Monday, April 4, 2011

On Screen -- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Rathbone, Greene, and Atwill
 "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a very entertaining mystery based on a story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  This is the first on screen pairing of Basil Rathbone as "Sherlock Holmes" and Nigel Bruce as "Dr. John Watson".  The chemistry between these two actors is pure magic.  I'm not going to write too much about the story because I'm sure everyone knows it by now.  Basically Holmes and Watson are brought in to investigate the legend of a vicious hound that menaces the descendants of Sir Hugo Baskerville.  Holmes not believing in the legend of the hound rounds up the probable suspects in his own elementary and often imitated style.

This is probably one of the best known big screen versions of the story, and Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce went on to star together in a total of twelve Sherlock Holmes films.  This film also has a strong supporting cast including  Richard Greene who plays a dual role as both Sir Hugo and Sir Henry Baskerville.  Greene achieved fame in the 1950s as televisions' "Robin Hood".  Also costarring are Lionel Atwill as "Dr. Mortimer", John Carradine as "Barryman" the butler, and Wendy Barrie as "Beryl Stapleton". 

TCM Trivia Note  --  In the original novel, and in all later film versions, the butler is named Barrymore. In 1939  this had to be changed to Barryman because the famous Barrymore family was still acting in films.  In fact, John Barrymore himself portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a 1922 silent feature.

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