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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Approved | | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 31 March 1939 (USA)
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.

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(screenplay), (novel) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Barlowe Borland ...
Beryl Mercer ...
Morton Lowry ...
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Lionel Pape ...
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Convict (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mary Gordon ...
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Storyline

On his uncle's death Sir Henry Baskerville returns from abroad and opens up the ancestral hall on the desolate moors of Devonshire. Holmes uncovers a plot to have Sir Henry murdered by a terrible trained hound. First casting of Rathbone and Bruce as Holmes and Watson. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

31 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baskervilles hund  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original title "The Hound of the Baskervilles" refers to a dog that terrorizes a family called "Baskerville". The German title "Der Hund Von Baskerville", a mistranslation, refers to a hound, which just lives in "Baskerville", a town, that does not play a role in the story. See more »

Goofs

In opening minutes, Watson is talking about the need for newspaper "clippings" he's doing. But in England they are referred to as "cuttings." See more »

Quotes

Dr. Watson: Then, why are we rushing up to London, leaving Sir Henry entirely alone and unprotected?
Sherlock Holmes: We're not, my dear Watson. We're just giving the impression of rushing up to London.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet: The Barking Dog (1961) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Game's Afoot
8 July 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

The world's most famous amateur detective tracks THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, a notorious demonic fiend intent on destroying the last descendent of an ancient family.

20th Century Fox brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tale to vivid life in this excellent mystery thriller. Whether the setting is Baker Street's cozy study, the foggy lanes of London, or Dartmoor's moody wastes, the concise direction and superior production values transports the viewer into the world of Queen Victoria's 1880's. Sir Arthur's original story is altered somewhat to meet the requirements of the cinema, abbreviated in spots and fleshed-out in others, but this happens to nearly all literature when translated to the screen and does not diminish the enjoyment a whit.

This was the first of what was to become fourteen films, the only American-made movie series based on Holmes' adventures. Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson would become forever identified with the roles and they were perfect: Rathbone with his aquiline features and haughty aristocratic mien, the absolute embodiment of a supreme intelligence; and Bruce, bumbling & pudgy, but intensely loyal and good-natured (and also cognizant of the fact that a little comic relief would help him hold his own in scenes with Rathbone).

Richard Greene, who actually receives screen credit above that of Rathbone, makes a stalwart young hero--the returning heir whose life is placed in danger by the devilish Hound. The rest of the cast is also most proficient, especially sinister actors Lionel Atwill & John Carradine (as the Baskerville lawyer & butler, respectively). Beryl Mercer plays Atwill's spooky little spouse and Eily Malyon, as Carradine's wife, is quite effective as a woman with secrets to hide.

Pretty Wendy Barrie, and Morton Lowry as her naturalist brother, portray Baskerville's neighbors on the moor, while old Barlowe Boyland provides some humorous moments as a highly litigious rascal.

Smaller roles are equally well filled: Mary Gordon is perfectly cast as a grandmotherly Mrs. Hudson; E.E. Clive as a London cabby with surprising information; gaunt silent screen actor Nigel De Brulier as a fugitive convict; and, in a flashback, Ralph Forbes as the infamous Sir Hugo, the first Baskerville to meet the Hound.

The climactic attack by the implacable Hound is presented with real menace & suspense and the satisfied viewer is left ready for the next film in the series which would be THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1939).


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