The Hound of the Baskervilles Film Details
Overview: Sherlock Holmes comes to the aid of his friend Henry Baskerville, who is under a family curse and menaced by a demonic dog that prowls the bogs near his estate and murders people.
Tagline: Holmes and Watson’s most chilling case… an age-old curse… a ravenous monster…
Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles starts on a dark cold night, Sir Charles Baskerville (David Langton) is standing outside his huge manor house overlooking the Devonshire moors. He hears what sounds like howling over the ominous claps of thunder, he retreats into his gazebo but is attacked by a ferocious Hound. Sir Charles servants Mr (Edward Judd) & Mrs Barrymore (Eleanor Bron) hear his terrified screams & discover his dead body soon after. Dr. Mortimer (Denholm Elliott) discusses a manuscript dated from 1742 with Sherlock Holmes (Ian Richardson) which talks about a Hound of hell which curses the Baskerville family. Mortimer convinces Holmes to talk to Henry Baskerville (Martin Shaw), Sir Carles nephew & heir who is arriving from America, & give him some advice. Holmes agrees but worrying incidents being to happen, Henry receives a threatening letter & an attempt is made on his life by a mysterious man with a black beard who calls himself Sherlock Holmes. Henry plans to investigate & find out whats going on & decides to travel to the manor house. Holmes is busy on another case for at least a week so he sends Dr. Watson (Donald Churchill) to monitor the situation & keep him informed by post. When they arrive they discover that Inspector Lestrade (Ronald Lacey) from Scotland Yard is heading a manhunt for an escaped convict named Selden (Peter Rutherford) dubbed the ‘Notting Hill murderer’. They also run into various other locals who all seem to have had a grudge against the Baskerville family, maybe in fact it wasn’t a Hound of hell that killed Sir Charles but something or someone a lot more real… This made for T.V. adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous novel was directed by Douglas Hickox & is a fantastic murder mystery that I enjoyed immensely on many levels. There are two things I must say at this point, firstly I will openly admit I’ve never read the literary source, & secondly I’ve never seen any other filmed adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I don’t have a clue how closely Charles Edward Pogue’s script follows the novel & to be honest I don’t really care as I thought this was a cracking film in it’s own right. Very few people die, the Hound is used sparingly & it’s quite long but I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It has strong characters even if Watson does come off as a bit of a goofish idiot on too many occasions, a great story which I was ‘cold’ to as it were & a real ability to draw me into the Sherlock Holmes world of mystery & intrigue. It’s consistently interesting as there is barely a scene which goes by without some sort of clue or a potential suspect incriminating themselves & there were a few surprises as well that I didn’t see coming but obviously I can’t mention them & spoil it. Oh, & no I didn’t guess the eventual outcome either which obviously helped. Another aspect of The Hound of the Baskervilles which surprised me was the production values which belie their T.V. budget limitations & origins. This particular Holmes was shot on location in Devon at Knightshayes Court, a splendid location it is too, the interior of the manor & the exterior moor shots give the film a wonderful look & feel. Some of the nighttime fog enshrouded marsh shots obviously take place in a studio but this gives these scenes another different type of atmosphere as things can be controlled more easily, director Hickox films these scenes with a blue hue throughout. I also thought technically The Hound of the Baskervilles is top notch as well, photography, costumes, editing, direction, the orchestral music score & the acting by the strong British cast which includes Glynis Barber, Brian Blessed, Connie Booth & Eric Richard is, as you would expect, solid throughout. I’m not sure how this version compares to any other, but as a stand alone murder mystery that was a first time watch for me I throughly enjoyed it. The one downside is that for me it has no repeat value as now I know the outcome that’s it, it’s not a surprise anymore is it? If you can watch it on T.V. for free or rent it, I don’t think it’s worth a purchase for the reason I’ve stated, then I highly recommend this version of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
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