Sherlock Holmes: Murder At The Baskervilles

Overview

Thomas Bentley's Murder at the Baskervilles (1937; original British title: Silver Blaze) closed out Arthur Wontner's four-movie stand as Sherlock Holmes, supported by the character actor Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson. Sadly, there seems not to have been a truly good-looking (forget pristine) source available for the movie in many decades, and there's nothing exceptionally good about the source for this DVD, except for the sound. The box claims a running time of 75 minutes, officially it runs 71 minutes, and the ...
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Overview

Thomas Bentley's Murder at the Baskervilles (1937; original British title: Silver Blaze) closed out Arthur Wontner's four-movie stand as Sherlock Holmes, supported by the character actor Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson. Sadly, there seems not to have been a truly good-looking (forget pristine) source available for the movie in many decades, and there's nothing exceptionally good about the source for this DVD, except for the sound. The box claims a running time of 75 minutes, officially it runs 71 minutes, and the actual running time on the disc is 65 minutes. The image is highly variable in density and contrast -- one can see the shine on some of the woodwork in one setting, yet in that same scene (and much of the rest of the movie), most of the faces show little detail in anything wider than medium shots and sometimes not even in the close-ups. One wide shot in Baskerville hall is nearly totally whited out, as far as any detail to half the objects or all the faces is concerned -- this is usually the result of too much light being pumped through a film source, which is usually necessary when a print is too dark or a telecine operator isn't being sufficiently careful with an older or badly worn source. In its defense, the dissolves and edits are smooth, and the audio (apart from a slight drop in one of the middle reels) is consistent and set at a healthy volume, so much so that the totally unnatural sound ambience comes through in the outdoor scenes. Overall, the movie is just watchable, as an artifact of a lost era of movie thrillers, but this is nowhere near as attractive as the best of the "public domain" Basil Rathbone Holmes films. The usual Alpha Video six chapter stops aren't really adequate for a movie with a plot this complex, but they'll have to do, and are accessible through a simple menu that opens automatically on startup.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The last of the Sherlock Holmes films to star Arthur Wontner as the famous detective, Murder at the Baskervilles is a moderately entertaining divertissement, especially for those who have never had the pleasure of encountering Wontner's Holmes. Physically, one could hardly ask for better casting, but fortunately Wontner's dramatic portrayal is every bit as effective. If he lacks the delicious fire of Jeremy Brett's or a bit of the quiet intensity of Basil Rathbone's, he still possesses a charm of his own and definitely knows when to underplay and when to go for the kill. His Watson, Australian actor Ian Fleming, is also quite good, but Lyn Harding's Moriarty is woefully lacking the sheer essence of evil that the character requires, coming across as no more dangerous than any standard issue gangster of the period. Murder is further hurt by a meandering story (brought about by padding the original short story) and the pointless dragging in of characters from The Hound of the Baskervilles. Thomas Bentley's direction is adequate, but not enough to cover the fact that the film is a low budget affair; the lighting is often poor, some sets are seriously cardboard, and the editing is often haphazard. Still, as long as Wontner is on screen, it provides a decent amount of entertainment.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/10/2003
  • UPC: 089218416698
  • Original Release: 1937
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Region Code: 0
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:15:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 72,260

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes
Ian Fleming Dr. Watson
Lawrence Grossmith Sir Henry Baskerville
Gilbert Davis Miles Stamford
Arthur Goullet Col. Sebastian Moran
Eve Gray Mrs. Straker
Judy Gunn Diana Baskerville
Lyn Harding Prof. Moriarty
Robert Horton Col. Ross
Arthur Macrae Jack Trevor
Minnie Rayner Mrs. Hudson
Ralph Truman Bert Prince
John Turnbull Insp. Lestrade
Martin Walker John Straker
D.J. Williams Silas Brown
June Carr
Technical Credits
Thomas Bentley Director
Sydney Blythe Cinematographer
Julius Hagen Producer
William Luff Cinematographer
Arthur Macrae Screenwriter
H. Fowler Mear Screenwriter
Alan Smith Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [10:08]
2. Chapter 2 [11:25]
3. Chapter 3 [9:25]
4. Chapter 4 [11:01]
5. Chapter 5 [13:48]
6. Chapter 6 [9:42]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
   Catalog
      View Catalog
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