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Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983)

Ian Richardson , Donald Churchill , Douglas Hickox  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Richardson, Donald Churchill, Denholm Elliott, Glynis Barber, Brian Blessed
  • Directors: Douglas Hickox
  • Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Edward Pogue
  • Producers: Alan Rosefielde, Eric Rattray, Otto Plaschkes, Sy Weintraub
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 1999
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305609330
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,122 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sherlock Holmes (Ian Richardson) faces a supernatural mystery when a distinguished but absent-minded doctor (Denholm Elliott) hires the legendary detective to investigate the murder of Sir Charles Baskerville. The doctor recounts the legend of Baskerville Hall, cursed for 350 years since Hugo Baskerville traded his soul to the devil. All Hugo's ancestors have met with unexplained deaths on the hall's moor. With Charles's heir, Sir Henry, due to arrive from America, Holmes sends Dr. Watson (Donald Churchill) to Baskerville to watch for danger. "The game's afoot," Holmes declares, as he sets upon the trail of the Baskerville killer in the sleuth's most heralded and baffling case.

Of all the Sherlock Holmes tales written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (one of the four novels) remains the best-known. Adding a dash of the supernatural to the Great Detective's adventures, it is certainly one of the most dramatic--and an obvious target for screen interpretation. Prior to Jeremy Brett's indelibly making the role his own to modern TV audiences, Ian Richardson made for a suitably incisive and enthusiastic Holmes in this enjoyable 1983 adaptation. The much-filmed tale finds Holmes and Watson drawn in to the mysterious curse afflicting the well-heeled Baskerville dynasty. Is a monster stalking the heir to the Baskerville fortune, or is the culprit a far from demonic force? As Holmes, Richardson is blessed with the avian features that, like Basil Rathbone's or Peter Cushing's, effectively capture Sidney Paget's original likeness. Though Holmes's more antisocial facets are dispensed with, Richardson is engaging in such a well-explored role, recalling the razor-sharp wit and intelligence of Rathbone. Attracting a distinguished British cast (Brian Blessed, Denholm Elliot, Martin Shaw) and decent production values (though with a few Hammer Horror moments), this will not disappoint fans of Victorian literature's finest detective, nor those in search of a classic, chilling thriller. --Danny Graydon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best May 17, 2003
With the exception of the cheesy merry-go-round dog attack at the beginning of this TV movie, this version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is superb. Ian Richardson plays Holmes with a flair that matches the great Jeremy Brett. It's a shame that Richardson's Holmes is only captured in one other occasion on film. ("The Sign of Four")
In contrast, it's also a shame that "Hound" is probably the most screen adapted literary work ever (there are at least 10 films) but there is no perfect definitive version. This is probably as close as we're going to get. This film, made in 1983, far outshines the 2000 BBC version with its horrid CGI dog and a Watson who is likely computer generated as well. Fans of the Jeremy Brett film may be surprised at the stellar cast of this one, featuring Denholm Elliott ("Raiders of the Lost Ark"), Eleanor Bron ("The House of Mirth"), Connie Booth ("Monty Python"), and noted actor Brian Blessed (you'll know him when you see him if you don't already). The film also features Ronald Lacey as probably the best Inspector Lestrade ever. (Lacey was also in "Raiders" and the Jeremy Brett version of "The Sign of Four".) Martin Shaw's spin as the Texan Sir Henry Baskerville surprisingly turns out to be more pleasant than not.
At times the film is on the gritty side. The scene with Sir Hugo chasing his servant's daughter for that evening's recreational rape is darker than one would expect, but precisely where it needs to be cinematically. When you consider realism, this "Hound" is unequalled.
Fans of Ian Richardson should also check him out in "Murder Rooms", a BBC series where he plays Dr. Joseph Bell - a real Victorian doctor universally recognized as Arthur Conan Doyle's inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes character.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Memorable July 6, 2002
This 1983 version of the Hound, with Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes, has rarely received the accolades it so richly deserves. While not the most faithful adaptation of the Conan Doyle classic, it is nevertheless sumptuously atmospheric. It features a truly menacing hound that more closely approximates the horror elicited by the novel's original than the veritable slew of disappointing hounds from several other film versions, the obvious exception being the equally terrifying Basil Rathbone hound. This TV movie's strengths stem from a variety of sources. First of all, Michael Lewis's engaging, memorable film score is exquisitely dynamic and resonates with excitement. Secondly, the production's choice of authentic Devonshire locales for outdoor filming, and effective use of sound stages to evoke the melancholy and dreary mystique of the moors at nighttime,imbues this stylish version with an appropriately gothic flavor. It stunningly depicts the eerie essence of the Grimpen Mire, replete with its miasma of swirling, amorphous ground mist, and compellingly involves the viewer in the visual ambience of its surroundings. The film's denouement, as Holmes pursues his villainous quarry through the mire's impenetrable sea of fog, is masterfully photographed and provides a highly dramatic and satisfying catharsis to an enjoyable film.
This is not to discount the film's few shortcomings. Certainly Richardson's Holmes, invariably prone to overtly amiable behavior, deviates from the disconcerting arrogance and brooding demeanor so brilliantly and faithfully rendered by Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett. This is not to negate Richardson's charismatic and magnetic presence, however, and he is a pleasure to watch. (Recently, he compellingly played Dr.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not totally spectacular version February 1, 2001
This version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic story featuring Sherlock Holmes offers a fun and solid take on the tale of the Great Detective and his investigation of a deadly family curse. Wonderfully photographed, the film makes great use of the dark settings of the moor. Ian Richardson leads the pack with a sly, puckish take on Sherlock Holmes. It is a wonderful performance that makes one wish that he had filmed more Holmes stories then he did. Denholm Elliott has his amusing moments as the local doctor with a case of absent-mindedness. Unfortunately, the actor playing the faithful Dr. Watson, seems to be too much the Cockney with his gravelly voice. It's frustrating since his character spends much of the time onscreen, while Holmes is offscreen thoughout the middle part of the film. Brian Blessed and Connie Booth (formerly married to John Cleese, and a sometime performer with Monty Python), do well in smaller roles. A decent film, but not the definitive version.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A near-perfect rendition of Doyle's Opus Magnus November 12, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Yes, this is clearly the finest 'Hound' available -- I've seen them all many times. I first viewed this movie on either HBO or Cinemax back in the early 80s and had searched for a copy ever since. I finally got my hands on the DVD last year and now I watch it over and over. Even my brother, a certified Rathbone purist who won't watch the late, great Jeremy Brett for a moment, loves this one.

For the uninitiated, the story is about an old family curse, originally perpetuated upon one very evil Sir Hugo Baskerville, who was ultimately slaughtered on the moor by a gigantic hound with glowing eyes. Subsequent to that day, the Baskervilles had always feared the moor where the legendary hound roamed at will, lusting for more Baskerville blood. When Sir Charles Baskerville, the most recent Laird of the Manor, appears to have died as a result of an encounter with the hound, Sherlock Holmes is called in by a family friend (Dr. Mortimer), in an effort to protect the young American heir to the estate, Sir Henry Baskerville.

After being shot at in London (saved by Holmes' quick action!) and otherwise warned to stay clear of the estate, Sir Henry boldly takes on the implied challenge and heads for the moor, but only Watson can go along to protect him because Holmes is otherwise occupied with another important case.

Watson and Sir Henry have some close calls and there is the secondary danger of an escaped heinous convict loosed upon the moor. A nasty, vengeful artist, a dour pair of domestic servants, and a decrepit old gypsy all serve to add to the the film's more suspenseful moments.

Holmes has to depend on Watson to keep him abreast of the situation with daily letters in order to solve the case of the elusive and dangerous hound.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It's definitely not as good as the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce film
It's definitely not as good as the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce film, but it wasn't bad. It was mostly fun to see Martin Shaw so young, and dressed as an American cowboy -- even... Read more
Published 2 days ago by NavyGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the hound
This is one of the best if not the best version of this Holmes story & I have seen them all.
Published 6 months ago by David W. Barsness
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, light drama & I like British movies.
I have the "Hound" with Peter Cushing &, although it's enjoyable, Ian Richardson is a little more realistic + "cloak & dagger". Read more
Published 12 months ago by moultrie1861
3.0 out of 5 stars Sluggish and dated
Put simply, this film has not aged very well. It seems trapped in the early 1980s when it was made. In particular, the character of Beryl Stapleton is a platinum blonde who looks... Read more
Published on March 7, 2012 by Enslowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Good take with a few drawbacks
I first watched this film when I was little and it scared me to bits! (Especially the scene where the great glowing dog comes running onto the cliff and pushes Selden off). Read more
Published on March 14, 2011 by Cambo
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Richardson version of The Hound of the Baskervilles
I highly recommend this 1983 version of the Sherlock Holmes mystery. Richardson suits the role of Holmes very well, bringing a confidence and intellectual flare to solving the... Read more
Published on February 11, 2011 by David S
2.0 out of 5 stars Monotype Baskerville
A disappointing movie: cliché-ridden directing, cardboard scenery, and acting that I feel is now dated, despite the presence of the great Ian Richardson and a young Martin... Read more
Published on March 18, 2010 by S. Van Gelder
5.0 out of 5 stars Changes to the story of HOUND but cinematically they are all very good
I think of all the HOUNDS I own, this one is cinematically the best. Of course it is not really fair to compare a film made in 1939 (Rathbone) with one made 40+ years later. Read more
Published on June 8, 2007 by DodgyUSA
4.0 out of 5 stars A great plot, a more humane Sherlock Holmes, and Grimpen Mire never...
The tale of The Hound of the Baskervilles has such sturdy bones that it's probably the most filmed of the Great Detective's cases. Let's see... Read more
Published on August 15, 2006 by C. O. DeRiemer
2.0 out of 5 stars warning
I made the mistake of watching this with my kids and family after church one Sunday. I had no idea there would be a rape scene! Read more
Published on March 20, 2004
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