The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

DailyView: Day 233, Movie 321

The first of the images on the extended banner was from this movie. The Hounds of the Baskervilles is one of the most famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and this was the first of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films.

Set during the Victorian time (which was the setting for the original stories), The Hound of the Baskervilles tells the story of a legendary and monstrous dog that haunted the moors of the estate of Baskerville in Devonshire. The legend stated that the hound would kill all family members of the Baskervilles, after it had started with Sir Hugo Baskerville (Ralph Forbes) hundreds of years prior.

However, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his friend and sidekick Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) saw more to the legend than just a terrible family curse.

Interestingly enough, 20th Century Fox was uncertain about the selling power of Sherlock Holmes so instead of leading the cast with Basil Rathbone, actor Richard Greene, who played Sir Henry Baskerville received top billing. Fascinating bit of trivia considering Basil Rathbone would lead over a dozen more Sherlock Holmes films in his time.

The film is very atmospheric, with the shots on the moors being very cinematic and the foggy circumstance around the finale really brought a feeling of uncertainty and dread.

Rathbone and Bruce show exactly what they are capable of doing with the roles and they must have eased any doubt the studio had about the property. Rathbone is such an iconic performance of the Baker Street detective that every time we visit him, it is an enjoyable time.

There are several twists to the mystery and it was a fun film to see.

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