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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Directed by David Attwood
Written by A. Conan Doyle (novel)
Allan Cubitt
Starring Richard Roxburgh
Ian Hart
Richard E. Grant
Release date(s) 2002
Running time 100 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 2002 television adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel of the same name. Produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for the BBC, it was shown on BBC One on Boxing Day, 2002. It was directed by David Attwood, and adapted by Allan Cubitt. The film starred Richard Roxburgh as Sherlock Holmes and Ian Hart as Doctor Watson. Hart would play Watson again in the 2004 TV film Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, also written by Cubitt. It was aired again in 2010, on the BBC.

Plot

The basic plot is fundamentally the same as the original Doyle story, but there are radical changes in many details, including the addition of a much more violent ending and three more deaths. The more notable changes include:

  • The initial examination of Dr. Mortimer's walking stick is absent. Dr. Mortimer himself is portrayed as being in his early or mid 50's, instead of the young man in his 30's from the book.
  • The film adds a scene at a Turkish bath.
  • We see Selden at the beginning, and the protagonists know of him before coming to Dartmoor. Also, two policemen drown in the mire whilst chasing the escaped murderer.
  • A major character from the book, Laura Lyons, is completely absent, and Sir Charles is having an affair with Beryl Stapleton.
  • Holmes uses cocaine throughout the film. In the Doyle canon, he periodically uses cocaine, but never in The Hound. Holmes describes cocaine as a substitute for the excitement he would normally find in a case and thus only uses it when lacking a problem to solve.
  • Sir Henry spots his brown boot hidden under a cabinet in his room at the Northumberland hotel in the book, whereas in the film it is handed back to him by a porter.
  • Dr. Mortimer is portrayed as somewhat untrustworthy, lying to Holmes about his inheritance.
  • A hidden passageway in Baskerville Hall is invented.
  • Mrs Barrymore covers for her husband's candle-waving activities by pretending that he is cheating on her, rather than admitting that he is signalling to her convict brother.
  • Selden, the convict, breaks into Baskerville Hall and fights with Sir Henry.
  • The time of year is Christmas and a Christmas party is added.
  • Holmes breaks into Stapleton's house.
  • Borrowing from the 1939 film adaptation, Mrs. Mortimer is a medium who hosts a séance.
  • Stapleton is the anthropologist instead of Mortimer, who has a much smaller role. Stapleton was a naturalist in the book, a butterfly collector. The doctor had been the one excavating a body in a barrow. In the book there was a character called Frankland who was obsessed by enforcing little used laws to get people into trouble (not intentionally) and he was planning to get the doctor in trouble with the law for not having Next-of-kin permission to open the grave. Frankland was not included. In the book Watson discovered Holmes not only after seeing him on the tor, but also after Frankland saw a boy taking food to Holmes, through his roof-mounted telescope.
  • Stapleton calls the Hound with a dog whistle when Sir Henry joins them for dinner. In the book, the hound is not seen until the end.
  • Sir Henry is badly injured by the hound at the end of this film and is never seen in the close of the film. In the book, he is more or less unharmed.
  • At a dinner party, elements of A Study in Scarlet are used in conversation.
  • Beryl is abused by Stapleton throughout the film and is hanged by him at the end. In the book, she survives, though the abuse stands (she shows her bruises to Holmes)
  • In the book, the original hound of legend was the result of a contract between Hugo Baskerville and the devil, made after a madam escapes being kidnapped by Hugo. In the film, the hound belonged to Hugo's wife, who killed Hugo after he beat her to death.
  • In the book and in earlier films, the legend told of the Droit de seigneur abuse by an aristocrat, which was a relevant class concern in the 19th Century. In the 2002 film, the legend was concerned with marital infidelity.
  • Stapleton shoots Watson, Holmes gives chase and falls into the Grimpen Mire; Watson shoots Stapleton just as the latter is about to shoot the helpless Holmes. This is instead of Stapleton simply running away and drowning in the mire in his death alone.
  • Greater emphasis is placed on Watson's anger at Holmes for not telling him about Holmes following Watson to Baskerville Hall in secret than in the book, where Watson was initially offended but subsequently moved past it after Homes confirmed the value of his assistance.
  • In the book, the hound was kept in an old mine out in some hills on the moor that had virtually become islands after the mire had closed round them.
  • In the book, Stapleton's agenda, while never explicitly disclosed, is clearly interpreted as being designs on the inheritance, while his agenda in the film appears to be motivated by nothing more than revenge for his father's disinheritance

The moorland scenes were shot on the Isle of Man.

Trivia

Richard Roxburgh went on to portray Professor Moriarty in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, released the following year from this film.

External links

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