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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)


Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce
Richard Greene
Wendy Barrie

Directed by Sidney Lanfield

Basil Rathbone portrayal of the great detective Sherlock Holmes is one of the most popular and this adaptation of the popular The Hound of the Baskervilles is the nearest in accuracy that I have seen of the book, recurring that I have seen the modern British Sherlock series do a version of the Hound of Baskerville, which digressed a lot to the use of drugs to portray the intensity of the hound’s presence.

Many differences can be seen when watching this movie adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock Holmes’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, from the role of Beryl Stapleton (she is portrayed here by Wendy Barrie), to some other screenplay differences. That being said, this 1939 movie is one that is straight to the heart captivating, it starts with a high note, introducing us to the characters and the case at hand, it then goes smoothly down to the case and how Holmes was intending to solve it, adding the suspense that the book had, as we the viewers as well as Dr Watson (Nigel Bruce) has to wait till Holmes tells us what he has been able to deduce.

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. John Watson (Nigel Bruce) receive a visit from Dr. Mortimer (Lionel Atwill), who wishes to consult them before the arrival of Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene). Sir Henry is the last of the Baskervilles and heir to the Baskerville estate in Devonshire.

But Dr. Mortimer tells Holmes of a legend, the legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles, a demonic dog that first killed Sir Hugo Baskerville hundreds of  years ago and the same dog is believed to kill all Baskervilles that stay in the Devonshire, in which Sir Henry will lodge.

The screenplay of any book adaptation is one that needs to be judged carefully, even after reading such a book, you still have to have it in the back of your mind that not all that is written can or should be adapted on screen, in such a case the screenplay has to be well glued together not making you feel like something is off. The 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles has such a screenplay that makes you not feel lost, they did their best to tie up loose ends and make you the view feel a sense of closing as the movie itself ends.

Not many of the Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes portrayal can be found in the market, but if you do search the online market hard you should be able to come across some at a good price although some are said to be on the public domain; as I to will continue the search to see if I can see all fourteen of the duo of Basil Rathbone and Niguel Bruce.


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