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The Hound of the Baskervilles
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Index 87 reviews in total 

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

an old favorite...creative and unusual stories...

10/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
25 April 2011

Remember watching this at grandmother's house, along with other mysteries. This film is often shown during the holidays on TCM and last Christmas (along with the new Sherlock Holmes release with Robert Downey, Jr.) was a festival on TCM classics. Introduced by Ben Mankiewicz.

Excellent film complete with dark foggy moors, moor ponies getting trapped on the heath, a savage beast-dog and John Carradine as a very sinister houseman.

Holmes shows up at the Devonshire estate after Watson has already been received as a guest. There is a wonderful scene where he pretends to be a denizen of the moor, and an old, odd transient man, wandering the heath. Trying to peddle his zither and fuss-el(dog whistle) Basil Rathbone was such a talented character actor. It is a shame we don't really have anyone of his caliber, perhaps in theater , yes, but not film. Films like this are a gem and worth buying the collection for a cold winter's night. Highly recommended and good suspense for children. 10/10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The original version & first time with Rathbone & Bruce as famous due.

7/10
Author: Jay Harris (sirbossman6969@yahoo.com) from United States
16 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie & the next (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) were made by 20th Century Fox, in 1939 & were better than the ones made by Universal in the 1940's. Let us also remember that Universal was not the big studio it is now.

In 1939 one of the studios up & coming stars was Richard Greene. (he later became Robin Hood). He is the top billed actor & actually the major role. He always was a good hero,but not that good an actor. The one & only Basil Rathbone is Sherlock Holmes & Rathbone does what he always did, creating a memorable character. Mr. Rathbone had the fantastic talent to play any sort of role, villain or hero.

A few years prior he created the most memorable Pontius Pilate in a Cecil B. DeMille almost forgettable epic, I may have forgot the title BUT not his Pontius Pilate.(this was before supporting actors got Oscars-) over the years he made many unforgettable characters.

This was his first time as Sherlock. Nigel Bruce was a good Dr. Watson, I never could figure why they made Watson a comic character.

Wendy Barrie is the love interest.(this was then & still is a staple character). I do not think she figures into the original Conan Doyle story. The made a few changes to the original.

Sydney Lanfield (a studio director) did his usual good work. The screenplay was written by Ernest Pascal. Look for Lionel Atwill & John Carradine in supporting roles. They both always gave fine performances.

This is no where a great film, BUT is an enjoyable time spent. It is only 80 minutes long..

One more point of information. They made films fast back them. It too less than 90 days from first day of shooting to actual release date.

Ratings: **1/2 (out of 4) 78 points (out of 100) IMDb 7 (out of 10)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Best adaptation of a Book I've ever seen!!

10/10
Author: brad572 from United States
22 May 2006

I thought that this was the best adaptation of the book ever show on the big screen. I have seen the 1959 remake and didn't care for it as much. Basil Rathbone did an excellent job on playing Sherlock Holmes as did Nigel Bruce as Dr Watson. I have recommended this movie to many people over the years, since I first saw it after reading the book in 8th grade English. I couldn't believe just how much it followed the book to a "T". Maybe a very few variations from book to movie, but I have never seen another movie follow a book so closely. I am a stickler for detail this one had it all. I watch it at least once a year, and will keep on recommending it to people. For Mystery and Suspense lovers you have to try it I guarantee you will love it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Classy, chilling and atmospheric-pretty darn impressive adaptation of a great book

9/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
31 January 2010

The book is truly great, compelling and terrifying all at once. This 1939 film adaptation stayed true to the spirit of the book, if not word from word, and on its own it is classy, chilling and atmospheric. The cinematography is superb, and the moor scenery makes up the suitably macabre atmosphere. Throw in some great acting, haunting music score and a truly terrifying hound you have a near perfect adaptation. What let it down for me though was the last five or so minutes, of course I loved the clever reference to Holmes's drug addiction (though people may think Holmes had taken up sewing), but the revelation of the culprit was too rushed for me.

However, apart from that, this is extremely good stuff. The script had a strong sense of intelligence, and the climatic scenes with the hound itself were suspenseful and chilling to say the least. The acting is of high calibre, while I personally think Jeremy Brett is the definitive Holmes, Basil Rathbone is absolutely superb here. He looks as though he is having a great time, making Holmes witty, dynamic and sophisticated, and that was a sheer delight to see. Nigel Bruce while not as good as Rathbone, makes a fine Dr Watson. Out of the stellar supporting cast, John Carradine and Morton Lowry stood out as Barryman and Stapleton, while Lionel Attwill's Dr Mortimer is also effective. Also as Sir Henry Baskerville, Richard Greene has the screen presence and charm to make himself memorable. All in all, almost perfect, nevertheless a classy and atmospheric adaptation of a great book. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Thrilling and Exciting! One of the Greatest Films of All Time!

9/10
Author: lawrence_elliott from Canada
18 April 2007

This is the definitive film of Sherlock Holmes. Basil Rathbone is brilliant in this role but it is the direction that captures the mood and haunting atmosphere that makes this a Victorian period piece worth owning and playing over and over again. How a director approaches making a film that will captivate an audience is beyond me but most of the time cinematic failures abound and are the norm for the industry. But when a film like this comes along and captures the imagination of generations of viewing audiences then you know the director has created cinematic "gold". I don't think this kind of masterful work can be achieved by chance but in this case perhaps, good luck, fate, magic and skill all combined under the heavens to aid the director in creating a true "masterpiece" that will stand the test of time.

This is truly a haunting and mysterious drama that will frighten and engage its audience while providing a lasting imprint on memory. The séance scene is an example of the times giving a quality of supernatural mystery attributed to most haunting ghost stories.

See it, buy it, just get your hands on this one and enjoy. A great story that is beautifully rendered here on celluloid, truthfully and honestly, the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have wanted it.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The eyes have it

8/10
Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK
13 March 2005

Up to now I've watched this about 10 times, taped off TV in 1988. Now I've seen it on DVD and it's as if this old friend of mine has suddenly been rejuvenated and left me to get decrepit on my own. Not a re-master but the best available print, preserved by UCLA.

To me the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films were the best adaptations of Conan Doyle's stories, mainly because although I've read all of them I'm not a Holmes Purist and I've always preferred treatments of any story for that matter to come from the Golden Age. That sounds pretty limiting, but life is short and there's still plenty out there to see and read! Personally Rathbone was definitive as Holmes, Jeremy Brett in the '80's/'90's on UK TV was a close second but the programmes even though set correctly lacked atmosphere and the film quality was often irritatingly grainy. Peter Cushing was good too, but brought a Hammy energy to the role I couldn't quite get used to.

Fox did a great job with this film, which proved to be 1/14, the production values were consistently high, and attention to period detail unwavering. Apart from reducing costs the fogs on the back lots, sorry Moors lent the right atmosphere to this version of the tale. Hound also was responsible for the 200+ radio programmes throughout the '40's with Rathbone and Bruce, of which I still have about 140 left to hear!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

That's not the wind howling

8/10
Author: Mike-764 (michaelnella@yahoo.com) from Flushing, NY
18 October 2004

Sir Charles Baskerville dies at the entrance of his manor, and Doctor Mortimer says he died of natural causes. However, when telling Sherlock Holmes of the case, he feels Sir Charles' death was a result of a centuries old curse that runs in the Baskerville family, which Dr. Mortimer feels will strike at Sir Charles nephew, Sir Henry, who is arriving to claim the Baskerville estate. Holmes sends Dr. Watson in his place, along with Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry, to the manor and for Watson to keep an eye out for any suspicious actions. Immediately after arriving, Watson notices the queer occurrences at the estate and surrounding moors, and sends Holmes reports of what is going on concerning the life of Sir Henry. Will Holmes arrive in time to unravel the mystery, and who is responsible for Sir Charles' death and the attempted murder of Sir Henry? Is it Dr. Mortimer, neighbor Stapleton, butler Barryman, harmless old Frankland, a mysterious wild man, or is there a curse on the Baskerville family? Very good opening entry in the Rathbone-Bruce Holmes series (even though this film lacks qualities of any ongoing entries.) The film could have been a bit more darker and foreboding (the film does have a movie studio set feel) and have an ending with a little more confrontation to it, but it does provide for much fun. The romantic scenes with Greene and Barrie have little spark, but there are very good red herring performances by the cast, which is a plus for this movie. Rating, 8.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Beginning of a Great HOLMES CLASSIC SERIES!

10/10
Author: whpratt1 from United States
1 September 2004

This great Black & White film from the late 1930's kept my interest from beginning to end. The old time scenery and furniture which was created on a great old time set was fantastic. Basil Rathbone,(Sherlock Holmes),"The Mark of Zorro",'40, had his hands full trying to break down all the suspects and Nigel Bruce,(Dr. Watson),"Rebecca",'40 gave a great supporting role as an old retired doctor who had a loss of memory at times and managed to get in trouble at the wrong times. Lionel Atwill,(James Mortimer,M.D.),"Sherlock Holmes & the Secret Weapon",'42 managed to create a great deal of mystery to everything he did through out the entire film. Lionel Atwill also played the very evil Professor Moriarty in another Sherlock Homes film. Last but not least was John Carradine, who played (Barryman),"House of Frankenstein",'44 who was a very mysterious butler and added a great deal of drama to this film. Great Classic actors and a great Classic Film for all generations to view and enjoy!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone & Bruce) Chapter 1of14

10/10
Author: LeonLouisRicci from United States
8 July 2014

Here it is. The Classic Conan-Doyle Tale that has been Filmed so Many Times that Film Historians Lose Count (24 says Wikipedia). But this Eerie Film will Always be Most Remembered for the Initial Teaming of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. There would be 14 Movies in the Series.

Most Folks know that the First Two were done by 20th Century Fox and were set in Period (Victorian London) and the Next Twelve were Updated to Modern Times by Universal Studios. Also, this is the Only Film where Watson is a Credibly Straight Portrayal. In the Next Film the Holme's Put-Downs Start and a bit of Stumbling, Bumbling, and Mumbling Begin.

The Movie is Incredibly Filled with Suspense, Action, and Intrigue for a Short Running Time of 80 Minutes. There is so Much Going On. The Atmosphere is Gloomy, Foggy and Detailed, but is an Obvious Studio Set, and it does Add a bit of Surrealism.

There is a Fine Cast on Hand Featuring Lionel Atwill, John Carradine, and a Stiff but Acceptable Richard Greene as the Romantic Interest with a Scent that the Hound Sniffs Out. There is Mysticism and the Supernatural at Play and Holmes is Perfectly Fleshed Out with an Iconic Look, Straight Out of the Strand Magazine's Illustrations and a Demeanor that Recalled the Literary Favorite.

The Ending is a Terrifying Confrontation with the Hound on the Moor Strikingly Violent. Holmes Final Line, Once Removed for Obvious Reasons, is now the Stuff of Legend.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Murder, my dear Watson. Refined, cold-blooded murder."

8/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
2 April 2014

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) must protect the heir to a wealthy estate, Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene, who oddly receives top billing). A family legend states that a demonic hound kills all Baskerville men because of something one of their ancestors did. The first Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film. One of two Sherlock films made by 20th Century Fox in 1939 before the series found its home at Universal, with Holmes updated to the present day.

Basil Rathbone is excellent in what would become his career-defining role. To me, Basil Rathbone IS Sherlock Holmes. I know the books have a rabid following and from my experiences with some of these devotees, they don't care much for the Rathbone films. Such is their loss. One of the primary complaints from the book fans is Nigel Bruce's portrayal of Watson. Apparently they feel he's a bumbling cartoon of a character. I can't agree with that. Bruce's Watson is a loyal, brave, warm, decent man. That he is used sometimes to bring levity to the otherwise serious tone of the films is hardly a bad thing, in my opinion. If you want to see a detective series with a truly buffoonish comic relief sidekick, I can recommend plenty.

A wonderful supporting cast backing up Rathbone and Bruce that includes Lionel Atwill, John Carradine, Wendy Barrie, Barlowe Borland, and E.E. Clive. Nice direction, great atmosphere and sets. Love the foggy moor. A good start to a wonderful series.

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