The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983 film)

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983 film).jpg
Genre Crime
Based on The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Written by Charles Edward Pogue
Directed by Douglas Hickox
Starring Ian Richardson
Donald Churchill
Theme music composer Michael J. Lewis
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Sy Weintraub
Producer(s) Otto Plaschkes
Eric Rattray (associate producer)
Alan Rosefielde (associate producer)
Cinematography Ronnie Taylor
Editor(s) Malcolm Cooke
Running time 100 minutes
Production company(s) Mapleton Films
Original network HBO
Original release
  • 3 November 1983 (1983-11-03)

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1983 British made-for-television mystery film directed by Douglas Hickox, starring Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes and Donald Churchill as Dr. John H. Watson. It is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.



In 1982, American producer Sy Weintraub partnered with English producer Otto Plaschkes to make six television films of Sherlock Holmes stories.[1] Charles Edward Pogue was enlisted to pen the screenplays[1] but only The Sign of the Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles were ultimately filmed before Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes series premiered in 1984.[1]

In an interview with Scarlet Street, Ian Richardson explained:

"That was the fly in our ointment. Initially, an unseen fly. You see, when Sy Weintraub was planning the films, he was unaware that the copyright on the Holmes stories was about to expire in England and he had to go through a great deal of legal negotiations with the Conan Doyle estate in order to gain permission to use them. However, he was totally ignorant of Granada's plans to film a series with Jeremy Brett...Weintraub was furious, because he'd paid a lot of money to get permission from the estate and here was Granada saying, 'Thank you - but we're going to do it.' So Weintraub took them to court. He had a very good case, apparently; but eventually there was an out of court settlement for an extraordinary sum of money - something like two million pounds - which was enough for Weintraub to cover his costs on both The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, and make a profit, too. And so he wrapped the project up."[1]

A large part of Martin Shaw's American accent was dubbed by another actor in post-production.

Differences from novel[edit]

  • In the original novel, the farm girl who is kidnapped by Sir Hugo Baskerville dies of "fear and fatigue" while escaping; three of Baskerville's companions witness the Hound killing the nobleman. In the film, the girl and the horse she has acquired in her escape stumble upon the Grimpen Mire. She manages to drag herself to safety, only to be met and raped by Baskerville. She is thereafter the sole witness to Baskerville's demise and the existence of the Hound.
  • Inspector Lestrade is assigned the task of arresting Seldon. Unlike previous versions of the story, he is revealed to be the policeman who arrested Seldon.
  • Brian Blessed's character Geoffrey Lyons never appears in the novel.[2] In the film version, Lyons is presented as an imposing suspect who is at one point falsely imprisoned for strangling his wife.[2] Holmes' solution to the case ultimately frees him.[2]
  • Laura Lyons dies in the film, strangled by the murderer to protect his identity. She does not die in the novel. The novel has Stapleton promising marriage to her if she can secure a divorce, but the film has her romantically linked to Sir Charles himself.
  • Stapleton's demise in the bog is included as a part of the film's climax. He ambushes Holmes, Watson and Beryl outside the Hound's lair, but is chased by Holmes into the moor; he stumbles into the mire and sinks to his doom, despite Holmes' frantic attempts to save him. The novel does not depict Stapleton's demise; he simply disappears on the moor and is assumed to have drowned in the mire.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Sherlock Holmes Society of London Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c The hound of the Baskervilles: another adventure of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Christopher Frayling

External links[edit]