The Hound of the Baskervilles


Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller


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John Carradine as Barryman
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson
Richard Greene as Sir Henry Baskerville

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Righty-Sock ([email protected]) 7 / 10

The film that introduced Basil Rathbone in the part of Sherlock Holmes…

To select just one representative Sherlock Holmes film from the hundred or so made since Sherlock Holmes Baffled is a virtual impossibility, especially as no one actor (including such famous talents as John Barrymore, Clive Brook and Raymond Massey) has yet managed to successfully transfer the true Holmesian character to the screen… But if one has to be singled out probably the best choice would be the 1939 version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles," the most famous of all Conan Doyle's long novels and the film that introduced Basil Rathbone in the part of Sherlock Holmes…

Although no less a critic than Graham Greene found Rathbone unacceptable, complaining of his good humor and general air of refreshing health, the tall, thin British born actor is still the man most people associate with the role… He played in 14 Holmes movies between 1939 and 1946, two "A" productions and twelve double features…

Set in the correct period, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" follows Conan Doyle closely including only one scene, a séance, not in the original story… Its opening sequence on a deserted moor with a man running in terror from the unseen beast and its climax with Holmes going out alone into the foggy night to track down the "Hell Hound" really catches the suspense and mystery of Conan Doyle's story…

The film is most impressive when it convincingly sketches in the streets and fashions of Edwardian London, a remarkable achievement when one considers that recreation of London and English settings has not been one of Hollywood's strongest points over the years…

The final curtain line makes it difficult to believe that the film was made in 1939 with all the restrictions and censorship of that period… References to Holmes' drug taking have rarely if ever been made in Holmes movies but in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" the great detective stalks out of the room calling to his ever faithful companion, "The needle, Watson, the needle."

Reviewed by tamstrat 9 / 10

The best version of a classic novel

I am a huge fan of all the Rathbone/Bruce movies, but this is the best of them all. The atmosphere and lighting casts the perfect mood for the dark, creepy moor where strange goings on interest Holmes and Watson to help the young heir of Baskerville Hall. All the actors do an excellent job, and the movie, filmed some 60 years go does not seem dated. The writing, directing, acting, etc all stand up, even now, some years later. I also liked the 1959 Hammer Version of this story, but Peter Cushing is not the perfect Sherlock Holmes. Basil Rathbone is the definitive Holmes as Nigel Bruce is the perfect Dr. Watson. Watch this sometime soon and enjoy!!!

Reviewed by Evan Cyran ([email protected]) 10 / 10

Rathbone's Introduction to the Ultimate Sherlock Holmes!!!

1939 was a great year for Basil Rathbone. Not only did he star in Son of Frankenstein, but he began his string of Sherlock Holmes flicks that even now are as popular as ever. For anyone who enjoys mystery, suspense, good vs evil, or just a fun, intelligent film, The Hound of the Baskervilles is definitely worth a serious look. The film stands out for many reasons. One of them is the classical atmosphere and its mysterious feel. The characters are all excellent and make great suspects in the case (especially John Carradine as the butler). Another thing is that this is one of only two Holmes films that are placed in the Victorian time period, giving it a truly natural feel (the way that Doyle intended). This is before Sherlock Holmes became the victim of anti-Nazi propaganda just like everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I love all of the films for some different and some similar reasons. I just wish that there were a few more from the Victorian period that's all. Anyway, in this film Rathbone is brilliant as Holmes. He is full of life and seems genuinely intrigued and excited in his portrayal. Nigel Bruce is also very good as a competent Dr. Watson (before the funnier but less competent version was invented shortly thereafter). The movie is the most true to its original source (Doyle's novel) as well. I think that its also more of a movie in itself rather than a "Sherlock Holmes" movie, which accounts for Rathbone being credited second under the charming leading man. Finally this movie contains the only joke-like reference to the famous detective's implied cocaine use. To fans of Holmes, Rathbone, mystery/suspense, good acting, and great films I say this: Check out this series starting with this movie!! Oh, and "Watson, the needle".

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