Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sherlock Holmes Movie costumes and props on display

This is a short article from a fashion based website, which talks about Sherlock Holmes and reveals how the costumes and props from the film were on display at a film museum which featured clothing from films such as Indian Jones series and is alongside famous clothing of famous people such as Charlie Chaplin and various others.

The article helps for my summer research project as people can see authentic 19th century costumes such as waistcoasts, corsets and dresses which were at the height of fashion and were common during the era within which the film is set.

Sherlock Holmes costumes and props on display at the London Film Museum

Just yesterday we were talking about the London Film Museum and its exciting exhibition celebrating the life and career of comedy god, Charlie Chaplin (see Related Content, right) and it seems we’re heading back to the South Bank again. This time to enjoy a more modern movie marvel, that of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes currently doing well at the box office (albeit in the blue shadow of Avatar).

The action-packed re-imagining of the beloved Conan Doyle stories stars Robert Downey Jr. as the eponymous super sleuth and Jude Law as his trusty sidekick, Dr Watson, with Rachel McAdams flying the flagfor the ladies as the sparky Irene Adler and Mark Strong as the villainous Lord Blackwood. And costumes as worn by all four of these stars, along
with used props are currently on view at this cinematic corner of the capital. As befitting of a Victorian period tale, the costumes (by Oscar-winning designer, Jenny Beaven and Melissa Meister) and props (production design by Sarah Greenwood) weren’t just picked up on the high street, and as such boast impressive historic details.

The props are all original and tailor-made for the film, while the costuming department worked with respected film and theatre rental company, Helen Uffner Vintage (their clothes also recently seen in Amelia, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Julie & Julia) to nail all those authentic turn of the century looks.

The movie memorabilia went on view from 21st December and will remain on show until 31st January. So if you’re interested in Holmes, Chaplin or any of the other top displays there, head to the London Film Museum.

Issues regarding Sherlock Holmes movie in the media

Due to the mention of black magic and voodooism, some people reacted srongly against the film. The plot revolves around murders that are apparently connected with occult rituals. This leads Sherlock into the mysterious world of secret societies and political conspiracies. Interestingly, Lord Blackwood and the New World Order in the film seemingly represented the Illuminati, which caused doubts amongst some audiences as people would fear a new power that would try to control the world.

However, it is suggested that Doyle’s works contained vague references to magic and sorcery. Though it can be seen that the film contains references towards Freemasonry. Sherlock Holmes tends to focuses around these themes and elements which are in debate in today's society. for example people fear over a New World Order lead by secret societie, that could be threatening to different governments.

Symbols in the Movie

Sherlock Holmes contains a great deal of themes and symbols taken from certain societies. They are very subtle and rarely explained in the movie, making them almost invisible to everyday viewers. However, to certain “educated” viewers , those symbols can easily be recognized . Although some of them are not historically accurate or have been modified to make them “fictional”, the presence of those themes create some kind of symbolism in the mass media today.

Black Magic Ritual

The movie starts off with Sherlock interrupting a Black Magic ritual. A hooded man (Lord Blackwood) is reciting magical recitations in front of a woman laid on a sacrificial altar. This particular scene raises some hidden themes from the beginning.

Blackwood’s Cell

When Sherlock visits Lord Blackwood at his prison cell, he notices strange engravings on the walls. One of them stands out:

This symbol of a crucified rose is considered to be the first symbol represents a Secret Order, which stems from a brotherhood dating from the Middle-Ages.

The Lab

When Sherlock and Watson inspect “The Dwarf’s” lab for clues, some interesting symbols are engraved on the wall.

The All Seeing Eye
This symbol is highly provocative in socity today, as it is inferred that the 'All Seeing Eye' refers to power, light and refers to knowledge and is commonly seen on the $1 bill, which raises questions over whether America was and is run by Freemasons.

The detectives discover that the lab seem to mix advanced science with subtle voodoo aspects, which suggests the film revolves around world domination and power. Another interesting symbol is found on a wall.

The Quabbalistic Tree of Life (Sephiroth)

Blackwood’s Spellbook

After being summoned by “The Order”, Sherlock is told that Blackwood’s spell book is the key to stop him.

The creature in the middle looks remarkably like a Baphomet, which is a mystical pagan figure which is worshipped by the Knights Templar ( Secret Western Chrisian Order) and represents knowledge .

Eliphas Levi’s depicition of Baphomet

Here’s the next page of Lord Blackwood’s spell book:

De Gaita founded in 1888 the Cabalistic Order of the Rosicrucians, which is consistent with earlier references to Rosicrucianism in the movie.

The Order

In Sherlock Holmes, The Order is a secret brotherhood which can easily compared to Freemasonry. It is said in the movie that their “secret system has stirred the world to greater good for centuries, but it can also be used for more nefarious purposes … the Dark Arts or practical magic”. The Order has many members in government and police and has member which are wealthy and successful . It is suggested that America was run by supposed Freemasons such as George Washington.

Blackwood, a practitioner of Black Magic, takes over The Order by force, claiming that he has a “magnificent purpose”: to create a new future, a future ruled by the Brotherhood. Later in the movie, Blackwood says “The new order … begins now”, which is a reference to the New World Order ushered in by the Illuminati that is said to be taking place today.

Blackwood taking seat at the Throne of The Order. The pyramid in the background has an illuminated capstone, which is considered to be the ultimate “Illuminati symbol”. See the Great Seal of the USA

Blackwood’s takeover of The Order probably refers to the take over of Freemasonry by Illuminism and Rosicrucianism during the 18th century, which changed some of its beliefs and ethics and lead to its worldwide spread.

All of the magic turned out to be trickery that Sherlock explained with logic and science. So, after the viewers are exposed to the symbols and the Brotherhood, they are told that these things are fiction, and even rather ridiculous. The occultism presented in the movie is rather dark, threatening and somewhat satanic, which can encourage viewers to associate everything magical with evil, which is not the case. This goes in hand with the Hollywood disinformation covered in this article.

Although the occult elements of the movie are presented as being fictional products of director Guy Richie’s imagination, many of the symbols used are taken from actual occult works.

There is no doubt that some research has been done in order to give the movie some “occult authenticity”, but it seems to go further than this. There is a certain cohesiveness in the symbols used, which makes them more than decorative additions, but rather a series of clues pointing towards actual Secret Societies.