The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
The only Sherlock Holmes film starring both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Peter Cushing is perfect in the role as Sherlock and it's an refreshing change to see Lee in the role of the secondary protagonist instead of the antagonist. The colour is richly made and can still hold up nowadays in quality, for a hammer horror film it is probably one of the better ones.. The use of tension is very well done and subtle, and the film can actually frighten you at times.The plot (whilst believable) is also very confusing at times and the pacing can be slow to continue in some places, noticeably the middle where I think they sidetrack the main plot line a bit. Overall the film is an excellent edition to the collection of any major Hammer film fans, notable for it being the only Sherlock Holmes film made by Hammer and one of their first films in Technicolor.
When a nobleman (Christopher Lee) is threatened by a family curse on his newly inherited estate, detective Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) is hired to investigate."Baskervilles" may be the most familiar Holmes story, and is almost certainly the one that has seen the most film adaptations. This one, however, from Hammer and starring Cushing and Lee, is often considered the finest. I have not seen all the versions, so I cannot definitively say this is correct... but I find it very hard to believe it has ever been beaten.Cushing is not physically what I expect of Holmes, but he has that deep, calculating look that works so well. He is a threat to anyone with a secret. Lee is, of course, perfectly cast as a nobleman. Even when he did not play such roles, he carried himself in just such a way.Unfortunately, as of 2016 the best way to see (and own) this film is on blu-ray from Twilight Time. They have packed the disc with extras, but because of their license they have only printed 3000 copies and are charging a steep price for them. Surely a wider release would be appropriate for this title?
I read the book a long time ago so I don't particularly remember the details of the story. But I certainly the enjoyed the Hammer version very much. Here unlike other hammer movies, the violence is a little toned down and most of the events are implied rather than explicit. The movie is quite atmospheric and creepy for the most part. I loved the Gothic style and the scenery of the setting very much. And the women of course! Marla Landi is gorgeous as Cecile. Regarding Christopher Lee though - I am not sure he suits perfectly the character. When I saw him, I always thought there was something menacing about him. Maybe it is the Dracula hangover but still. But here he tries his best to appear calm and gentle. Peter cushing is perfect as Sherlock holmes, the wry humor and the quick deductions being the usual trademarks.The ending is pretty good as well, the buildup and the music doing the job. The one thing I can say about Hammer films is that they never try to extend the movie beyond what is necessary and it is always short and to the point. And they don't try to be pretentious either. There are some cheesy elements but for the most part it is an entertaining thriller. 7/10
An old production of the BBC, but quite feasible still today. Don't expect special effects of course but the story is told just nice and clean. In this story you have all that could be frightening for the Victorians at the end of the 19th century. A blood line that could get lost or rather spoiled by the unknown son of one of the heirs of a title. The heir himself is dead but the son is coming strong. Then a monster animal of the dog family. The English have always liked dogs, but they seem to be afraid of some of them. A howling dog on a moor is of course quite frightening at night with a little bit of fog. Then a couple of loose women who are ready to do too much for a certain price without asking too many questions. When one of them does then she is nicely tied up clean and tight. Then some faithful servants but with divided loyalties because of a relative that is not very clean and they want to protect. That will reveal the good heart of the aristocracy. Then a few locals, vaguely seen between, two curtains and two doors that add some local color to the screen. And finally know-it-all Sherlock Holmes whose fame isn't to know the criminal but to trap him into accepting his guilt and proving it all by himself. He always succeeds so no problem there again. The only question is the punishment of that criminal. Will the police be brought into the picture or will they not? Will he hang or will he die in a more refined way. You have to go and watch the film pr just read Sir Conan Doyle.Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID