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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 January 2007
Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous Sherlock Holmes story, Terence Fisher's film of The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the very best attempts to immortalise the Great Detective on film. The movie has several things in its favour, notably a director at the top of his game, teamed yet again with the initial Bray crew who made Hammer's initial run of gothic fantasies so memorable; in particular Jack Asher's cinematography deserves special praise. The cast, too, is almost flawless; in terms of faithfulness to the literary source, the Holmes and Watson team of Peter Cushing and Andre Morell is second only to the Jeremy Brett / David Burke pairing of the Granada TV series, twenty-five years later. The supporting performances are respectable, with such British cinema stalwarts as John Le Mesurier, Miles Malleson, and Francis DeWolff giving their usual accomplished turns, and David Oxley memorably evil as the depraved Sir Hugo Baskerville. The film doesn't quite follow the source novel, subtracting several characters and beefing up the roles of others, but as this is one of the most-adapted stories in TV and film history that is hardly a bad thing; this 1959 adaptation is easily the most enjoyable, being more action-packed than either the 1939 Basil Rathbone version or the 1988 Brett TV movie, whilst still building up a memorable atmosphere of menace and dread, aided by James Bernard's typically doom-laden score.
The only real flaw in the film (and this is perhaps a controversial opinion) is the casting of Christopher Lee as the victimised Sir Henry Baskerville. Lee is, of course, typically professional in the role, and there is nothing technically wrong with his performance; but after viewing his more forceful performances opposite Cushing in other, more even-handed movies, made both before and after this one, it is a little hard to accept him as a physically weak, mild-mannered aristocrat who is constantly in awe of Cushing's dynamic Holmes. The fact that he towers above both Cushing and Morell, supposedly his bodyguards, doesn't help either; surely an actor who would have been a better fit for the role would have been Francis Matthews, Cushing's young co-star in the previous year's The Revenge of Frankenstein.
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on 18 March 2004
It would be easy to dismiss this film as 'a classic Hammer' a term which is slightly double edged - but this film is a classic in every sense, and resoundingly British. The set designs are amazing, with Baker Street and Baskerville Hall being evocatively recreated. The mix between location shooting and the set of the moors is seamless and most unobtrusive. Terence Fisher's direction is again proven to be peerless - not indulging in any unnecessary movements or bizarre angles (compare and contrast to the Corman films), but a meticulous accumulation of detail - quite in keeping with Holmes and particularly Cushing's performance.
With one of the greatest British film actors in the form of Cushing, and one of cinema's enduring icons in the form of Lee, this film was always ensured a cult following. But in this instance, much more wider appreciation is needed. Cushing performance is the very embodiment of Conan-Doyle's prose writing, Lee, playing against type gives one of his greatest early performances. Andre Morell again throws new light on Watson - not a bumbling Nigel Bruce figure, but as Conan-Doyle wrote him, a highly intelligent competant military surgeon who unfortunately has to spout questions to keep the audience informed about Holmes' motivation.
However, one constant criticism of the film has been the fact that the Hound is not entirely convincing. This is true, but in the context of the film, it is entirely appropriate, thus negating all of the criticism.
Alongside 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes', this must be the greatest Conan-Doyle adaptation, and one that richly deserves to be re-discovered. This DVD is a bit scant - only a trailer for extras, but nonetheless, the film itself is a true great.
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Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are requested to keep an eye on Sir Henry Baskerville, who has inherited an estate out on Dartmoor. With this estate comes danger as his family is known to be threatened by a wild dog that stalks the Moor.

Holmes in colour for the first time as Hammer give it the full blown costume drama pizazz. Great production as Peter Cushing {Holmes}, Andre Morell {Watson} and Christopher Lee {Baskerville} act it out with considerable aplomb. Cushing and Morell are particularly effective, Cushing's Holmes is sprightly and never staid, while Morell's Watson is resourceful and a bona fide detective sidekick to the intrepid Holmes. The supporting cast is also filled out with quality British talent, John le Mesurier, Miles Malleson and Francis de Wolfe are involving and integral to the story. Whilst it wouldn't be a Hammer film without the obligatory heaving bosom, which here comes in the form of Marla Landi.

The deviation from the source novel may offend some purists, but it works and is actually a pleasant surprise. Hammer were clearly intent on breathing a new life into Sherlock Holmes, and they did so, thus paving the way for the element of surprise. Still holding up well after all these years this is still an essential viewing in the pantheon of Sherlock Holmes adaptations. 7/10
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on 30 August 2015
What I like about these old films is the surrounding and the atmosphere. Much more than the plot and the direction, resulting to be quite simple. I might have expected a little more suggestive and mysterious plot and situations, but it is ok to watch it once
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on 7 March 2012
The Hounds of the Baskervilles (or "Le Chien des Baskervilles" as it is known as in France) was the first Hammer production I have ever seen. I must have been 15-16, it was one of the late showings on TV, and as usual I must have tiptoed out of my room to watch it. As you can imagine, the film made a great impression so I was very afraid of being disappointed when I revisited it 25 years later. I am pleased to say that this masterpiece has not aged a bit. More than a detective story, less than a horror picture the way Hammer does them usually, it is fair to say that "Hound" is a "gothic thriller". It is more nervous, scarier than your usual whodunnit, while remaining within the bounds of something one can watch with the family. It is really a shame that Hammer did not pursue more in this direction since it is very successful. All the usual cast and crew of Hammer were called for this picture and they show their ability to succeed outside the genre it is too often associated with. Cushing is extremely interesting and muscular as Holmes, Lee gets to play a romantic lead, and his impersonation of a degenerate aristocrat gives nothing away, Terence Fisher shows his usual class and virtuosity behind the camera, and the colour and mood of the Moors are overall fantastic. So well done Jack Asher (DOP "in chief" at Hammer at that time) and Bernard Robinson (heavenly set designer) to make this movie so atmospheric and so successful. Without giving anything away, the only disappointment will be the Hound of the title but who cares? This was Hammer at its best, only example of a direction that was never taken. Enjoy this then - preferably in the zone 1 version including a very moving interview of Christopher Lee, reminiscing in particular his old mate Peter Cushing. Not to be missed.
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on 27 July 2012
Though this is one of my favorite film adaptations of the Holmes story and Cushing and Lee are great (5 stars for them) I was misled into buying this on the basis of the description provided by Amazon that this DVD was "Aspect Ratio 1.85:1; Full-Frame Widescreen 16x9". Now granted, that description seems contradictory: it can be either full-frame or 16x9, not both. The listing of the film's aspect ratio tipped the balance for me and caused me to believe it would be an anamorphic transfer but alas, it is the same 4:3 letterboxed DVD as its Region 1 counterpart. So sad. Please remove the misleading details so no one else is similarly tripped up.
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on 22 March 2004
Ok, so this '59 edition of the classic A.C.Dole story isn't a perfect page-to-screen adaptation, but in my opinion makes for a better movie for it!!! This movie has everything to keep you interested time and time again - wonderful cast including the hammer duo Peter Cushing (Holmes) and Christopher Lee (Baskerville), a solid story full of plot twists and suspense, a great murder mystery which unfolds very well. If your new to hammer productions, or just new to this kind of film, I'd certain recommend a night in with this classic. A must for any self respecting movie fan.
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on 17 May 2014
One of my fondest memories, as a child in the 1970's, was staying up late on a Friday night, with my family, to watch the horror double-bill. This usually consisted of an old b&w Universal film and a colour Hammer film. Great times sadly gone.

I love this version of The Hound Of The Baskervilles (along with the Basil Rathbone one). I find it sad that critics always deride Hammer movies. Some were awful admittedly, but when they were good they couldn't be beaten. I'm still waiting for a superior interpretation of Dracula!

I've removed one star for the quality of the picture and sound. They haven't remastered either and it suffers for it. There is still a lot of dirt/scratches on the print and the sound is very quiet. If you increase the volume too much the sound becomes distorted.

Hopefully, one day, these old movies will be treated with the respect they truly deserve and a remastered edition will be made available.

So, turn off your mobile phone (the scourge of the modern age), pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, sit back and soak up the chilling ambience of a classic Hammer movie. Better than all that CGI nonsense currently playing at your local multiplex!
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on 16 August 2016
One of Peter Cushings best, Jeremy Brett was for me the best Holmes ever but Cushing gave a fine performance of the master detective. This is a brilliant story, well acted, Cushing and Lee are a class double act.
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on 12 October 2015
A big fan of Peter Cushing and have seen this before---but well worth another look at this classic.It is very dated but you cant miss Cushing and Lee together in such a great film and I should think most people know the story.It is such a pity that we have lost these two giants but no-one goes on for ever,we know.
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