You know, Rupert Everett could have taught both Elvis and Billy Idol something about the art of sneering.
I've just watched a Sherlock Holmes mystery on telly -- The Silk Stocking Murders, I believe -- and Everett was brilliant as a somewhat dissipated, haughty Holmes, barely tolerating in the beginning his capable, helpful, but plain, colleague Watson. The impatience is borne of a desire to be left alone in his vice -- to loll in morphine addiction.
But even in the guise of pasty and sallow poor health, Everett is still as enviable to other men, in his way, as any James Bond ever was. I've been a fan of his ever since I first saw Another Country. He casts an air of unquestioned superiority that doesn't alienate, but commands admiration... from a respectful distance. And, like Jeremy Irons in the Brideshead days, he makes a cigarette look like the most wonderful treat a man could ever want. (Only occasionally did cigarettes actually measure up to that vision.)
Gradually, as he's drawn into the case, Holmes' attitude toward Watson softens. He only becomes interested in the case when it appears interesting enough: beautiful society debutante, found strangled with a silk stocking, dressed in clothes that aren't her own.
As they move on, Holmes looks upon Watson as inconsequential but useful, then indispensable, and finally, as a warm friend. Watson suffers along, and appreciates the change, but it doesn't move him unduly. He's a steady sort.
Everett creates in his Holmes a sort of Harry Higgins-like character: despicable, unassailable in his superiority, but finally fond and likeable. Rex Harrison might have appreciated Everett's Sherlock Holmes. It adds a strange depth to the character I hadn't seen before.
The only problem is that now, I want a cigarette.