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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1981)
"Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i doktora Vatsona: Sobaka Baskerviley" (original title)

TV Movie  |   |  Crime, Mystery
8.9
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When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in his country house, Dr James Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes for help to save Sir Henry Baskerville, the only known heir, from the curse that haunts Baskerville family.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vasiliy Livanov ...
Vitali Solomin ...
Rina Zelyonaya ...
Irina Kupchenko ...
...
Alla Demidova ...
Svetlana Kryuchkova ...
Aleksandr Adabashyan ...
Borislav Brondukov ...
Sergei Martinson ...
Evgeniy Steblov ...
Oleg Yankovskiy ...
Oleg Belov ...
(as O. Belov)
Dmitry Bessonov ...
(as D. Bessonov)
Oleg Palmov ...
(as O. Palmov)
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Storyline

When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in his country house, Dr James Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes for help to save Sir Henry Baskerville, the only known heir, from the curse that haunts Baskerville family.

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Crime | Mystery

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The Hound of the Baskervilles  »

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(2 parts)

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1.33 : 1
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Version of Der Hund von Baskerville, 4. Teil (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hound it down
30 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is almost certainly the Sherlock Holmes story most adapted for screen versions. In a sense that's not surprising because it's so good, but in another it is, since the character of Holmes himself is absent for much of the story. Filmmakers tend to resort to awkwardly rewriting the original or leaving the story in the hands of a bumbling, unbelievable Watson.

This film, however, from a series of excellent films made for Soviet television and starring Vasili Livanov as Holmes, benefits from a Watson who is perhaps the screen's best -- excellently acted by Vitali Solomin as both a man ready for action and a sensitive writer, and always three- dimensionally written. He's more than capable of driving the middle section of this "Hound of the Baskervilles" -- a production which apart from that also seems to get just about everything else right.

In two parts it runs to almost two and a half hours, and that long running time is invaluable. It never drags, being excellently directed with attention to detail in every shot and a nuanced sense of suspense, and the extra breathing room allows every minor and supporting character to be given a significant role. That's huge, as they are all illuminated with well-written scenes and inhabited as character parts with good performances. It gives a great sense of scope and complexity to the mystery.

Part of the success here is that this production somehow manages to treat the original without too much reverence, but still to recreate its atmosphere perfectly. This means while Sir Henry is introduced as a very funny figure of comedy, he can slowly become more of a figure of pity. It is actually quite effective the way heart is added by playing on Sir Henry's unrequited love for Mrs. Stapleton, and his interactions with Barrymore become a delightful whole movie in and of themselves.

As with the other films the cinematography as well as the locations and settings are gorgeous and evocative of a very rich and detailed Victorian world -- with a slightly Russian flavor mirrored in the language naturally spoken by the actors. The music sometimes strikes a contrast this time, but always seems to work despite itself. The hound itself -- which in other films comes off as silly -- is realized with wonderful and spooky simplicity as per its actual explanation.

And, as in his previous appearances, Vasili Livanov is a sublime Sherlock Holmes -- an immensely appealing and well-acted version of the character.

In short, as close to a perfect screen version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" as I have seen, and a cracking good film on its own.


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