The Hound of the Baskervilles 1959

Hammer Films were riding on a high when this film was made. Following on from The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy – both very good films and ones that did well worldwide and particularly in the USA.

 Peter Cushing starred as Sherlock Holmes with Andre Morrell another favourite of mine and I really don’t know why, along with Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville who is in mortal danger from the legendary hound.

 

Also cast was Ewen Solon, Miles Malleson and the great John Le Meseurier.

Miles Malleson appears as the local vicar who is an expert in spiders – this was a part written into the story for the film version only becuse it does not appear in the book at all.

The story opens with a sequence back in history which tells of the origins of The Hound of the Baskervilles when the wicked Sir Hugo brutally deals with his staff and particularly his women – one of whom refuses his advances and runs away. He pursues her with a pack of hunting hounds but they turn back in fear when they get into the marshes – there is obviously something that they don’t like.   Sir Hugo in his wild mood just carries on and attacks and kills the young woman – and at that point he hears the growl of a wild animal. He looks terrified and his end comes at that point although we do not see it.

See this excerpt in the Link below :-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VEbPcsIcJ_8

This was Hammer Films at their best almost -

Shortly after their brilliant adaptations of the classic tales of Frankenstein and Dracula,  British Hammer Studios decided to have their take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immortal detective Sherlock Holmes with “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1959). This turned out to be a splendid idea, as the Hammer formula works magnificently with Doyle’s work. Hammer once again teams up Horror’s greatest duo, Peter Cushing (as Sherlock Holmes) and Christopher Lee (as Sir Henry Baskerville).  In addition, the film features André Morell (who would also star in several other Hammer productions including “The Plague of the Zombies” of 1966) as Doctor Watson. Hammer’s trademark eerie Gothic atmosphere with foggy grounds, dark forests etc. fits the “Baskervilles” story like a glove.
The film begins truly creepy, with a prologue set in the early 18th century, when Sir Hugo Baskreville, a cruel nobleman who likes to play sadistic games with peasants, gets what he had coming when he makes the encounter of a mysterious beast. From then on, the wild, dog-like creature is known and feared as the ‘Hound of The Baskervilles’; according to a curse, this hound is supposed to return and kill any Baskerville who dares to enter the moorlands where Sir Hugo found his end… In the 1880s, the great detective Sherlock Holmes is told about the sudden and mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, a descendant of Sir Hugo.  Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to the Dartmoor in England  to investigate and to meet the new owner, Sir Henry Baskerville, who does not believe in what he considers to be ‘old wive’s tales’… at first…

The film does change the original story in some details, mainly by adding Horror elements that underline the Hammer-typical creepiness and Gothic atmosphere. Peter Cushing simply is the perfect choice to play Sherlock Holmes. This brilliant actor was fantastic in any role he played, of course, but that of the most famous detective in fiction is one of those that he is particularly predestined for. André Morell is great as Dr. Watson and Christopher Lee is, as always, good  in his role. Cushing and Lee truly were the ultimate duo in Horror cinema.  It is easy to see why Christopher Lee and the late Peter Cushing were best friends in real-life, when watching their ingenious work in any of the films they did together.   Directed by Hammer’s  Terence Fisher, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is another great example for Hammer’s glorious style of eerie yet beautiful settings, haunting atmosphere and suspenseful storytelling. The settings and photography are wonderful as in most classic Hammer tales, and the entire film is greatly crafted.

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