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Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles

4.0 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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(Oct 12, 1999)
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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

Special Features


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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 1999
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305609330
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,774 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
First, of the 6 'hounds' I have on DVD, this is the only one that seriously attempts to remain true to the novel. Yes, Hickok brings in the character of Lyons (Brian Blessed), the husband, who appears only by reference in the novel. But that character is not only interesting, but consistent with Conan Doyle's intent. Churchill is not the most interesting Watson (there are Burke and Hardwicke, of course) but he had played Watson on BBC in many of the short stories, and he is consistent and believable. In particular, his reaction to being tricked by Holmes is very believable. Richardson, who many might think too acidulous for the role, turns in a stellar performance, unfortunately limited by the nature of the novel (as all Holmes' fans know, this story was not intended originally for Sherlock Holmes; that is why he appears so little). Of the two Holmes films Richardson made, this is the one to have. Martin Shaw as Sir Henry is brilliant, not so much in himself, as by reference to all the nincompoops who have been cast in the role (including the BBC Jeremy Brett film). The minor roles (Denholm Elliott, Connie Booth, Nicholas Clay--known to most Holmes' fanciers as the doctor in 'resident patient', and, above all, Ronald Lacey as Lestrade) are very, very well-taken. So it is all great? Does it really deserve 5 stars?

There are two 'semi-obligatory musical interludes' (as Ebert used to say), not long, and not in slow-mo but still oppressive (the first meeting of Stapleton's wife-sister and Sir Henry, the second with Sir Henry, Beryl, and the 'Gypsy'). Perhaps one or two other times, the music becomes pre-adolescent. Color photography does not do Conan Doyle any favors, but I become use to it as I watch. And, actually, the color is handled very well (this is not a Hammer production).
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