Hound of the Baskervilles, The (1959)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), directed by Terence Fisher.

When a family curse involving a giant devil dog kills a country squire, Sherlock Holmes is inclined to be skeptical. He changes his mind when a boot belonging to the last of the Baskervilles is stolen from his hotel. He comes to suspect vast evil is at work and Sir Henry is in mortal danger.

Made twenty years after Fox's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) this lush Hammer Films edition is fun without being particularly inspired. The atmosphere is good but they could have played up the thriller elements much more: "forbear from crossing the moor in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted".

They don't even use the famous lines:


"But one false statement was made by Barrymore at the inquest. He said that there were no traces upon the ground round the body. He did not observe any. But I did -- some little distance off, but fresh and clear".



"A man's or a woman's?"

Dr. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant, and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered: --

"Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!"

The bright spots are:

The Hound is shown briefly at the end and is a letdown, a Great Dane with some headgear. Lee said it did maul him.

Which reminds me: during the legend opening when Sir Hugo looses the hounds on his escaped wench, those are foxhounds, like long-legged always happy beagles. They might have tripped her up and swarmed her wanting to be petted, no worse.

Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time with two enthusiastic commentary tracks.