The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

78 mins | Drama | 31 March 1939

Director:

Sidney Lanfield

Writer:

Ernest Pascal

Cinematographer:

Peverell Marley

Editor:

Robert Simpson

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel was first serialized in The Strand magazine between Aug 1901 and Apr 1902. The film was also reviewed as Hound of the Baskervilles . Pre-production news items in HR note that Irving Cummings was slated to originally direct this film, but he was re-assigned to The Story of Alexander Graham Bell and replaced by William Seiter , who was later replaced by Sidney Lanfield. According to other news items in HR , Wendy Barrie replaced Anita Louise in the female lead after Robert Kane, the head of foreign production at Fox, advised the studio that the British would not accept the picture unless it featured an all-English cast. Other items in HR note the following about the production: a new, light-weight aluminum camera rail was used in this picture; technicians claimed that it was much quieter than the old type of rail. Alfred Werker stepped in to finish directing the picture so that Sidney Lanfield could prepare for When Winter Comes . Among the many films that have been based on the Arthur Conan Doyle novel are a 1922 FBO film directed by Maurice Elvey; the 1932 British film First Division directed by V. Gareth Gundrey and starring John Stuart and Reginald Bach; and the 1977 British film Hound of the Baskervilles directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. This film was the first Holmes picture to star Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Rathbone and Bruce went on to make one other Holmes picture for Fox, the 1939 film Adventures ... More Less

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel was first serialized in The Strand magazine between Aug 1901 and Apr 1902. The film was also reviewed as Hound of the Baskervilles . Pre-production news items in HR note that Irving Cummings was slated to originally direct this film, but he was re-assigned to The Story of Alexander Graham Bell and replaced by William Seiter , who was later replaced by Sidney Lanfield. According to other news items in HR , Wendy Barrie replaced Anita Louise in the female lead after Robert Kane, the head of foreign production at Fox, advised the studio that the British would not accept the picture unless it featured an all-English cast. Other items in HR note the following about the production: a new, light-weight aluminum camera rail was used in this picture; technicians claimed that it was much quieter than the old type of rail. Alfred Werker stepped in to finish directing the picture so that Sidney Lanfield could prepare for When Winter Comes . Among the many films that have been based on the Arthur Conan Doyle novel are a 1922 FBO film directed by Maurice Elvey; the 1932 British film First Division directed by V. Gareth Gundrey and starring John Stuart and Reginald Bach; and the 1977 British film Hound of the Baskervilles directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. This film was the first Holmes picture to star Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Rathbone and Bruce went on to make one other Holmes picture for Fox, the 1939 film Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (see above). In 1941, Rathbone signed a contract with M-G-M, who loaned him to Universal to play the role of Holmes for a series of low budget films. Universal then hired Bruce to appear as Watson and together the pair appeared in a total of fourteen Holmes films. Their last film was the 1946 picture Dressed to Kill . They also made a cameo appearance, parodying their characters, in director Edward Cline's 1943 Universal film Crazy House . In addition to films, the pair starred as Holmes and Watson on 275 radio episodes, from 1939-43 on the NBC radio network and from 1943-46 on the Mutual network. For additional information on the series and other films featuring the Arthur Conan Doyle characters, consult the Series Index and See Entry for Sherlock Holmes . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Mar 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Mar 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 38
pp. 4-5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
28 Mar 39
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Mar 39
p. 52.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Apr 39
p. 28, 30
New York Times
25 Mar 39
p. 19.
Variety
29 Mar 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (London, 1902).
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
31 March 1939
Production Date:
late November 1938--8 February 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
31 March 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8875
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78
Length(in feet):
7,142
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5037
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In turn-of-the-century England, mystery shrouds the deaths of the hereditary heads of the Baskerville estate. According to legend, a vicious hound stalks the descendents of Sir Hugo Baskerville in order to avenge the death of an abducted peasant girl. Latest to assume the heritage is young Sir Henry, who arrives from Canada after the mysterious death of his uncle. Suspecting that murder is afoot, the family physician, James Mortimer, sends for Sherlock Holmes and his associate, Dr. Watson, to investigate. Holmes dispatches Watson to the moors of Dartmoor to protect Sir Henry, while the great detective lurks in the background, undercover. Before Holmes's appearance at the estate, Watson meets neighbors John Stapleton and his charming half sister Beryl, the irascible Frankland, and the mysterious butler Barryman and his wife. As the bloodcurdling baying of the hound drifts across the moors, Mrs. Barryman's escaped convict brother is murdererd while wearing Sir Henry's clothes. This prompts Holmes to decide that he must set the stage for attempted murder in order to trap the killer, and thus he announces that he is leaving for London. That night, on the mist-shrouded moor, the ghostly figure of the ferocious hound rushes toward its victim, Sir Henry, but Holmes and Watson shoot the beast before it can kill its target. Afterward, in the great hall of the manor, Holmes unmasks the hound's master, John Stapleton, as a distant relative of Sir Hugo and proves that he was jockeying to place himself in line to inherit the Baskerville ... +


In turn-of-the-century England, mystery shrouds the deaths of the hereditary heads of the Baskerville estate. According to legend, a vicious hound stalks the descendents of Sir Hugo Baskerville in order to avenge the death of an abducted peasant girl. Latest to assume the heritage is young Sir Henry, who arrives from Canada after the mysterious death of his uncle. Suspecting that murder is afoot, the family physician, James Mortimer, sends for Sherlock Holmes and his associate, Dr. Watson, to investigate. Holmes dispatches Watson to the moors of Dartmoor to protect Sir Henry, while the great detective lurks in the background, undercover. Before Holmes's appearance at the estate, Watson meets neighbors John Stapleton and his charming half sister Beryl, the irascible Frankland, and the mysterious butler Barryman and his wife. As the bloodcurdling baying of the hound drifts across the moors, Mrs. Barryman's escaped convict brother is murdererd while wearing Sir Henry's clothes. This prompts Holmes to decide that he must set the stage for attempted murder in order to trap the killer, and thus he announces that he is leaving for London. That night, on the mist-shrouded moor, the ghostly figure of the ferocious hound rushes toward its victim, Sir Henry, but Holmes and Watson shoot the beast before it can kill its target. Afterward, in the great hall of the manor, Holmes unmasks the hound's master, John Stapleton, as a distant relative of Sir Hugo and proves that he was jockeying to place himself in line to inherit the Baskerville estate. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.