The 1959 film

mardi 30 décembre 2014
par Me Esse

JPEG - 26.5 ko

Prologue

The infamous and cruel aristocrat, Sir Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley), is hosting a party at Baskerville Hall, when the daughter of a cruelly abused servant escapes from the mansion through a window, frightened by Baskerville’s lustful intent for her. In spite of his friends’ misgivings, Baskerville pursues her through the moor with a pack of beagles. The beagles and Baskerville’s horse are spooked and back off. Baskerville dismounts and pursues her on foot, finds her and stabs her to death with a curved dagger in the nearby abbey ruins. However, a huge dog, unseen but heard by the audience suddenly appears and kills Baskerville. From then on, as legend has it, the ’Hound of Hell’ has become known as the ’Hound of the Baskervilles’ and, any night a Baskerville is alone on the moor, the hound will kill him.

Plot

Several centuries later, the death of Sir Charles Baskerville is being reported by his best friend Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis de Wolff) to Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and Dr. Watson (André Morell), who are willing to meet the new owner of Baskerville Hall, Sir Henry (Christopher Lee). After meeting Sir Henry, Holmes remembers that he is going to be away on another case when Sir Henry returns to Baskerville Hall. Holmes puts Watson in charge of watching over Sir Henry. A tarantula attacks Sir Henry briefly in London ; Holmes suspects foul play. Before he leaves, Holmes reminds Watson not to let Sir Henry go out onto the moor after dark.

On the way to Baskerville Hall, the coach driver Perkins (Sam Kydd) warns that a convict named Selden (Michael Mulcaster) has escaped from nearby Dartmoor Prison two days ago. Watson remembers the case : Selden was convicted of murdering a number of street women ; due to his being found insane, he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead of hanging.

While at Baskerville Hall, Watson meets a man named Stapleton (Ewen Solon) and his daughter Cecille (Marla Landi), who save him from sinking into quicksand in the Grimpen Mire. Cecille seems to act strangely around both Sir Henry and Watson. At night, Watson sees a light shining upon the moor. He and Sir Henry investigate the mysterious light. While they are out on the moor, a strange man rushes by them. Watson and Sir Henry pursue him but he gets away from them. The Baskerville hound howls, causing Sir Henry to suffer from heart problems. A figure is silhouetted on a hill in the distance. Watson helps Sir Henry back to Baskerville Hall.

Soon, Watson discovers that the silhouetted figure was Holmes ; Holmes had arrived hours after Watson did. They find out that the convict, Selden, who is the butler Barrymore’s brother-in-law, was the one signalling with the light the other night and that Barrymore and his wife were the ones returning the signal. The hound has mistakenly killed Selden because Selden was wearing Sir Henry’s clothes, given to him by his sister, Barrymore’s wife. Holmes is almost trapped inside the old mine while investigating.

Cecille takes Sir Henry out to the moor one night. By now, Holmes has solved the case : The Stapletons are illegitimate descendants of Sir Hugo and are next in line to inherit the Baskerville fortune and mansion if all of the Baskervilles perish. Cecile has taken Sir Henry out onto the moor so that he may be killed by the hound – a dog kept by Stapleton, not a ghost as many were led to believe. Holmes and Watson rush out just in time to hear Cecile reveal her intentions to a horrified Sir Henry. The dog attacks Sir Henry. Stapleton attacks Watson with the legendary curved dagger used by Sir Hugo and is shot and wounded by Watson. Holmes shoots the dog ; it then turns on Stapleton and mauls him to death. Cecille flees after Holmes kills the beast, revealing it to be a great Dane wearing a hideous mask to make it look more terrifying. Cecile accidentally falls into the mire and slowly sinks to her death. Holmes and Watson take a shocked Sir Henry back to Baskerville Hall.

Changes from the novel There are several significant changes in plot details. Among them :


- Sir Henry arrives from Toronto in the novel, while he arrives from Johannesburg in the film.
- Sir Henry does not suffer a minor heart condition in the novel, as he does in the film.
- There is nothing involving a ritual sacrifice, a tarantula or a mine shaft in the novel, nor is Holmes thought to have been accidentally trapped in a cave-in.
- Rather than being Stapleton’s daughter, Miss Stapleton is Stapleton’s wife in the novel and is playing the part of his sister. In the novel, Holmes, Watson and Lestrade eventually find her bound, gagged and badly bruised after being mistreated by Stapleton. She does not hate Sir Henry, as she does in the film, and is a far more sympathetic character in both the novel and in nearly all the other film versions of the story. (In the 1939 film version she is Stapleton’s stepsister, but she is completely unaware of his criminal actions until Holmes reveals the truth. Miss Stapleton falls in love with and presumably marries Sir Henry in the 1939 film.)
- Miss Stapleton survives in the novel, whereas in the film she drowns in the Grimpen Mire.
- In the novel, the hound is made to look "demonic" through the use of phosphorus paint, but in the film the same effect is accomplished with a mask. The hound was played by a brindled Great Dane.
- There is no attempt on the life of Sir Henry in the hotel, as in this film.
- The painting next to the staircase does not go missing in the novel, as Stapleton’s webbed hand is a creation of the filmmakers.
- The bishop and Frankland in the novel were two separate characters entirely.
- Stapleton does not get mauled to death after being shot by Watson in the novel ; he simply disappears and is presumed to have drowned in the Grimpen Mire.
- Dr. Mortimer is never put in charge of watching over Sir Henry ; therefore he is not considered negligent by Watson when Sir Henry ventures out onto the moor alone.



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