The Art of the Title
Textual Analysis on Sherlock Holmes Opening
(2009, Guy Ritchie)
By Alex Davies
GENRE in the Sherlock Holmes Opening
It is immediately obvious that this is from the Sherlock Holmes
franchise, since we see him and his sidekick (Sherlock and Dr.
Watson) in close-up, and therefore we know that this is a
detective/crime genre. With violence, murder and drama, because
we see someone punched on the chin.
The genre in the film is shown as a period piece, due to the lavish
costumes and the conventional set of London. It is supposed to be
set in Victorian times.
From the opening scenes, we can see that there are some
humorous moments, such as when the maid finds Sherlock tied to
his bed naked and when a woman throws wine in Sherlock’s face.
This shows how there will be humour in the film, rather than just
drama, like other Sherlock Holmes reboots.
As well, there is romance shown in the opening, when the cast
mention for Rachel McAdams comes up, her character is seen to
be winking, which is seen as a flirty. This is used to give a modern
look of Sherlock Holmes, in comparison to the books.
TITLES in the Sherlock Holmes Opening
The titles come up in a particular order, the director Guy Ritchie
comes first, followed by the screenplay writers, screen story
writers, the production team, a credit to the authour, ‘Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle’, the executive producers.
Then comes the director of photography, known as the DOP, the
production designer, the editor, and the principal actors, Robert
Downey Jr. who plays title of the film.
There follows as other principal actors, like Jude Law, Rachel
McAdams, Mark Strong and this is later followed by the other
actors. And finally the studios and producers are presented.
in the Sherlock Holmes Opening
The production companies are Warner Bros Pictures, Village Road
show Pictures, Silver Pictures, a Wigram production. The final
credit is to the director of the film Guy Ritchie, which is presented
as ‘A Guy Ritchie Film’
MISE-EN-SCENE in the Sherlock Holmes
The mise-en-scene of the film in shown by the period of which it is
set in, which is Victorian era London. We can assume this due to
quick clips of lavish Victorian-style costumes and the development
of tower bridge. Despite, the film being set in Victorian era, the film
is modernised, such as the use of humour. Rachel McAdams’
character is seen winking to Sherlock Holmes, which is seen as
The colour scheme used in the opening of Sherlock Holmes is
mainly based on the look of the pen and ink wash, which contain
the two colours, black and sepia. There is constant flashes
between live action clips and pen and ink display. The video clips
mostly contain brown and tan colours, which don’t stand out.
The music used in the opening is a quick and fast tempo on the
violin, which fits into the period and does not stand out.
EDITING in the Sherlock Holmes Opening
The colour is sepia tinted. The live-action clip morphs into a sepia
tinted line drawing that looks Victorian style and gives a certain
look, which makes it very well suited towards the era the film is
trying to portray.
In addition, the music is played higher, when the live-action clip
swaps to the pen and ink display, which shows how punctual the
editing is and how the swap is supposed to be startling. Whenever,
the background is mainly black, there is white handwriting and vice
versa. This is so it is able to read.
When the screen transfers to the pen and ink display, it adjusts to
what the editor wants included, for example when the stars are
being shown, everything but themselves has been removed from
Between the flashes of live action and pen and ink display, the
volume of the music increases, which is used to emphasise the
NARRATIVE AND CHARACTERS
in the Sherlock Holmes Opening
The narrative in the Sherlock Holmes opening, is that the
eponymous character, Sherlock and his sidekick Dr. Watson will
have a wild and crazy adventure in the various short live-action
clips shown in the beginning.
The characters are shown in order of importance when the cast are
being mentioned. Such as when Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock is
mentioned first, due to him being the main character.