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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959)

Starring Peter Cushing, Andre Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, David Oxley
Directed by Terence Fisher
(actor & director credits courtesy

Sherlock Holmes is engaged to protect the life of Sir Henry Baskerville and investigate the mystery behind the ghostly hound that haunts his ancestral estate.

Hammer Films reunites their horror stars Cushing and Lee and director Fisher for this adaptation of the classic novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Cushing is marvelous as Holmes, playing him as a more brusque and easily bored individual than in previous adaptations, while Lee for a change provides the romantic lead in the character of Sir Henry.  It's also among the more exciting adaptations, beginning with a flashback to the barbarism of Hugo Baskerville and his relentless chase of an innocent young maiden, and highlighted by a number of dramatic conflicts.  Although the novel provides the bulk of what's on screen, Hammer clearly tries to capitalize on their past horror successes by reusing some of James Bernard's score for Horror of Dracula and adding references to evil and the powers of darkness in Cushing's dialogue.  I prefer the 1939 version with Basil Rathbone for its eerie tone and well-paced suspense, but this is one of Hammer's better productions featuring a classic character Cushing was born to play.

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