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|Index||87 reviews in total|
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rathbone was already a star when this was filmed (and indeed did other notable roles such as the bad guy in Mark of Zorro, 1940, also in my reviews) but this was history in the making. As Holmes, he was not just good, he was perfect. The studio was not sure about the effort but the box office was so good that 13 more followed. Rathbone may (OMG) have been the best Holmes of all, physically imposing, naturally intellectual, confidence inspiring, trustworthy, and he made every pronouncement sound like the discovery of the century, whether it was or not. Nigel Bruce pretty much set the template for the affable, foolish, but good-natured Watson. Set it so well in fact that 3/4 of a century later, writers would be jumping through hoops to re-imagine Watson just to show they could -- look at the fun Moffat is having with his ex-soldier, newly married Watson; and the writers in Elementary actually get to use an ex-Charlies Angel (!) to prove how far away from Nigel Bruce they can get. Look, let's be clear -- we live in era when, if a studio can get to 5 or 6 sequels without imploding, they are entering Oscar territory. That this franchise did 13 should make the point crystal clear. Iconic, and sets the bar. Brilliant.
It is impossible to find as iconic a character in fiction as Sherlock Holmes. He's my personal favorite character from any fiction. Holmes is a brilliant detective who notices everything around him, and cracks cases with the slightest details. His stories are told from the point of view of his companion Dr. Watson, so that the audience has someone to relate to. The stories themselves are brilliant stories with brilliant premises, and are filled to the brim with suspense, intrigue, and mystery, as all crime or mystery stories should. Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles gets all of these elements down perfectly. And how does the 1939 film adaptation of this phenomenal story hold up? It's hard to imagine a better adaptation. A Sir Charles Baskerville has been found dead in front of his home Baskerville Hall. His friend, Dr. James Mortimer (Lionel Atwill), approaches consulting detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) with suspicions about Baskerville's death. The coroner ruled that Baskerville died naturally, Dr. Mortimer knows that he was chased by a vicious dog, the legendary Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene) is Charles' nephew and heir who returns to Baskerville Hall. Odd things around him, however, and Holmes dispatches Dr. Watson (Bruce Nigel) to visit Baskerville Hall and investigate, while Holmes studies the case from a distance. Few adaptations have been as successful as this film. The film stays faithful to the original story, thus keeping the same brilliant premise and events. Everything about the movie is intelligent. The story, writing, direction, and characters are all intelligent. The suspense of the novella is kept, and executed with just as much intrigue. The film has a bleak, grey, shadowy look that comes right out of Sidney Paget's illustration. The acting is excellent, every actor expressing interest in what happens, and each one constantly thinking. Basil Rathbone IS Sherlock Holmes, in the same way Sean Connery was James Bond. As soon as he appears on screen, you believe that he has walked out of the pages of Conan Doyle's stories. Not only does he look just like the character, he acts just like him. He shows the constant thought of Holmes, and behaves in a cool manner, just as Holmes does. He and the story are what make this film, just as all adaptations of Sherlock Holmes should. A+
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