The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

hound of the baskervilles poster 1959 movie hammer
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A classic story brought to life by Hammer

Some liberties with the story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Hound of the Baskervilles

Studio:  Hammer Film Productions

Genre(s):  Mystery/Suspense/Horror

Release Date(s):  May 4, 1959

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Something is afoot!

A family curse and the death of Sir Charles Baskerville on the moors leads Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and his assistant Doctor Watson (André Morell) to investigate at the behest of Baskerville’s friend Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis de Wolff) and the home’s new owner Sir Henry (Christopher Lee).

Directed by Terence Fisher, The Hound of the Baskerville adapts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous 1902 novel.  It is the first version of the story to be shot in color.  The film is a Hammer Studios production and is often considered not only one of Hammer’s best films, but one of the best film versions of Sherlock Holmes.


Baskerville, you look familiar…did you have pointy teeth once?

The Hound of the Baskervilles might be one of Sherlock Holmes’ most famous stories.  The movie of course takes liberties with the story to amplify the horror and mystery, but maintains the basic principle themes and ideas of the story (with bonus scenes like a mine scene and scenes involving tarantulas).

Oddly enough, much of The Hound of the Baskervilles could just be called The Adventures of Watson.  In the story, Watson is sent to investigate Baskerville before Holmes and it seems like it takes too long for Holmes to become involved.  Fortunately, André Morell is a good Watson and a nice balance to Sherlock (as he’s meant to be).


Um…good doggie?

As with every Sherlock Holmes portrayal, the movie comes down to the actor playing Sherlock Holmes.  Peter Cushing looks the role of Holmes and of course dons the classic Holmes garb for scenes.  Cushing is always a solid lead, and Hammer Films made the most of him.  Here, Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes is, of course, all-knowing, but his acting sometimes feels a little like a stage actor.

*****Spoiler Alert***** As with all Sherlock Holmes, the movie has the big finale reveal.  The story has made Cecile (Marla Landi) pretty evil and turned the once glowing “Hound of the Baskerville” into Great Dane wearing a mask (it would have been pretty hard to pull off the glow realistically).  I do like how Watson, Sherlock, and Baskerville make no effort to rescue Cecille from the quicksand.

Sherlock Holmes is tricky.  I like a lot of aspects of the character and think he’s one of the greatest literary creations of all time…despite that, I don’t like him much.  The character often comes off too forced, unrealistic, and methodical beyond a point of realism.  This film makes him feel a bit more rounded and real.  Cushing returned to Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock Holmes in the 1960s, and Hound of the Baskervilles was one of the stories he did.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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