The Hound of the Baskervilles 1959 – revisited

 
 
 
Hammer is known primarily for its horror output  so The Hound of the Baskervilles is something a little different. The action mainly takes place on Dartmoor, in the South West of England  — so it’s not as divergent from Hammer’s usual product as all that, but it lacks any supernatural elements.
The Hound of the Baskervilles has been filmed many times. but in this  film we have Peter Cushing and André Morell as Holmes and Dr.Watson.
 
Peter Cushing makes a really excellent Sherlock Holmes, and he went on to play the character many times afterwards on BBC Television where he did another VERY good version of this same story but this time with Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson.  André Morell acquits himself very well as Dr. Watson, something that’s absolutely essential in The Hound of the Baskervilles because Holmes is offscreen for virtually half of the picture.
Morell’s depiction of Watson dispenses with the lovable buffoonery that marks Nigel Bruce’s portrayals of the character and is more in line with Conan Doyles original. Watson  after all is a decorated war veteran and, while he may not be as gifted intellectually as Holmes, is a doctor of medicine and partner to the great detective.
 In this film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, we get a prologue set well into the past, where Sir Hugo Baskerville holds a wild party in which murder and rape are on the menu. This actually I thought set the scene well for the telling of the story and in a way made it make sense.
Christopher Lee — looking tanned, handsome and very aristocratic — plays Sir Henry Baskerville, the latest heir to the Baskerville manor and fortune. While he’s unfailingly polite and gentlemanly, he finds himself romantically drawn to the  young Spanish girl who is the daughter of one of his neighbours.
The Hammer Film approach to the climax is very well staged and the Hound when we see it is quite scary.
 The Hound of the Baskervilles 1959 gives us a rare chance to see  Christopher Lee playing a good-guy role, wirh Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes. The stage-bound, colourful sets are an added treat.

 

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