The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002 film)

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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
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,[1] and adapted by Allan Cubitt.[2] The film stars Richard Roxburgh as Sherlock Holmes and Ian Hart as Doctor Watson.[1] Hart would play Watson again in the 2004 TV film Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, also written by Cubitt.[3][4] The hound was a mix of animatronics and computer generated images[4][5] and was created by the same team, Crawley Creatures and Framestore, that provided the dinosaurs for Walking with Dinosaurs and The Lost World.[4][2]

Critical reaction[edit]

Richard Scheib of The Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review called the film "one of the best Sherlock Holmes screen adaptations to date, and arguably the best of all screen versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles that we have."[6] Pamela Troy of wrote, "There's a lot that may outrage fans of the original novel, but this is, nonetheless, a respectful, interesting, and worthwhile adaptation."[7] Charles Prepolec of the Sherlock Holmes fansite wrote, "In the end, it is a compelling, if somewhat infuriating, film to watch. Not a great Holmes film, and certainly not the greatest version of this story, but it is fascinating television drama."[2]

Differences from the novel[edit]

  • Sherlock Holmes is shown to be using drugs despite having a challenging case, contrary to the literary depiction in which he uses cocaine recreationally only in the absence of mental exercise.
  • Stapleton is depicted to be the anthropologist instead of Mortimer. Stapleton's (or Mortimer's) interest in entomology is omitted.
  • The character of Dr. Mortimer's wife is shown, depicted as a medium.
  • This version portrays a séance performed by Dr. Mortimer's wife.[4] This scene never appeared in the original novel, though a similar scene did appear in the 1939 Basil Rathbone version of the film.[4]
  • In this film, the escaped convict Selden attacks Sir Henry in Baskerville Hall. In the novel, Selden is largely only spoken of until his death.
  • Stapleton murders his wife in this film. In the novel, Mrs. Stapleton survives.
  • Sir Henry is seriously mauled by the hound in the film — although he is saved in time to receive treatment — whereas in the novel, Holmes and Watson arrive in time to prevent any true harm to Sir Henry.
  • In the novel, Stapleton apparently dies in the Grimpen Mire. In the movie, Stapleton is shot dead by Watson right before Stapleton was to shoot Holmes, though he still falls into the mire as Holmes was 'drowning' in it before being saved by Watson.
  • Mr Frankland and his daughter Laura Lyons are completely omitted.
  • In the novel, Holmes speculates on various methods that Stapleton could have used to acquire the inheritance of Baskerville Hall — his main motive for the whole scheme — without anyone suspecting him for Sir Henry's death due to the anomaly of him living so close to the estate under an assumed name (Options included inheriting the estate after moving back to South America, adopting a disguise to deal with the necessary paperwork, or setting someone else up as the 'official' heir while receiving a sizeable income of his own). In the movie, Stapleton's motives are clearly established as being based on nothing more than a personal vengeance against the family that disinherited his father, Holmes realising during his confrontation that Stapleton has no interest in the inheritance.
  • Stapleton's real name in the film is John Baskerville. In the novel he was named Rodger after his father.
  • In the novel, Stapleton's wife/sister was a native to Costa Rica. In the film, she appears to be a native of Britain instead. Any reference to South America has been omitted, as is Stapleton's funding a Yorkshire school under the name Vandeleur.
  • Rodger Baskerville, instead of fleeing creditors as he did in the novel, was drummed out of the Guards for conduct unbecoming, and when penniless, married a prostitute named Mary Prescott.
  • The film misses a scene where a pony falls in the swamp when Dr. Watson converses with Stapleton while walking to his place. Instead they convey the fact in the beginning when convict is chased by policemen who drown in it.
  • Cartwright, Holmes's messenger is not mentioned in the film.
  • In the film, the cabman refuses to tell about his passenger and Holmes had to force him to do so. Also the incident is shown in the film after Watson leaves to go to Baskerville Hall but in the novel is actually before.
  • The legend of the hound and Hugo Baskerville is heavily changed. In the novel, Hugo was infatuated with a farmer's daughter whom he kidnapped and imprisoned. She escaped and Hugo pursued her. Both were found dead. She had died from fright, but a giant spectral hound stood guard over Baskerville's body. The hound tore out Baskerville's throat, then vanished into the night. In the film, Hugo instead has a wife whom he beats out of a jealous belief that she was having an affair with a neighbour. He pursues her across the moor and kills her, but her own hound follows and kills Hugo even as he fatally stabs the creature, and the hound's ghost has since haunted the family.


External links[edit]