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Returning to his family's manor house on the lonely moors after his father dies under mysterious circumstances, Sir Henry Baskerville is confronted with the mystery of the supernatural hound that supposedly takes revenge upon the Baskerville family. The famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson are brought in to investigate. Written by
Jeremy Lunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
`Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a giant hound.'
The 1939 Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce production may be the definitive version, but Hammer's sole 1959 attempt at Sherlock Holmes remains the most atmospheric colour remake.
Peter Cushing and Andre Morrell make a more than passable Holmes and Watson double-act, and the rest of the cast are just right although Christopher Lee always seemed too stiff as a goodie.
Jack Asher's evocative photography is the real delight. No other version has captured so beautifully the muted greens, browns and golds of Dartmoor in England's myth-laden west country. What a shame that modern film stocks seem to have lost the softer warmth of Fifties Technicolor.
Hammer, as you might expect, played up the horror elements of the 'hound of hell' legend a bit too crudely. But David Oxley, as the Baskerville scion who brings about the curse, deserves his place in Hammer's gallery of depraved aristocrats. Accompanied by a crash of thunder in the prologue, director Terence Fisher captures him in long shot at the top of the stairs, possessed with fury as he tells his drunken fellow revellers that the servant girl they had intended to rape has fled. A hushed reaction shot of the others, before Fisher cuts back to a medium shot of Oxted. `I have her!' His face lights up with demonical inspiration. `We'll set the pack on her.!'
Maybe it does rather fall between two genres, but this hugely enjoyable Hammer yarn has left a footprint in each.
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