Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Director: Terence Fisher

Starring: Peter Cushing, Andre Morell, Christopher Lee

More info: IMDB

Tagline: Sherlock Holmes' Most Terrifying Adventure!

Plot: The curse of the Baskerville family brings misfortune, violence and death to succeeding generations. It has reared its ugly head and foul murder has been committed when Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the moor. Sherlock Holmes suspects that the one remaining Baskerville is to be the next victim....not from the terror of the hound from hell but of cruel, cold-blooded murder. Someone is set to gain a great deal by the death of Sir Henry Baskerville and the master sleuth is determined to uncover who and why before it is too late.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Sure, but not before most other Hammer horror films.

#6 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

Hammer's spin on the great detective has him involved in a Gothic-esque setting with seemingly supernatural elements. At this point Hammer had made only two films that helped define the Gothic horror they are legendary for, the first Dracula picture and the first Frankenstein. It'll be a couple more years before they will have really locked down the style with enough films to make it solid. Two points make a line but three make a trend.

What makes this picture is the fantastic performance by Cushing. He's so energetic and youthful in his excitement that it's a shame he never played the character on film again, although he did some TV work with it in the late 60s and one last time in '84. He just a marvel to watch. What a class act that guy was. Splendid. Everyone else is fine except for Marla Landi as Lee's love interest. Not good. She was a model turned actress. I'm not convinced she was even a good model.

Being a Holmes tale this cannot be a supernatural explanation but a logical, reality-based one and it wraps up nicely. James Bernard's score hits all of the right notes and has moments of his DRACULA (1958) score. What excites me more is the next Hammer films on the list are THE MUMMY (1960) and STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY (1960). Can't wait!

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