Before we say farewell to Hammer Films here’s one last movie. Not really a horror film but during their success with adapting classic horror tales they decided to adapt Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1959.
Several centuries ago the cruel Lord Baskerville chased after a woman who spurned his advances on the moors. When he finally caught up to her, he killed her with a dagger. A large hound, a hound of hell, appeared and murdered Lord Baskerville and now legend has it whenever a Baskerville is out on the moors a hound will appear and kill them.
The latest Baskerville, Sir Charles just met his death on the moors and Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis de Wolff) is concerned about the safety of the latest heir Sir Henry (Christopher Lee). Dr. Mortimer takes his case to Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and his trusted assistant Dr. Watson (André Morell). Holmes is intrigued by the story and agrees to meet with Sir Henry. Holmes remembers his has another case and sends Dr. Watson with Sir Henry to return to Baskerville Manor and keep an eye on him.
On the way to Baskerville Manor they hear about an escaped inmate. Once they arrive Watson meets Stapleton (Ewen Solon) and his daughter Cecille (Marla Landi) who help pull Watson out of quicksand. They are grouchy neighbours of the Baskervilles but Sir Henry is taken with Cecille. At night Sir Henry and Watson notice a light shining on the moors and go out to investigate. They encounter the escaped convict who flees and then hear the howls of a hound. Sir Henry has heart problems and Watson manages to get him back to the manor. Then Watson discovers that Holmes had arrived before they did and has already been investigating the case. In fact he’s already pretty close to solving everything but poor Sir Henry is about to walk into a trap.
Peter Cushing makes an excellent Holmes, he’s cocky, self assured and arrogantly right. Lee plays the helpless good guy for a change instead of the bad guy but he would later play Holmes himself in a couple of other movies. André Morell as Doctor Watson is absolutely perfect though. The plot didn’t follow Doyle’s story perfectly but it captured the spirit of it and it’s a shame that Hammer didn’t bother to make more Sherlock Holmes movies.