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PETER CUSHING IN HAMMER'S 'THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES'

Hound of the Baskervilles Year: 1959 Rating: **1/2

Perfect that Hammer, after Terence Fisher's Dracula and Frankenstein, would chose Sherlock Holmes THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES story being basically about a werewolf... so to speak... deliberately killing Moor-ruling Baskerville family members that Christopher Lee plays the surviving heir of... cursed not only with a heart condition and the fact the legendary howler might get him next, there's a tarantula in his shoe and he's constantly in danger, especially the closer he gets to ingenue Maria Landi.

In the lead, Cushing plays Holmes as slightly effeminate, intentionally snooty and fitfully snoopy, but awkwardly vanishes from the story during the first act, leaving AndrĂ© Morell's faithful Dr. Watson and an aloof Lee to converse in scenes that fail to build enough culprits for a genuine mystery yarn. Meanwhile, an escaped convict roaming the Moors comes to as little as that ferocious hellhound, making this, for Hammer and Conan Arthur Doyle fans, a collective disappointment plot-wise. And yet it visually sustains Hammer's vivid Victorian aesthetic and the locations make you really feel there. But ironically, while the DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN films seem like reading a book on screen, BASKERVILLES, the most famously adapted from source literature, lacks that page-turning cadence. 

Peter Cushing and André Morell as Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles

Christopher Lee in The Hound of the Baskervilles
Maria Landi in The Hound of the Baskervilles
Christopher Lee in The Hound of the Baskervilles with Maria Landi
Judi Moyens in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
HAMMER FILMS presents The Hound of the Baskervilles
HAMMER FILMS presents The Hound of the Baskervilles
Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles

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