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Great Hammer movie. Love Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in this fabulous matinee. Charismatic, a bit scary and slightly odd. Has he kissed his sister? "I too am a Baskerville." (Cecile announces towards the end, looking mildly vampiric as the hound attacks a sweaty Lee.) And so he deserves to die. Also it has the best summary of any film, the key words being "Killed by a dog."
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a surprisingly restrained and effective Hammer film, somewhat loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mystery. Peter Cushing is great as the debonair and insightful Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee, another Hammer regular, is effectively restrained as Sir Henry Baskerville, the next in line for the teeth of the hound. There is plenty of mist and much in the way of dark shadows to help establish the atmosphere and the cinematography is great throughout. The supporting cast is a bit over the top at times, but that's a small price to pay for an otherwise entertaining thriller.
One of the better Hammer products. It's too bad they never made more Holmes movies.
There has been no shortage of interpretations of Conan Doyle's great detective over the years, but, with apologies to Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Cushing remains one of the greatest.
Imaginatively staged, rather over-acted Hammer version of the popular Holmes yarn. The mystery is not that interesting, but at ninety minutes it cracks along without much spare fat.
Hammer Films rally nailed it with this outstanding interpretation of the Conan-Doyle classic mystery. Just as the studio revolutionized the classic horror movie genre with its Dracula, Frankenstein, and Mummy movies, their fresh, all-color, and slightly gory (for the 1950s) version of this well-trod ground delivered a much needed update for Sherlock Holmes and company.
Hamer's actors are brilliant here, in my opinion superior to the 1940s serials with Basil Rathbone. Peter Cushing is great, Andre Morell is also, and Christopher Lee delvers a character fans wouldn't recognize. Italian-born Marla Landi was a fortunate find; her accent and crazed mannerisms bring her plotting temptress character to life.
The direction and especially cinematography is typical of Hammer, brilliant. The deviations from the book's plot, which you can read about in Wikipedia, only enhance the film. Often purists harshly critique film versions of famous novels, but no one should find any fault here. The film's climax, which I won't reveal, I believe improves on the original.
In summary, Hammer's 1959 interpretation of this classic is one of the studio's best films and one of the best Holmes film adaptations. Highly Recommended!
Truly grim - since the makers weren't interested in sticking to either the original plot or the characterisation it is hard to see why they bothered at all. Self indulgent, messy, with none of the eerieness or sense of fear and threat in the book and the 1939 version, you just don't care what happens to any of these people. Why a Victorian English peasant girl would talk with an Italian accent and wear what looks like a velvet riding dress is never explained, but that is just one of many anachronisms which show how half-hearted the makers' interest was. not even Peter Cushing can save it, hard though he tries.
Terence Fisher's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959) smells of fine liquor, wooden pipes, old cologne, and wet -- it's a Sherlock Holmes movie that feels like a Sherlock Holmes movie, that feels like the novels Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote with such consideration to atmospheric detail. Witty and intrepid, the film captures the jaunty spirit of its source and brings an involving adventure to the screen. A rollicking good time it is, and we have Fisher, his screenwriter (the dramatically able Peter Bryan), and their perfectly cast team of actors to thank.
This time around, Holmes and his loyal Watson are respectively played by Peter Cushing and André Morell, whose chemistry prospers simply because both actors understand the people they're playing with immaculate specificity. In the film, the deadly duo is hired by Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis De Wolff) to investigate the recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville, an aristocrat whose demise could very easily be linked to the infamous "curse" of Baskerville hall.
As the legend goes, a bloodthirsty supernatural hound stalks the moors of the property and is willing to kill anyone with a reason to be outside the manor's walls during the darkest hours of the night. History has proven that nearly all heirs to the Baskerville fortune have met an end greeted by a murderous growl, a ruthless lunge, and a lightning quick sinking of fangs into the neck.
So Mortimer, in addition to being suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his friend's fate, also wants Holmes and Watson to serve as protectors of sorts to Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee, in a rare heroic turn), who plans to move into Baskerville hall promptly. Certain that the capacity for foul play is lurking about the premises, Holmes and Watson probe the case and eventually comes to the conclusion that much more than history repeating itself is in place. But who's involved, and why they're involved, is the ever elusive question.
And the snooping is gripping -- "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a dusty treasure chest we're eager to break the shiny gold locks off. The story itself is over a century old and yet feels fresh in Fisher and co's hands. They link the novel's old-fashioned appeal to the artistic flourishes consistently found in the films made by the movie's production company, Hammer Films. Which means that its colors are expressive, its ambience is baroque, and its tone, while strictly imitating that of an analytical whodunit, transitions beautifully between the clinicality that comes with dignified chatter and the creaky horrors that stay in sync with Hammer's stylistic tendencies.
Much of "The Hound of the Baskervilles's" effectiveness, too, relies colossally on its inspired casting. Cushing, brilliant, relishes his every line -- every word that comes out of his mouth slices, and every movement he makes intimidates (despite being delivered by a rather skinny frame). Whereas Morell (also superb) quietly observes, making smart quips or smirking accusations when need be, Cushing goes for the throat, unafraid of proving that his Holmes is inarguably the smartest person in the room.
Even Lee, Count Dracula himself, shines in a role with the potential to be rote. His being cast against type is a bold move that pays off. Because we're so accustomed to fearing him, his dark eyes and foreboding presence enough to threaten with even the quickest of a glance, it only makes sense that he play a would-be hero that we still find ourselves not completely trusting. He fits Holmes's firm belief that everyone, no matter their standing in the investigation, is a suspect perfectly, grooming the notion to its full effect.
Its spotlessly conceived components working together efficiently, the film makes the "Sherlock Holmes" movie into a tuneful symphony, and its seemingly effortless manufacturing renders it as among the best adaptations to have crossed the daunting path of the silver screen. "The Hound of the Baskervilles," dank, mysterious, and, most importantly, exciting, is a force that reminds us why its ageless central figure has continued to capture the attention of the public in the decades following his original conception so strongly. A must.
Hammer is best known for producing horror movies, but they put out a rather successful version of the classic Sherlock Holmes novel shortly before vampires, zombies, werewolves, and ghosts became the focus of their output. Peter Cushing is delightful as Holmes while Christopher Lee provides a solid foil as Sir Henry Baskerville. The film takes numerous liberties with the source material, but Terence Fisher's taut, atmospheric direction never allows the narrative to become anything less than gripping and enjoyable. The Hammer version of The Hound of the Baskervilles is a proudly middlebrow adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story, but it's still one of the most effective renditions out there.
Very good, although not totally accurate to the original story. Great performances nonetheless.