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