The Hound Of The Baskervilles (UK 1958)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 6/26/10
Director: Terence Fisher
Cast: Peter Cushing, Andre Morell, Christopher Lee

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous Sherlock Holmes adventure gets the Hammer treatment, as Peter Cushing takes on the iconic role. Legend speaks of a curse surrounding the Baskerville family, involving a demonic "hound of hell" who prowls the moors around the family estate. When Charles Baskerville is found dead, Detective Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate the situation and determine if any foul play or supernatural beasts were involved.

The film is superbly crafted and Terence Fisher's direction is spot-on. The suspense and intrigue are constantly engaging, and it's fascinating to watch all of the various story threads unravel. Peter Cushing makes a delightful Holmes, although his small frame makes him an unconvincing fighter. Andre Morell makes an excellent Watson, and nearly the entire first half of the film revolves around him. Christopher Lee plays Henry Baskerville, who has come to town to inherit the estate. He gives a solid performance, and it's nice to see him not playing a monster or a villain for a change. Unfortunately, most of the supporting roles are unimpressive and it's hard to take the dated visual effects very seriously. The pacing also seems a bit sluggish by today's standards, but I'm sure the film seemed quite energetic when it was released. Definitely a treat for Hammer fans and Peter Cushing fans.