Murder at the Baskervilles (1937)

aka Silver Blaze
Article 1873 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-1-2006
Posting Date: 9-28-2006
Directed by Thomas Bentley
Featuring Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming, Lyn Harding

Sherlock Holmes returns to the Baskerville estate and finds himself dealing with a double murder and a stolen race horse.

Sometimes I marvel at attempts to make a property more commercially appealing. I was quite amused that the writers of this adaptation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “Silver Blaze” was modified to bring in not only Dr. Moriarty, but the main character from “The Hound of the Baskervilles” as well. It’s been a while since I’ve read the original story, so I can’t say how close it keeps to it (though I do remember the role that the lame sheep played into it), but Arthur Wontner was a fine Holmes and Ian Fleming a good Watson. The main problem with the Wontner series was the static direction that plagued most of them. The fantastic elements are minimal here; in fact, they may be nonexistent if you don’t see how the presence of Henry Baskerville makes it something of a sequel to “The Hound of the Baskervilles” or how the machine gun disguised as a camera might be science fiction device of sorts. In fact, I have to say that none of these aspects quite cuts it for me either, and as far as fantastic content goes, this one is a red herring. For me, one of the most interesting things was that it was not Holmes that has the big scene with Moriarty, but Watson.

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