Book vs Movie: Sherlock – A Study In Scarlet

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I hate crime shows but I LOVE Sherlock. The character of Sherlock never reacts the way you think he will.  His character is what makes this show amazing.  I loved the battle of wits with the killer.  It was epic and I totally think Sherlock would have taken that pill! (If you’ve seen A Study in Pink then you know what I’m talking about). The cinematography is creative with text on the screen for what Sherlock is thinking, text messages, traffic signs while chasing down murderers etc.

The story line feels so completely modern that I was curious about how much inspiration they use from the original story.  I read A Study in Scarlet before watching episode 1 of the first season of Sherlock which is called A Study in Pink.  When I saw how much was actually in common between the two, I was blown away by what an amazing job they did of taking the story line and elements from the book and making them modern.

After watching A Study in Pink I was surprised at how many details are straight from the book or as close as they could get it considering the modern time period.

  • Watson fought in Afghanistan, just hundreds of years apart between the setting of the movie and the book.  That still kind of blows my mind.
  • Watson tells his friend that he is looking for a place to live.  In the book his friend says that Sherlock is eccentric.  In the movie the friend simply says, “Yep, he’s always like that.”
  • Sherlock and Watson meet in a lab/morturary for the first time where Sherlock is doing experiments
  • Sherlock and Watson’s first interaction is Sherlock asking about Afghanistan.  However, in the book he politely says “I perceive” while in the movie he just bluntly asks “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
  • Sherlock has a passion for definite and exact knowledge
  • They live at 221B Baker Street
  • Sherlock has a homeless network do spying for him.  This shows up in the book A Study in Scarlet but isn’t in the show until later in the season.
  • Two pills – one poison and one harmless
  • The suicide happens in an old house in Brixton
  • Sherlock says that he is a “consulting detective” which is a job he made up.
  • Watson compliments Sherlock and you can tell that Sherlock revels in it.
  • The cabbie breifly mentions that he’s survived because God just loves him – an allusion to the theme of religion in the original story where he asked them to pick a pill as revenge and let God decide their fate.
  • The murderer was a cabbie.  In the book it was a disguise and in the movie it was his real job.
  • The murderer is dying of aneurism.  In the movie it’s in his brain instead of his heart.
  • Sherlock has the idea that a man’s brain is like a house and you stock it with things you choose – like a mind palace!! – which comes up later in the season. (page 12)
  • Watson has a blog to document their crime solving which is an updated version of Watson documenting Sherlock in the books. As part of the marketing for the show, they have a real blog that looks like it’s written by John Watson!  There are comments and everything and it’s hilarious.


Reading this list made me realize how clever of an adaption it really is.  The things they changed were to add modern devices like the mobile phone instead of the ring.



  1. Sherlock’s character seems cheerful, eccentric, bluntly honest, sarcastic and loves flattery.
  2. Sherlock doesn’t learn things that he sees as irrelevant like the theory of the solar system.
  3. Sherlock asks Watson very politely to share their faults with each other to see if they can live together.
  4. Mr. Lestrade is described as rat faced in the book
  5. The wedding ring was held by the dead person
  6. The word “rache” is spelled in blood on the wall because it means “revenge” in German
  7. The motive for the killer is revenge for the death of the girl he loved who was forced into marriage
  8. I know from a special feature that Sherlock deducts information about Watson from a pocket watch from a short story in the Sherlock series.
  9. The girl’s name was Lucy
  10. Sherlock doesn’t want to help because the cops will get the credit.
  11. The murderer approahes crime scene pretending to be drunk.
  12. Sherlock puts an ad for a found ring and sees who claims it.
  13. Sherlock tests the pills on a dog so they know that one was poison and one was real. But the murderer is still alive and reveals it too. (Sad that they just killed the dog!)
  14. The revenge plot was removed.  In the book a man named Ferrier adopts a girl named Lucy and they “join” the Mormons.  Lucy loves Jefferson (the eventual murderer). Lucy dies from a broken heart after a forced marriage and her father is murdered by the Mormons. Jefferson uses a nose bleed to write on the wall.


  1. Sherlock has all the same characteristics as the character from the book except for the cheerful one I think. They had him be more of a high functioning sociopath.
  2. Sherlock learns everything and sees everything as relevant.
  3. Sherlock bluntly points out Watson’s faults when Watson says that they don’t know each other and don’t know if they can live together as roommates
  4. Mr. Lestrade looks normal and not like a rat.
  5. The wedding ring was worn by the dead person
  6. The word “rache” is scratched into the floor and was her daughter’s name and password to her phone.  Sherlock says the word “revenge” in the floor is too obvious and lame.  I love how it pokes fun at the original story.
  7. String of suicides is the case they are working on. Loved the question of how can you have serial suicides.  Such an interesting twist on a crime!  Nothing connects them that they know of until they find out later it’s they rode in the wrong cab.
  8.  Sherlock deducts Watson’s family dynamics from looking at his mobile phone.
  9.  The girl’s name is Jennifer Wilson.
  10. Sherlock wants to help because he enjoys the hunt and he’s so smart that he’s bored.
  11. The murderer approaches the cops as a cabbie confidnet that no one will notice him
  12. Sherlock has Watson text the murderer because he still has the phone to see what he’ll do.
  13. The murderer reveals the game to Sherlock but only if he’ll play along.
  14. Watson is  kidnapped to meet Sherlock’s brother who calls himself Sherlock’s arch-enemy.



There were a few elements in the Sherlock series that I’m curious about if they are in the book or not.  I wanted to write them here in case I come across any of these things as I finish reading the Sherlock series.  And if you know the answer to any of them I’d love to know!

1. Watson has a real shoulder injury from the war and a psychosomatic leg injury with a limp and a cane.  Is that in a later story?

2. Is Mrs. Hudson, the land lady in the book?

3. Is Sally Donovan or an equivalent character of a deputy or assistant to Lestrade anywhere in the books?

4. Why was the book called A Study in Scarlet?

5. How does Moriarty show up in the book?  He’s not in A Study in Scarlet.

6. What does Sherlock mean that the killer’s mistake was “pink”?

5 Stars


Book vs. Movie: Flipped


flipped-movie-posterOn April 18, my friend Karena from Discovery Writer wanted to watch Flipped and I hadn’t read the book yet.  I had it sitting on my kindle waiting to be read – I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  So I was faced with the dilemma that all book lovers have – book or movie first??  I still had about 4 hours before we would get together…and the book was only 200 pages long…so I told Karena that I would read it before coming to her house that night.  She didn’t quite believe that I could start and finish a book in that time (and make dinner for my kids, too).  And I was all: Is that a challenge?

I finished Flipped right before going to her house.  You can read my book review of Flipped here.  I really liked the themes in the book of valuing what’s on the inside instead of on the outside.  We had a lot of fun chatting about the movie while we watched it and here’s what we thought.

flipped movieFlipped was such a cute movie.  Like most adorable romantic comedies,  I thought the music in the movie was very cheesy.  Karena didn’t notice the music much, but it bugged me.  Melodramatic is a good word for the score.  The setting, characters, and dialogue were very similar to the book.  There were small inconsistencies in the plot but overall it was extremely close to the book.  It was so close to the book and had so much voiceover that Karena said, “That’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen on audiobook.”  Haha that totally made me laugh.  It really was like watching an audiobook version of the book since they were almost exactly the same.  I noticed the very small differences only because I literally had just barely read the book. If I had read the book even a week earlier I don’t think I would have noticed hardly any differences.

flipped movie 1That being said there is one major difference between the book and the movie.  The book has a contemporary, early 2000s setting while the movie has a 1950s setting.  The movie also highlighted some things that I didn’t get from the book.  It wasn’t so gross just reading about snakes eating eggs, but watching it? Definitely gross.  I also got the feeling from the movie that when Bryce’s dad accuses Juli’s brothers of doing drugs that it was because he had done drugs as a teen.  It’s just a theory, but the way he looked ashamed in the movie and then how in the book it talked about him getting very quiet after that made me think that he probably did.

The ending was much better in the book. View Spoiler »

Overall, despite the fact that the plot of the movie and book are virtually the same (as well as a lot of the dialogue and characters even), I would still pick the book over the movie because the book just went into more detail and made me more emotionally invested in the characters than the movie was able to.

3 Stars

Movie Trailer

Book vs. Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo


Count of Monte Cristo Movie Poster 2002When I asked my husband if he wanted to watch The Count of Monte Cristo with me, he groaned and said something about English assignments and high school and “all over again.”  When I told him it was a recent adaption (2002), he stopped acting like he was being tortured but didn’t seem convinced that he would like it.  Guess what.  Here’s what he said when the movie was over:  “That was actually really good. You have good taste.”  I mean, I think I have good taste but it’s always nice to get validation. :)  I love that he said “actually” as if he were surprised.

I agree with my husband.  I thought this was a great and entertaining adaption of The Count of Monte Cristo.  There were, of course, differences from the book (Read my book review of The Count of Monte Cristo).  Since I love to over analyze things I’ll give you a short and long version about which was better.  The long version might be kind of spoilery of either the book or the movie but I’ll keep the short version spoiler free.

MV5BMjEwNjE1NzQ3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjE1MDM3._V1__SX1208_SY572_In the movie, some of the motives and some of the relationships changed, but the theme of revenge stayed the same.  Some of the relationship changes were so drastic that it might bug you if you’re a purist to the book.  They did bug me a little since I knew what they were supposed to be, but having these new relationships really amped up the drama which is always good for a movie.  There’s also a few scenes added to amp up the action – like a really cool sword fight – but I think overall, the changes that were made to the movie added to the entertainment even if it wasn’t a very faithful adaption.  I also think the changes made it so you could enjoy the movie on it’s own without having read the book.  If my husband who hadn’t read the book really enjoyed it, I think that’s a sign of a good movie regardless of how faithful to the book it was.  I wish it had stuck a little more to the book, but a lot of the overall story lines stayed the same and I think it was a great, fun movie worth watching.  I felt like the book had much more depth and the revenge was better.  I think I would pick the book over the movie on this one.

The relationship changes are quite drastic from what they are in the book.  Here’s the first example of a change.  Mondego is Dantes’ friend and not Mercedes’ cousin.  This added some interesting drama because it made the betrayal by him even more awful and they probably took away the cousin thing because ew.  But I missed the story line of Mondego in the book becoming a Count (he already is one in the movie) by questionable means and then having it come back to haunt him.

MV5BMTQ5NDQ2MzIzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1MDM3._V1__SX1208_SY572_The motive behind Dantes carrying the letter that dooms him to prison was to save his life and not as a favor to a dying captain.  This makes him look more like a victim and less like an idiot that would carry a letter from Napoleon when he’s been exiled.  I’m just realizing as I’m writing this that Dantes was kind of dumb in the book.  He’s definitely not dumb after he gets out of prison, but he was to start with.  Poor Book Dantes was a victim of his own idiocy.

Dantes gets unjustly arrested.  In the movie he’s much more active in fighting against his arrest because he’s smarter apparently than he was in the book.  He even gets away and goes to his “friend” Mondego’s house for help! Oops he’s the one that sent him there.  Dantes doesn’t find out in the book who betrayed him before he went to prison because, as I’ve said before, he was dumb as a rock.


Chateau D’if

Chateau D’if was a real place. How cool is that?! I don’t know if the movie was filmed here, but I think it’s awesome that this prison is still around so I googled it, of course.  As one does.

The prison stay at Chateau D’if and escape was pretty accurate with the book, though they added whipping so that SOMETHING at least is happening.  They also notice Dantes is missing when he escapes a lot sooner than they did in the book.  And the Warden falling in after Dantes was strange.  That wasn’t in the book.  I’m not sure what the point of that was.

I loved how the movie added a fight to the death to join the smugglers.  It showed Dantes cleverness.  In the book he just gets to join when they see how good he is at sailing.

After that, we go straight to Paris and then they go to Italy later which is reverse from the book.  Danglars has a career change in the movie – he’s a shipper instead of a banker.

After how long it took in the book, the revenges seem to come one right after the other in the movie.  Villefort’s story line was sadly shortened.  Villefort kills his father by conspiracy in the movie, but the book was much better because he used his father to play political games to stay on top.  It made Villefort a much more shady character.  And the whole poisoning story line was left out.  Even though it was slow getting around to all the people being poisoned, that was part of the drama of it all.  Sadly, Danglars revenge was much better in the book.

Then the end goes out with more drama! And an exciting sword fight!  Which, honestly, was an exciting way to end the movie.  The end of the book was good as well but it was more of a tying everything up ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed this entertaining adaption but it’s not a very faithful adaption and I enjoyed the depth of the novel much more. So book wins for me!

4 Stars

Movie Trailer

Book vs. Movie: The Scarlet Pimpernel

scarlet pimpernel banner

I remember watching this movie in bits and pieces as a teen.  My friends absolutely loved this movie and I never got a chance to watch it all the way through for some reason.  So when I finally read The Scarlet Pimpernel I knew I had to watch my friends’ favorite version of the movie – the 1982 version with Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour and Ian McKellen (Hi evil and very young Gandalf!!).

I was surprised while watching the credits that this movie is also based on the book Eldorado by Baronness Orczy.  The last half with trying to rescue the Prince comes from the book Eldorado and isn’t actually in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Other than that, the movie sticks pretty close to the book.  We get to see more of the back story of their love, how they meet and fall in insta-love.

p24The best part of this whole movie is the character of Percy and his ridiculously pompous attitude that he uses as a disguise.  While I was watching it, I was very aware that this is a bad TV movie but I just loved the whole thing because of the character and acting of Percy.



Prince Regent: Percy. Fashionably late, as usual.

Sir Percy: Sink me, your highness, it was this damned cravat. Simply refused to tie. I ask you. Sticking out like a pincushion.

Prince Regent: I might have known it would be something serious.

vlcsnap-2011-07-01-13Jane Seymour is great too.  She has the most awesome big hair ever.

Also what is this strange non-French accent that the actors seem to have?  I mean it’s hilarious but what is it?  I can’t be too picky really.  This is a TV movie after all.

Overall, the movie was much more detailed than the book and I liked the movie better.  You can check out my review of the The Scarlet Pimpernel novel.

I can’t find a trailer for this movie, but check out this clip of Percy being awesome and pompous.

4 Stars