Thursday, November 03, 2005

 

The Most Filmed Character Ever!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the "Most Portrayed Character In Films" is Sherlock Holmes, the master detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. According to Guinness, Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed by at least 75 actors in more than 211 movies since 1900. In addition to Basil Rathbone (perhaps the most famous portrayal of Holmes), other actors who have taken on the role include: Buster Keaton, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Roger Moore, and Leonard Nimoy. Other camps contend that not Holmes, but Dracula, the vampire created by Bram Stoker holds the record for the most filmed character. In addition to Bela Lugosi's signature performance, the Transylvanian count has been played by Christopher Lee (who also played Holmes!), John Carradine, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, Max Schreck, Klaus Kinski, Udo Kier, Rutger Hauer, David Niven, Michael Nouri, Miles O'Keeffe, Jack Palance, David Carradine, Peter Fonda, Forrest J. Ackerman; (and spoofed by) Charlie Callas, George Hamilton, Judd Hirsch, and Leslie Nielsen. Still others hold that, in fact, Tarzan, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is the most filmed character. In addition to the best remembered performance by Johnny Weissmuller, the "King of the Jungle" was also played on screen by Elmo Lincoln (the first to portray him), Buster Crabbe, Joe Lara, Gordon Scott, Ron Ely, Christopher Lambert, Miles O'Keeffe (who also played Dracula!) Lex Barker, and Bruce Bennett. But regardless of the record holder, the fact that these three characters have been revisited so often is a testament to their enduring iconographic existence in the collective unconsciousness of the movie-going public.

Comments:
There are many similarities among these characters. First, each is male. Interesting, huh? The three most filmed characters are males.

Each one is in some way out of touch with the norms of society. Sherlock Holmes is quirky and while involved in his case is sometimes unaware of how he is coming across to folks. Tarzan was raised by a whole other species. And Dracula...well anyone who choose blood over diet coke is a little freaky.

For these stories to be so wildly popular in American culture it is interesting that none of them are set in America.

All of these men seem to have difficulty with relationships. Holmes seems oblivious to anyone else ( except Watson), Dracula is all about what he can get for himself and Tarzan just has some good old fashioned communication issues.

Maybe the reason they are so iconic is that their characters resonate so well with men..hmmm.
 
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