I am guilty. I have read little of Holmes in my lifetime, but I do have in my possession several of his rousing adventures in paper form, but alas I can’t seem to muster the time to read them. I have, however, experienced Holmes’ escapades on several different visual mediums, be they TV or Theatrical, but they are all of his newer iterations. One night—it was on the 12th of July, 2016—I decided it was best to change that. I removed the shrink wrap from the Twilight Time Blu-ray release of The Hound of the Baskervilles and placed it gently in my Blu-ray player. I suspected that I would be fascinated by the tale that would unfold before me, but I was hesitant on what the audio, video, and special features would hold. It is in this journal entry that the truth will be revealed, the truth of…
The Hound of the Baskervilles – Twilight Time Blu-ray Review
RUN-TIME: 86 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.66:1
AUDIO: 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
REGION: Region Free
PRODUCTION DATE: 1959
RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2016
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous story gets the gorgeously gothic Hammer treatment in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), starring Peter Cushing as a wry and brilliant Sherlock Holmes, André Morell as an unusually sensible Dr. Watson, and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville, seemingly threatened by a ghastly family curse. Horror stalwart Terence Fisher directs, and James Bernard provides the atmospheric music.
Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) has solved several cases in his lifetime and most of them have never ended up being anything supernatural or mystical–save for his recent duel with the Order of the Gash–so when the case of The Hound of the Baskervilles fell upon his lap, which supposedly involved a hound from hell hunting down the Baskerville family, it was with great excitement that Holmes jumped at the chance to solve this mystery. After the recent death of a relative, inheritor Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) is the next in line to take over the Baskerville estate, which involves moving into the house by the
After the recent death of a relative, inheritor Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) is the next in line to take over the Baskerville estate, which involves moving into the house by the moor. The very same moor that his relatives were found dead, supposedly by the hands–paws?– of a hound. Who better to help Henry solve the hound issue than Sherlock Holmes and his trusted partner, Dr. Watson (André Morell), who gracelessly accepts the offer to go with Sir Henry alone to Baskerville estate and keep an eye on him. It isn’t long before the dreadful howling of the hound is heard in the dark moor and the bodies start showing up, ravaged. Can Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson piece together the clues in time to save Henry’s life, or will the curse of the Baskerville family live on? I personally can’t divulge that information, as the no-spoiler rule of The Mind of Tatlock is strictly enforced.
As I place ink to paper—digits to keyboard—a smile creeps across my face. The smile comes from seeing Peter Cushing–who would later go on to do more Sherlock Homes stories and command a Death Star, as General Tarkin, not Sherlock–make the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes come to life on film. He perfectly captures the quirky ticks of Holmes and he effortlessly adds his own personal touch and mannerisms, which are a delight. I was put off with Cushing not being present for a portion of the film, but both Christopher Lee and André Morell manage to work together wonderfully. When Cushing finally does show back up, I was overjoyed, as all three on screen were phenomenal together.
The Hound of the Baskervilles film, from what I’ve read, follows the story closely. It only deviates or trims things here and there. I personally was wrapped up in the mystery, trying to figure out what was going on. I assume if I read the story, the film’s effectiveness might not be as strong. Of course, that is no fault of the film, but a common issue with all movies based on books.
Taking one of the most well-known tales from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s numerous Holmes library (an impressive 60 stories) was a wise move and the cherry on top was casting the right people. I pondered the question as to whether you should watch The Hound of the Baskervilles, but then I realised the question was elementary. Of course you should watch it; it’s a delight.
As I acknowledged in my opening paragraph, I was worried as to how the audio, video and special features of the Twilight Time Blu-ray of The Hound of the Baskervilles would hold up. There was already a solid release of the film from Arrow Video for Region 2 viewers and we all know that Twilight Time Blu-rays can become quite pricey due to the limited nature of their releases.
Unfortunately, I have to say that I am a bit disappointed with the overall package. The video is the same dated transfer that Arrow Video provided–the audio is uncompressed 1.0 Mono, which I had no problem with–however, the special features that filled the Arrow Video release are missing. What is included is a short interview with Margaret Robinson–who wants you to know that the “hound” in the movie was very friendly–a short archival interview with Christopher Lee, Christopher Lee reading excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles–a delight–a booklet and finally a trailer. The disc, however, does include not one but two audio commentaries, which is one more than the Arrow Video disc had. If you happen to be a fan of audio commentaries, then this would be one big reason to pick up this Blu-ray.
• Isolated Music & Effects Track
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke
• Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee Hound
• Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson on The Hound of the Baskervilles
• Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles
• Original Theatrical Trailer
Alas, I must end this entry for you have probably given up reading it long ago. If I am to shrink my critique of The Hound of the Baskervilles Twilight Time Blu-ray down to one sentence for easy reading, I would say this about it: The Hound of the Baskervilles Blu-ray from Twilight Time is a worthwhile purchase, however, if you already own the Arrow Video release, there is no reason to purchase it again.