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Der Hund von Baskerville (1914)

 |  Crime, Mystery, Horror  |  March 1915 (USA)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 31 users  
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In this early version the classic "Hound of the Baskervilles" mystery is faithfully adapted, although Watson's character is absent. Holmes' foe is called Stapleton and he menaces Holmes' client Lord Henry and his fiancée, Laura Lyons.

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Title: Der Hund von Baskerville (1914)

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Cast overview:
Alwin Neuß ...
Friedrich Kühne ...
Hanni Weisse ...
Erwin Fichtner ...
Andreas Van Horn ...
Barrymore - Kammerdiener
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In this early version the classic "Hound of the Baskervilles" mystery is faithfully adapted, although Watson's character is absent. Holmes' foe is called Stapleton and he menaces Holmes' client Lord Henry and his fiancée, Laura Lyons.

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Crime | Mystery | Horror

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March 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hound of the Baskervilles  »

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(2005 reconstruction)

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1.33 : 1
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A hound without bite
11 April 2011 | by (Syracuse, NY) – See all my reviews

This first feature length film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes' most famous adventure could almost pass as a parody of the Arthur Conan Doyle story.

The scheming Stapleton, who covets the Baskervilles estate and seeks the life of its new heir, Sir Henry, is revealed as the villain right from the first. The hound-a big, friendly spotted mutt-is about as menacing as Scooby-Doo-and is seen ferociously licking the face of his first victim. When Sir Henry writes to Sherlock Holmes to ask his help in solving the mysterious goings on, Stapleton-tall and lanky-tries to hide behind the small mailbox and grab the letter when the loyal butler Barrymore comes to mail it. When that fails, Stapleton blows up the mailbox! However, knowing that Sir Henry is expecting Holmes, Stapleton disguises himself as the famous detective and shows up at Baskerville Hall (The fake Holmes and the real Holmes are sometimes played by the same actor)

Meanwhile the real Holmes reads an article in the newspaper that tells how Sherlock Holmes is investigating the Hound of the Baskervilles legend. After consulting with Watson (who disappears from the picture after his one brief scene), Holmes secretly scouts around the Baskerville estate to see what's going on. Stapleton makes several attempts on Sir Henry's life but Holmes foils them all, depending more on his trusty revolver than any powers of deduction: he shoots the fuse off a bomb planted in a chandelier and later shatters a glass of poisoned wine held in Sir Henry's hand. Ultimately, he plugs the poor old Hound himself after Stapleton traps him in the beast's underground lair. At the end, Holmes disguises himself as Stapleton and confronts the villain (still disguised as Holmes) in a particularly laughable finale which includes some assistance from Barrymore wearing a suit of armor!

The great Karl Freund's careful compositions and camera-work are the film's only saving graces. There's a particularly nice long shot on a hillside, done in silhouette, showing Stapleton letting the Hound loose. Critics at the time decried the film's lack of adherence to the book but it was a big hit and spawned a whole series of semi-sequels in which Stapleton functions as a kind of Professor Moriarty, plotting against Holmes and still trying to do in Sir Henry.


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