SHERLOCK HOLMES A GAME OF SHADOWS

GB / US
2011
2hrs 09mins
Dir: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law

Holmes and Watson travel across Europe with a Gypsy adventuress to foil an intricate plot by Professor Moriarty to instigate a war

This lavish and typically elaborate Warner Brothers remake of the classic Sherlock tale features much CGI and could not be further from the original stories if it tried. However, it was largely a commercial success leaving its best scenes to one-on-ones between Holmes and Moriarty. The film features two railway sequences, but both are not what they seem. There are a number of scenes filmed in the engine shed at the Didcot Railway Centre which doubles up as the German armaments factory. Several GWR locos are present and though the only one readily identifiable is 6100 Class 2-6-2T No.6106, others including 5700-series 0-6-0PT No.3738 and 5600 Class 0-6-2T No.6697 can be made out. Many railway wagons and other items of stock are outside in the yard, hidden amongst all the military hardware. The film also features a railway journey sequence during which Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) pushes Dr. Watson’s (Jude Law) new wife Mary (Kelly Reilly) from a steam train as it crosses the Severn Valley Railway’s Victoria Bridge. No steam train, or actors, were at the location, nor was a dummy thrown into the River Severn. All filming was undertaken by a camera on a crane jib mounted on a flat wagon pushed across the bridge by a diesel to obtain mid-air views of the bridge. Everything else, including the highly authentic looking train and the ‘lady plunging into the river’, was created digitally in the studio and was then added to the footage of the bridge. In fact, the railway journey starts at the expansive ‘London’ terminus of the ‘South England Railway’ with several steam-hauled trains present, but again this is all a computer-generated image, and a highly authentic one at that.

The only thing real in this shot is the Victoria Bridge across the Severn, over which the ‘train’ is passing
This is a shot inside the engine shed at the Didcot Railway Centre, with a GWR tank loco on the right
In this scene looking the other way there are steam locos both left and right
Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr with 6100 Class 2-6-2T No.6106 forming the backdrop
A further shot deeper inside the shed and three locomotives are visible. The tender to the loco on the far left has spurious M E 6 branding on the side.
As bullets bounce off the bufferbeam of a loco on the left, more fake branding can be seen covering up the British Railways logo on the large tender on the right, probably belonging to a ‘Castle’
A couple of cranes are prominent in this scene outside, with a Pannier Tank just creeping into view on the left. Other locomotives can be discerned within the dark recesses of the shed building behind.
In the background of this action shot, the Railway Centre’s coaling tower stands proud
In this view from the coaling stage, the engine shed and some of the track work are real, though much else has been added by the computer including the wall and trees on the left