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Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Hound Of The Baskervilles

The most celebrated tale of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is set in the Victorian Age and was originally released by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1939. It is the first of fourteen Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

When Sir Charles Baskerville is killed outside of Baskerville Hall, his good friend Dr. Mortimer (Lionel Atwill) fears that the curse of the Baskervilles has struck once again. Mortimer enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), before yet another Baskerville can succumb to the evil legend.

Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene) arrives in London to claim his inheritance. Mortimer takes Sir Henry to 221b Baker Street and expresses his fear for Sir Henry’s life. Baskerville soon learns that along with the grand mansion on the moor, comes a devilish curse, a curious butler (John Carradine) and a cast of bizarre neighbors.

Holmes, pressed with "other business," sends Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) to accompany Sir Henry to the dreary moor to protect the young Baskerville from the legend of the wicked hound. Of course, with danger afoot, Sherlock Holmes may not be so far from the scene as is assumed.

Special Features
-Audio Commentary with David Stuart Davies
-Selected Theatrical Trailers
-Production Notes By Richard Valley
-Photo Gallery
Run Time - 80 minutes

Amazon.com

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce star in this 1939 adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's frequently filmed novel, and the result is one of the most atmospheric and purely enjoyable versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Except for minor changes, the script is true to Doyle's enthralling mystery about a centuries-long curse against heirs to the Baskerville estate, situated within the haunting and deadly Dartmoor in the southwest of England. With the arrival of a new master, Canadian Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene), Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Bruce) are called upon to solve the strange case of the "gigantic hound" that may be readying to savage the poor fellow. Wonderful sets, crisp performances, and Rathbone's accessible but no-nonsense take on the Great Detective make this a real delight. Typical of the 20th Century Fox Holmes pictures, there's an in-joke, a final line of censor-defying dialogue alluding to Holmes's little problem with cocaine. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill
  • Directors: Sidney Lanfield
  • Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle, Ernest Pascal
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Gene Markey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001DCYBE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,526 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By E. Hornaday on March 12, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With the release of this feature and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," all 14 classic films by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce will have finally been released in a quality DVD format. The UCLA Theatre Archives has done an outstanding job in restoring and thus preserving these great films from 35mm master copies into the digital format, sometimes literally being forced to piece together the celluloid remnants they found. It took the archivists years to complete the entire project, but is well worth the wait. The result is that the black and white images seem as fresh today as when the films were released to theatres more than 40 years ago. The archivists deserve a hearty thanks from all movie fans concerned with preserving America's classic cinema heritage for future generations to enjoy.
Atmospherically, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is arguably the best of the 14 Holmes films, and the only one based specifically on a Conan Doyle story. It, and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," are the only two "period" films in the series and run longer, the remainder taking place in then modern-day England and America of the late 30s and early 40s and run about 90 minutes each. In both "Hound" and "Adventures," Holmes dons his deerstalker cap, popularized by original Strand Magazine illustrator Sidney Paget who made the image synonymous with the great detective. It is interesting to note that in the first of the non-period films in the series, Holmes reaches for his handy deerstalker, but is stopped by Watson. "Holmes," Watson said, "you promised." Leaving the deerstalker on the peg, Holmes grabs a "modern" hat instead.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Hadley on February 15, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's perhaps surprising that "Hound of the Baskervilles" has become the single most well-known Sherlock Holmes story. True, like many of the short stories, it takes Holmes and Watson away from their digs in London and out to an ancient familial estate. But it has two elements that make it distinct from nearly every other of the original stories: it has a distinct supernatural element, and Holmes himself is absent for a sizeable portion of the narrative.No doubt Fox chose to adapt this story for its popularity as much as anything else, but the supernatural element was certainly a factor in its favor. One of the great selling points of the film is its recreation of the ghostly moors, even with studio sets. And it's only natural that Fox wanted to cover up Holmes' absence as much as possible, by creating what really hadn't been seen before on film: a convincing and engaging Holmes/Watson dichotomy.

Rathbone and Bruce make this film. Whether you like or dislike their individual interpretations, you've got to admit they work well together. And it's a testament to Nigel Bruce's ability as an actor, bumbler or no, that he can carry the film for those twenty or thirty minutes when Sherlock Holmes is completely absent. Richard Greene gets top billing, sure, but this is the first time a Holmes and Watson team completely outshine everything else in the production.

Some reviews take great pains to point out what Fox changed about this story. But in reality, this is probably the most straightforward "Hound" ever made. Most of the changes are made for simple brevity, stripping away the subplots and leaving the core.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Flipper Campbell VINE VOICE on June 9, 2004
Format: DVD
Many actors have tried, but none has surpassed Basil Rathbone's embodiment of Sherlock Holmes. The razor-sharp profile, hawk nose and cocaine eyes seem torn straight from the pages of Arthur Conan Doyle. This is, undeniably, one of the great pairings of actor and character in film history.
Odd to think, then, that the first Holmes film with Rathbone and his faithful Dr. Watson, Nigel Bruce, gave neither man starring credit. That honor on "The Hound of the Baskervilles" went to the romantic leading man, Richard Greene.
The lapse in logic was quickly corrected, with Rathbone and Bruce going on to top-bill 13 famed Holmes movies from 1939-46.
The UCLA Film and TV Archive has rescued the films from public domain hell, in a restoration that aims to return them to 35mm theatrical condition using original elements and acetate copies. The results as seen on MPI's DVDs are indeed impressive, with shadows and light elegant and edgy. Wear is within reason, and the audio suffices.
Film historians' commentaries have been added to some of the feature films, explaining, for instance, just how the 19th century detectives ended up battling Nazis in WWII.
The MPI collection -- whose titles are available separately and in sets -- started rolling out in the fall. The series concludes at the beginning, with "Baskervilles" and "Adventures," both made by Fox before Universal took over and "modernized" the Doyle stories. The Uni films have their moments -- "Woman in Green," for example, is grand and grisly entertainment -- but there's no topping these initial releases, set in Victorian times.
"Baskervilles" remains one of the most famous and fondly remembered Holmes films, but it is largely Dr. Watson's tale.
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