Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

The first of the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films is also the best. Exquisitely designed, expertly directed and acted, it is an exercise in atmospheric mystery done in the best old Hollywood style. Made with the full resources of the Fox studio, the miniatures and models of the Moor, Baskerville Manor, and other settings are works of art in themselves that I never tire of looking at, especially after repeat viewings when you know how the mystery ends.

Made in the peak year of Hollywood's golden age, when the studio system was firing on all cylinders, it launched one of the most enduring series of films and gave us what many consider to be the definitive screen portrayal of Doyle's sleuth. Rathbone and Bruce would team up for 13 more Holmes films together (one more at Fox, and then a dozen for Universal, where the series took a slightly different but no less entertaining turn).

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