Format: TCM on DVR
Director: Terence Fisher
Frankly I'm surprised I'd never seen this movie before, except: I've always been embarrassed to not have actually read the novel, which I usually like to do first on things like this. For a while as a kid I read my brother's Sherlock Holmes collections, and like many a 13 year old kid, was a fan. Frankly haven't read much since, so if anyone is doing any Christmas shopping for me... could use a nice Holmes collection.
Anyhoo... Peter Cushing was TCM's Star of the Month, and they aired the movie and I decided: heck, now is the time. It's Halloween-ish. Ghost hounds and all.
Cushing plays Sherlock Holmes (to perfection, I might add). Andre Morell is Watson. I was further delighted to find out it co-starred Christopher Lee is the heir to the Baskerville manor and fortune, Sir Henry.
The mystery surrounds a longstanding curse of the Baskerville family, that a demon hound occasionally gets them out on the moors surrounding their manor house. When the latest occupant dies, killed by some large creature, the next in line is summoned home from South Africa to take his place. In London, a Dr. Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes and Watson to sort things out before Sir Henry falls to a similar fate.
The scope of the story plays well to the strengths of Hammer studios - access to solid actors, a limited number of locations, a grisly murder and kind of crazy story. It has that Terence Fisher touch to it of not being overly stuffy, but also not ever feeling exploitative regarding the horror or grisly details while also painting a picture of what has occurred off screen or which was hinted at.
If I have *any* complaint, I could have stood *more* of this movie. It runs 87 minutes, and feels like it could have spent more time building suspects, detailed a bit more here and there, and given more room for Sir Henry's budding romance/ infatuation with the neighbor's comely daughter. And, of course, with Cushing as Holmes such a delight, it would have been great to get more Holmes/ Watson time.