Monday, July 26, 2010

1959 - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Hammer does right by Conan Doyle's famous character

Cheapskate horror studios Hammer, brought out their version of The Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and did a pretty decent job with this famous story.

Hammer reworked the story and got the film down to a solid 90 minutes.  The screenwriter Peter Bryan and the director Terrance Fisher also solved a major problem of the book.  The lack of involvement of Sherlock Holmes in the actual case.  Doyle's book is essentially a series of letters to Sherlock Holmes about what is going on in the Grim Mire home to Baskerville Hall.  Sherlock Holmes doesn't even show up until around the end of the novel.  The filmmakers changed this and have invented some new scenes to get Holmes into the plot early and have him more involved.

Their other bit of cleverness was having Peter Cushing play Sherlock as he was written by Conan Doyle.  Cushing's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes has him  as the insufferable "know it all" that he comes across in the book. 

This is still a Hammer film so it's a little lurid at times and the color is pretty garish the way Hammer always like it.  Still this in one of the better Sherlock Holmes films that actually gets it right for a change and this Sherlock Holmes is closer to the spirit of Conan Doyle's legendary character.

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