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The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Actors: Richard Roxburgh, Ian Hart, Richard E. Grant, Matt Day, John Nettles
Director: David Attwood
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 40min

In this energetic and bold adaptation, Conan Doyle?s legendary characters are portrayed with a pace and vigor that capture the spirit of the original story. Sir Charles of Baskerville lies dead on the moors of his family e...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Roxburgh, Ian Hart, Richard E. Grant, Matt Day, John Nettles
Director: David Attwood
Creators: Allan Cubitt, Christopher Hall, Gareth Neame, Greg Brenman, Julie Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/21/2003
Original Release Date: 01/19/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/19/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Excellent adaptation
Sean Brady | Victoria Australia | 07/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the best adaptations of the famous Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes book. It does take numerous liberties with the text but it's a handsomely mounted production featuring an excellent cast. Ian Hart is great as a more lively than usual Watson. Richard Roxburgh wouldn't have been my first choice as Holmes (co-star Richard E.Grant would have been my pick), but he does a fine job. The direction, costumes, lighting, special effects and excellent location work combine to make for a great looking production. The DVD itself is well worth purchasing. The widescreen transfer and audio are excellent, and the various interviews and 'making of' feature are informative. I mark this down one star because of the scriptwriter choosing to include Holmes' drug use. It doesn't add anything to the story and I assume that it was only added to be controversial. Holmes did not use drugs during a case...the character only succumbed to the needle to relieve his boredom between cases, and I don't recall his drug use being part of the original novel. At least we get to see Watson's disgust with Holmes' habit, but it doesn't excuse including it in this adaptation."
Too Bland Holmes, Too Young Watson, and Too Many Changes
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/10/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"When I heard that there is a new version of this Holmes story, and it contains Richard E Grant, I thought HE plays the great slueth himself. I thought then, well, Jeremy Brett is no longer with us, but he could be as good as him. Wrong! Not that Mr. Grant is not good. It turned out that Richard Roxburgh is Holmes, and sorry to say this, but his rendition is simply bland and colorless. He looks more like Lestrade, that famous but curiously unmemorable inspector.

But why not Richard E? Roxburgh, though a good actor, is not tall enough to be Holmes. (Richard E Grant is very tall.) But well, let's forget that now. Whoever plays Holmes must speak like Holmes. However, Holmes' delightfully ironic attitudes are gone in this version. To make matters worse, Ian Hart's Watson is too young to be convincing, and their speeches and manners are too modern. Look at one scene in which the doctor examines a dead body using a pair of white rubber gloves, as if he is a coroner in 'X-Files' and you can see that the produces didn't think much of the details. The two principal characters are so impossible that the film has no chance from the beginning.

There's more. I am not against changing the situations or story if the adaptation really needs it. However, this version went too far, especially in the second half of the book. Though the creepy atmosphere is effectively presented on the screen, the film treats some characters very clumsily. Sir Henry Baskerville, newly arriving at England, is too grim and even arrogant when his manners should be more Americanized; the butler Mr. Barrymore at the Bakerville Hall does not look mysterious enough; most incredibly, Selden the convict jumps through the window, breaking the glass like Buster Keaton. And look what happens to Miss (or Mrs) Stapleton. Oh, that's way too atrocious, and Conan Doyle would be horrified to hear the news.

Certainly this version gives a new approach to the already familiar material to us. But the point is, after all, why should we see a new version while we have already Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, and most of all, Conan Doyle? Why do we keep on watching filmed versions of the great detective? The only reason is that we want to meet Holmes, more lively and cynical one, and we need a better one than this."
Disappointing, My Dear Watson
John Floars | Woodbridge, VA USA | 04/12/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"After Jeremy Brett, any other Sherlock Holmes is likely to be considered a pale copy. In this case, there is nothing in this production that was not done far better in the Brett version.In contrast to Brett's wonderful quirkiness, Richard Roxburgh is curiously colorless. Watson is similarly undistinguished and also suffers from looking far too young to have been through what Watson had by the time he met Holmes and began their famous relationship.Besides the weakness of the main characters, the production suffers from the obvious implication that the people who made it were woefully ignorant of the source work. The dialogue is far too modern (as when Holmes says "I could MURDER a bottle of Montrachet," or Watson explains that "Parties are not Holmes's thing.") Such dialogue is straight out of the 1990s, not the 1890s.Anyone who reads Doyle's original stories will know that Holmes and Watson were in a sense soulmates. They shared a friendship (more than that, really; a nonsexual devotion that was perhaps unique to men of the Victorian Age) that this production misses entirely; in fact, Watson at one point declares that he does not trust Holmes. Such a feeling would have made the famous Holmes-Watson relationship impossible.In this production, Holmes has been turned into a hopeless cocaine addict. Anyone who has read the original stories knows that Holmes would never have used cocaine during a case; he was in fact known to fast during a case, because he did not want the requirements of digestion to hamper his mental efforts. He would have found the idea of shooting up during an investigation repugnant. Rather, the [chemical substance] was his escape from the boredom he experienced between cases. In the advertisements for the production, much was made of the computer-generated hound. Unfortunately, the beast suffers from LOOKING like a computer animation. Aside from that, the animal is simply too much -- too large, too evil-looking. If the explanation for the hound had been supernatural, its appearance would have been very appropriate. But it is entirely wrong for a NATURAL creature.In trying to impart an air of dreariness and gloom to the moors of Dartmoor, the production probably succeeds too well -- so well that it is difficult to imagine anyone actually living there by choice. The Brett version, by comparison, has wonderful cinematography of the moors lit in the golden glow of an autumn sun; it is a place I would like to visit -- a claim I cannot make of the locale seen in this "Hound."A few small points: In an apparent (and ill-advised) attempt to get away from some of the Holmes "cliches," this production turns him into solely a cigarette smoker. Holmes's preferred method of using tobacco was the pipe; Doyle says so, all other productions show that, and to change it is to change Holmes's character. (Speaking of which, I found the production's desire to turn Holmes into some sort of Victorian Mannix, in his handling of the cabby who transported the villain in London, utterly out of character. Holmes knew how to get information amiably, without violence; he seldom had to bash his informants about.)Also, this production shows Baker Street unpaved. Holmes lived in London, not Dodge City; if even the slums of Whitechapel were cobblestoned, a respectable neighborhood like Baker Street certainly would have been.If you want a first-class version of "Hound of the Baskervilles," get the Brett version. If you want a very good version, get the Rathbone version or even the Hammer Films version. All have one thing in common: They are better than this one."
Eccentric Flop
Christopher Leggette | Central Islip, New York United States | 03/22/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Why can't filmmakers trust the author (cf. Coppolla's ill-thought "Dracula")? Doyle was a craftsman; the Hound of . . . is arguably his most gripping and fascinating Holmes narrative; the Rathbone/Bruce version holds up beautifully; Hammer's Cushing/Lee outing, though lurid, is a delight; Jeremy Brett's BBC presentation is true to the core; but this latest entry is infuriating; Richard Roxburgh's Holmes verges on the sluggish (and I hold with the other discerning reviewer who cites the wrong-headedness of writing in a Holmes who used cocaine while on a case; apparently no one on the scriptwriting team read Doyle too closely), Hart's Watson testy and offputting, and black-hearted Stapleton -- here the always wonderful Richard Grant -- is far more appealing than the two leads; so much of this version just bogs -- the opening scene in Baker Street, for example, with Dr. Mortimer, a thrilling narrative in nearly every other filmed Hound, lies as flat as Roxburgh's line delivery. Don't engage this Holmes -- take a hansom cab to the real Baker Street where Rathbone, Cushing and Brett are enshrined. This is Road-show Doyle -- and he, as well as, Holmes, deserve 1st-class bookings. Always."