DER HUND VON BASKERVILLE (1936)
aka The Hound of the Baskervilles
Article 1891 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-19-2006
Posting Date: 10-16-2006
Directed by Carl Lamac
Featuring Peter Voss, Friedrich Kayssler, Alice Brandt
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson investigate reports of the return of a monstrous hound that has killed Lord Charles Baskerville and threatens the life of Lord Henry Baskerville.
This particular Sherlock Holmes novel must have been extraordinarily popular in Germany; I have several German versions of the movie on my hunt list, though this is the only one of them to become available to me. The movie also has a bit notoriety as being one of two films found by the Allies in Adolf Hitler’s bunker, a circumstance which may play into the fact that the movie has a lowly 1.6 rating on IMDB, a fate that the movie really doesn’t deserve, as it seems to be a fairly competent stab at the story. Granted, I can only tell so much; my version is in unsubtitled German, and it is largely my familiarity with the story (having read the book a few times and seen a couple of other screen versions of the story) that helped me to follow along. Holmes and Watson are played by Bruno Guttner and Fritz Odemar respectively, and it’s a little odd they don’t get top billing. Of course, the story does present a bit of a problem for Holmes fans anyway in that Holmes is absent from the action for a good half of the story, and that problem is compounded here by the fact that the first third of the movie is focused almost entirely on the birth of the legend (with the hound’s attack on Lord Hugo), the death of Lord Charles, and the secret of the Barrymores. The latter details would definitely have been better had it been incorporated into the main story, as it loses some of the mystery by revealing the details this early in the proceedings. Still, this appears to be a decent version of the story.
***NOTE*** Since I first wrote this review, the average rating for this movie on IMDB has risen to 3.8. Better, but still, hardly a respectable rating.