The Hound of the Baskervilles | Sunday Observer

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The BBC film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Hound of the Baskervilles is directed by David Attwood and the screenplay is by Allan Cubitt. The film stars Richard Roxburgh as Sherlock Holmes, Ian Hart as Doctor Watson, Richard E. Grant as Jack Stapleton, Matt Day as Sir Henry Baskerville, John Nettles as Dr. James Mortimer, Geraldine James as Mrs. Mortimer, Neve McIntosh as Beryl Stapleton, Ron Cook as Mr. Barrymore and Liza Tarbuck as Mrs. Barrymore.

The plot revolves around the Baskerville family and the legend of the mysterious hound which surrounds it. The novel begins in the residence of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes in 221b Baker Street, London, England towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Dr. James Mortimer, a friend of Sir Charles Baskerville approaches Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery of the death of Sir Charles whom he suspects was killed by the hound. Mortimer also informs Holmes that Sir Charles’s nephew and heir Henry Baskerville is expected shortly to take up residence at Baskerville Hall. Holmes agrees to take on the case and realises early on that Mortimer and Henry are being followed by a stranger. Henry receives an anonymous letter written in alphabets cut out from a newspaper warning him to stay away from Baskerville Hall. Holmes sends his assistant Dr. Watson to accompany Henry to Baskerville Hall and also to report back to him about all the day-to-day happenings there.

On his first night at Baskerville Hall, Dr. Watson hears strange noises after midnight and decides to explore. A convict has escaped from prison and a state of emergency is declared. The next morning, while taking a walk in the moors surrounding Baskerville Hall, Dr. Watson meets the naturalist Stapleton who is the villain in the novel. As the mystery unravels, Holmes is faced with an adversary who is as clever as he is, and the final encounter between Holmes and Stapleton on the moors is chilling. Conan Doyle creates an atmosphere of gloom and foreboding, and paints a bleak yet true picture of the Devonshire moors near Baskerville Hall. The novel also provides an insight into the nature of evil and the diabolical skills of a villain.

The film stays faithful to the novel and the screenplay is beautifully written by Allan Cubitt and well directed by David Attwood. The BBC has made the best film adaptation of Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskerville’s and Richard Roxburgh, Ian Hart, Richard E. Grant, Matt Day and Neve McIntosh give brilliant performances.

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