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(Review originally written at 29 March 2010)

Even though it is a great shame that the Hammer studios did not continue the Sherlock Holmes-series with Peter Cushing in the lead, I can understand why it didn't got picked up by the audience. It's not necessarily due to the lack of monsters and horror but more because this movie is a bit of a lackluster. It just isn't a very exciting movie to watch.

But even so, I still really liked this movie. To me Peter Cushing really is the definitive Sherlock Holmes. I would had loved to see him play the character more often. He did played the character a couple of times again in a BBC produced series and again in 1984, in one of his last movies, "The Masks of Death", directed by former Hammer studios director Roy Ward Baker. But of course all of these productions lack the Hammer touch and feel, that made all those movies so distinctive. It was a real perfect combination, the Sherlock Holmes character and universe, Peter Cushing and the Hammer studios. Whenever I think of Sherlock Holmes, it still is an image of Peter Cushing that pops up into my mind first. He was that perfect for the role.

It's also really true that it's one of Cushing's best acting roles. Seemed he really enjoyed playing the iconic character and got really into his role. Other Hammer icon Christopher Lee is also in the movie and he played a good and enjoyable role in it as well. It was actually one of the first movies Cushing and Lee appeared together in, after the of course more well known 1958 "Dracula" version, with Lee as the count and Cushing as vampire killer Van Helsing.

For this movie the two also teamed up again with director Terence Fisher, who is one of the most recognizable names from the Hammer studios period as a director. He directed a large amount of movies for the British studios and among them are the very best and also best known ones, such as most of the Dracula and Frankenstein movies. Ironicaly he would also direct a later Sherlock Holmes movie, with this time Christopher Lee as the pipe-smoking detective.

The movie its story got based on one of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels. I think that without a doubt the Hound of the Baskervilles is the most filmed Sherlock Holmes novel. I don't really see why really, as it really isn't the most spectacularly mysterious or thrilling tense story. It only has an handful of characters in it, which does not work to well for the mystery and whodunit element of the story. Besides, there isn't always a lot happening in the story. Sherlock Holmes himself is also out of the movie for too long, too often.

The movie has a real Hammer studios look and atmosphere to it. Some exterior shots got obviously shot inside of a studio, with fake looking sets, backdrops and of course an inevitable smoke-machine. To me this is no complaint really. It is what makes the Hammer studios so unique and strangely appealing and charming to watch. I also don't think that the modern Hammer-fan will be disappointed by this movie.

A good movie and it's a real big shame not more of it got made by the Hammer studios, with Peter Cushing in the lead.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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