If you’ve never had the opportunity to check out Gillette Castle in East Haddam, you really should do yourself a favor and take a trip there one day. It’s endlessly fascinating, with weird doors and locks, and two-way mirrors – it’s like a real-life Wayne Manor. And it was all designed and built 100 years ago by William Gillette, America’s foremost Sherlock Holmes actor.
Odds are that what you picture in your head when you think about Sherlock Holmes, is because of what William Gillette did for the character. The deerstalker cap, the pipe, even the “Elementary, my dear Watson” – all of that came from his stage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. That’s how powerful his portrayal was. But since most of us weren’t alive to see him portray the role on stage, we only have testimonials and still pictures to rely on.
A lost, silent film produced in 1916, and the only film starring William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes, was recently discovered in France, and will be shown at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in May.
Is it too much to ask for them to hold a screening at Gillette Castle afterwards?
You can get a better idea about how unusual Gillette Castle is in this video: