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Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles

episode 2.4, 2.5

UK 1968
produced by
William Sterling for BBC
directed by Graham Evans
starring Peter Cushing, Nigel Stock, Gary Raymond, Philip Bond, Gabriella Licudi, Christopher Burgess, David Leland, Penelope Lee, June Watson, Tony Robb, Ballard Barkeley, Gerald Flood, George Howe
based on the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle

tv-series
Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes - 1960's BBC, Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing), Hound of the Baskervilles

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After Sir Charles Baskerville (Ballard Berkely) has died out of fright for having seen the mythical Hound of the Baskervilles (who has haunted the family for centuries), the family doctor Mortimer (David Leland) calls on Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) & Doctor Watson (Nigel Stock) for safeguarding the last heir to the Baskerville estate, fortune & title, Henry Baskerville (Gary Raymond), who has just come from America to accept his heritage. At first of course Holmes rather dismisses the story of a man being threatened by a giant dog, but after one of Henry's boots is stolen, he reconsiders & promises all the help he can give ... but then claims he has to stay in London for another case & sends Watson to accompany Sir Henry to Baskerville manor in Devonshire.

There, some mighty strange things are going on, including an escaped convict (Tony Robb) roaming the nearby moors, masterious disquieting howls of a dog at night, & Baskerville's butler Barrymore (Christopher Burgess) signalling to someone in the moor. Most of these occurences however do lead into a rather different directin however, as the convict is actually the brother of Barrymore's wife (June Watson), & just depending on his sister & her husband to get fed & eventually make a swift getaway. No such luck however, as, while Watson has - unexpectedly - found Sherlock Holmes roaming the moor as well, our convict is killed, by the hound, apparently because he was wearing a coat once owned by Baskerville. & when Baskerville's neighbour Stapletopn (Philip Bond) arrives at the convicts corpse a tad too quickly, his guilt is proven to Sherlock Holmes ... however he holds no evidence - yet.

Soon though, Holmes can get enough circumstantial evidence to corroborate his own theory, like  Stapleton's lover Laura (Penelope Lee), who - in all inocence - has lured Charles Baskerville into the moor in the first place, Stapleton's remarkable similarity to the portrait of one of Baskerville's ancestors, his life story suggesting he might be an off-spring from the Buenos Aires-Baskervilles, ... but still it's not enough to put Stapleton on trial, so Holmes decides to let Stapleton set a trap for Henry Baskerville, only to try to let Stapleton's trap spring onto himself - a plan that almost backfires when Sir Henry is attacked by the hound (which was of course part of Baskerville's trap) & Holmes almost cannot find him in the fog ...

But in the end of course the hound is shot, the Sir is saved, & Stapleton, for all his efforts, makes an escape through the moor, only to after a false step drown miserably ...

 

Always considered as one of the most faithful adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, this version of The Hound of the Baskervilles does offer a detailed depiction of detective work ... but then gives way its killer way too soon, to evolve into a dull climax. The stagey direction (inherent to this series as a whole) doesn't help much either, & neither does the absence of too much tension or suspense, 6& the total neglect of the creepy elements of the story, all of which are lost in slow-paced if accurate storytelling. 

Peter Cushing & Nigel Stock in the leads are great though & prevent this from being too much of a loss.

9 years earlier Peter Cushing starred in another version of the story, Hammer Studio's superior Hound of the Baskervilles.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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