03rd Jun2015

‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, David Oxley, Francis De Wolff, Miles Malleson, Ewen Solon, John Le Mesurier, Helen Goss, Sam Kydd, Michael Hawkins, Judi Moyens, Michael Mulcaster | Written by Peter Bryan | Directed by Terence Fisher


I’ve always been a Sherlock Holmes fan, and my horror leanings turned me to The Hound of the Baskervilles, a story I grew to love. It is evident by all different movies based on the tale and their popularity, that I’m not the only one.  One of the best has to be Hammer’s with Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.  This is why when Arrow Video revealed their Blu-ray release I looked forward to seeing it, especially with the amount of behind the scenes material on the disc.

When Charles Baskerville is found slain on Dartmoor, the next in line Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) inherits the estate, and moves and makes it his home.  With the Baskerville Curse above his head, Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) is called on to solve the mystery behind the legend.  Sending Doctor Watson (André Morell) to protect Baskerville the investigation into the truth begins.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is an interesting film for Hammer especially with Peter Cushing playing the part of Sherlock Holmes, in what was a magnificent performance.  Watching the documentaries and listening to the included commentary I enjoyed hearing about Cushing’s obsession with detail, especially around the props.  For a Hammer fan, finding out what happened behind the scenes is fascinating, especially when we get to look at Cushing’s preparation for his role and how much work he put into it getting everything right for his becoming the master detective.

Looking at this release, Arrow Video have outdone themselves for Hammer and Sherlock Holmes fans, especially with the readings by Christopher Lee of the Arthur Conan Doyle book.  As Hammer fans we are all suckers for anything that Lee provides us with, and this is as golden as Vincent Price reading Edgar Allen Poe.  Many of us grew up watching Hammer Horror movies and to see them treated with this level of respect is truly a great thing.

Hammer’s take on The Hound of the Baskervilles may not be the most authentic, if you’ve seen the many versions out there you’ll be able to pick out the differences straight away, but for some reason we as fans tend to write this off as a “Hammer” thing.  The company tended to take a certain amount of poetic license when it came to these movies and we as fans accepted it, because what we wanted was the Hammer Horror, rather than the prose taken from the books they were adapted from. Maybe some don’t feel the same way, but for the most part most fans seemed to love it, which is why Hammer has become the iconic movie studio it still is to this day.

Arrow Video show respect to The House of the Baskervilles in a way that fans will love.  With the commentary from Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby that provides us with plenty of history for the movie as well as interviews and documentaries by people who worked on the movie we are spoilt for choice with special features.  The Hound of the Baskervilles may not be the most popular of Hammer movies but it has its place in history, especially for Holmes fans.  Entertaining and true to the Hammer Style, this is a release that fans will no doubt (and rightly) be rushing out to buy.

***** 5/5

The Hound of the Baskervilles is available in the UK on Blu-ray now from Arrow Video.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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