.

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I thought Sherlock Holmes was so cool and wanted to be like him.

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The only thing I didn’t read were the Sherlock Holmes novels, I guess because my library didn’t have those available in children’s form. I actually didn’t read those until I was an adult.

Oh well.

Oh well.

I remember one day we were traveling somewhere and were listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape; and I was the only one in the car who had read the ones being read before hearing them on cassette. It was weird as a child to think I knew something my parents didn’t.

Thinking Hmm

So there are a lot of stories to choose from and of course I don’t have the time to talk bout them all. In fact out of all the stories I remember the most, they are from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so I choose that collection over any other.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So I will only pick three stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man With the Twisted Lip, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.

***Spoilers***

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A Scandal in Bohemia

So many have probably read this story, seen the Sherlock version (which I hated), or heard of it.

I know this

I know this

A Bohemian Prince comes to Sherlock, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement had sent letters and a photograph with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

NO ONE

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

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Whattheheck

This strange turn of events doesn’t prepare Sherlock for how things will turn out for him.

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Sherlock continues on his plan, dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photo. He sees it as she goes to protect it; and thinks the case is finished, preparing to return the next morning before she leaves.

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On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. People are always addressing him.

The next day the three men set out to retrieve the painting, and find Irene gone.

Say What

She left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “minister”, dressed up as a boy to research him, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of allowing him to do his plan, she bests him by leaving that night instead of the next day.

Not good

Not good

She leaves the picture behind, as married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman. The only one that ever beat him.

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The Man With the Twisted Lip

A wife is worried about her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her. One day her husband was at work and she was walking down the street running an errand when she just happened to look up at a building and sees her husband!

What's going on?

What’s going on?

He’s in a room above an opium den! And he is so scared!

OMG gasp

She rushes up there as quick as she can but no husband, only a disgusting, deformed, dirty man.

What

What

She calls the police and as they investigate they discover his clothes in the river, blood in the room, but no body. They believe him to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened to the body. For now he sits in a jail cell, with nothing being able to get him to talk or bath.

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Sherlock is puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. All he can find out is that he moved there and makes good money to care for his family.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck…

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Until he goes to the bathroom and solves the case by looking at a bar of soap.

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He goes to the jail where they are holding the man and force him to clean up, revealing that he is the husband.

OMG gasp

It turned out that he used to be a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothing, he ended up making more money that way than being the reporter.

Whattheheck

He continued this lifestyle, hoping to never be found out and was surprised to find his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and another case solved.

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

Ever since I read that story every time I see people beg, this story comes back to me. He made more money begging than working? It just shocked me and makes me wonder if people today are like that guy in the story.

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The Adventures of the Copper Beeches

Violet Hunter goes to Sherlock Holmes for advice about whether or not she should take a position as a governess They are willing to pay her £120, but she has to get her hair cut short. It seems odd as her previous position only paid £48.

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Nothing else seems amiss so Violet takes the job, Sherlock telling her to telegram him if they need anything.

After a fortnight (14 days), Sherlock gets a telegram. Things have gotten weirder since she started working at the house. They have her sit in the window wearing an electric blue dress and have her back to the window. After doing this for a while she hides a mirror in her handkerchief and sees a man staring up at her through the window.

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The child she is supposed to care for is a psychopath

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There is a mastiff that is always hungry and let out at night, keeping Violet from being able to leave in the evening.

She also comes upon a drawer with her her hair in it!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it turns out to not be her hair but someone elses.

What?

What?

And then there is the mysterious wing that they can’t go in.

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

One day she sneaks in and she a shadow…

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It freaks her out so she hurriedly leaves and gets away as soon as she can to post the telegram.

Sherlock arrives with Watson in tow and the two investigate. It appears that the family has been hiding someone away. As Sherlock studies everything, he comes to the conclusion that the family’s daughter is the one they are hiding. They chose Violet because she could pass for the daughter and used her to get rid of the daughter’s fiancé.

They look in the room, but the daughter is missing. The father, Mr. Rucastle, gets angry at them and sets the dog out after him. The dog has been starved more than usual and kills Mr. Rucastle.

Afterwards, they find the daughter, Alice, and her fiancé. It turns out that when Alice came of age she came into money from her mother’s will. The father was trying to get the money, but when the daughter wouldn’t give it she became sick with brain fever.

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As thought earlier, he hired Violet to pretend to be Alice and get rid of him. After this experience all go their separate ways, with Violet later becoming a principal of a girls’ school.

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I liked this one because it was really creepy. The child is horrid, and the rest so mysterious.

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So those are just three out of the many wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. If you haven’t read them, you should get started immediately. They are sure to wow you at every turn. And if you have read them already, they are always worth another read; no matter how many times you do it!

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

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For more Sherlock Holmes, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more mysteries, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It

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Today’s Christmas Carol is Away in a Manger. 

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It was first published in 1883, and has stayed a popular carol since. Many attributed it to Martin Luther as being the writer, but that was discredited a long time ago. We don’t know who read it, but I’m sure Arthur Coan Doyle heard it so I thought it would be the perfect pairing with this book.

I love this song, as like the book reviewed, it was a big part of my childhood. It was probably the first Christmas Carol I ever learned and is one I sing every year.

The artist I choose was Bing Crosby, I just can’t get enough of him.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)

For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas