Monday, July 8, 2013

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES / Hammer Film Productions - 1959

It's Hound From Hell Monday with Tabonga, here at The Dungeon!.. This is a great little Hammer film that was one of the first horror movies Eegah!! and I saw together at the movies after we became pals in 6th grade. If there's one thing Hammer delivers, it's definitely thrills!..

Eegah!! sent over a soundclip from this fun flick for our listening enjoyment, sooooo, you can push the big red 'GO' button there next to the boiler room door, NOW, Ralphie The Tarantula! Here's our audio offering for... THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES!

Seriously, this fucker here's the despicible, sadistic Sir Hugo Baskerville, he's the one who brings the Curse of the Baskervilles to his family (as heard in the soundclip)! In the little time he's on the screen, he shows just what too much money and power can do to a little bitch! He has just murdered a girl for making him look like a fool in front of his jerk friends, then, he screams like a little girl when the Hound from Hell gets him!

Here's Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, Francis De Wolff as Dr. Mortimer, André Morell as Dr. Watson and Chris Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville, what a bunch of acting talent in one spot!

This may be the textbook example of ~ Bonnie Lass!

Dr. Watson gets off the beaten path and into some quicksand while exploring the scruffy countryside.

Holmes had been pretending to be away, tending to other matters but was actually hiding in the moors, observing things from there. He's smarter the the average bear!

Classic portrait of Peter...

Holmes has a flair for the dramatic!

In a thrilling moment, Holmes is nearly run over by an ore cart that then causes the mine to collapse on him! After trying to rescue Holmes, the others find him waiting for them in the carriage, and, he got hurt pretty bad.

Sir Henry finally realizes that he has been played the fool by his lover, Cecile, and, he's on the devil dog's menu!

It was all a hoax kept alive by Sir Henry's neighbors, for revenge concerning land rights. The dog wore a mask to make it appear like a monster mutt!

And, Cecile meets her demise in one of the quicksand pools! The dog had just killed her father before it was shot by Holmes.


Dick said...

The BEST Holmes ever in a film.

Douglas McEwan said...

The motive for the Baskerville murderes is NOT "Revenge concerning land rights." Where did you get that? Stapleton is another, forgotten, branch of the Baskerville family (in the novel, he's the son of Sir Charles's younger brother, supposedly lost childless in South America), who intends to collect his inheritance through a third party overseas. The motive is taking the Baskerville fortune and estate.

Hammer stirs some class resentment into it because it's a Terry Fisher movie, and EVERY Terry Fisher movie is about the aristocracy's treatment of the lower classes as the root of all evil. So you have bitter Cecile, the Spanish girl with the Italian accent so fierce you can't understand a word she spits, spewing venom at her Cousin, Sir Henry, for having the temerity to find her attractive. (In the novel, she is Stapleton's wife, masquerading as his sister, and she marries Sir Henry at the end. She's a victim, not a villain in the book.)

But it's about stealing the Baskerville fortune.

Hound of the Baskervilles has been one of my favorite books since I first read it, the same year this movie was made. Although this movie strays farther from the novel's plot than any other version short of The Hounds of Baskerville on Sherlock Even the execrable Peter Cook-Dudley Moore film of it, which is absolutely ghastly, is still closer to the book than this film. Cushing himself played Holmes on the BBC in a two-hour adaptation of it that was actually filmed at Dartmoor, and was very close to the book indeed.

But this is still one my favorite Holmes films. Except for being too short for the role (which is emphasized when matched with Lee in scenes where Sir Henry towers over Holmes), Cushing is otherwise a first-rate, highly enjoyable Holmes, and the film is colorful and gorgeous to look at. Lee has a scene with Miles Mander as the loveable old Curate with the spiders, where Manders's ad-libbng makes Lee break character into a smirking laugh on screen.

Of course, its big flaw is its hound. The dog spent the whole shoot on the set, and made friends with everyone, so they found themsleves with The Big Friendly Pooch of the Baskervilles. You clearly see dying Stapleton reach up and pull the happy, romping beast down onto him.

In his memoir, Peter Cushing writes that they tried dressing up kids in smaller versions of his, Morell's, and Lee's costumes, so they could be chased about by the very large doggie. The rushes, when viewed by the director and cast, caused much hilarity. You had what were clearly three little boys playing dress-up as they romped about with their large doggie in the mist. Did not work.

One of the great days of my life was the day I visited Darmoor for real, sporting my deerstalker cap, and driving about the Moors in search of the Hound of Hell. I did find shooting locations used in the Jeremy Brett version of The Hound. The weather was overcast and gloomy. It was perfect!

Eegah!! said...

You're kidding, right? There was actually a book?

TABONGA! said...

Douglas, your comment was well worth my fuck up!

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