The Hound of the Baskervilles – Hammer Style

August 19, 2016 | By

Since the last post (August 9th), I finally had a phone line installed and a new number assigned, but it took another week before the internet was finally set up by my provider, which proved a bit more complicated for less bellicose issues, but now begins a bit of a battle to get my old number back, and see whether 27 years of loyalty to Bell can be salvaged, or has been ignominiously vaporized by an employee’s hasty blunder. This has been a stupid, prolonged, surreal ordeal that apparently isn’t so rarefied: when one does a keyword search for terrible experiences with Bell, there are some epic tales of woe.

HoundBaskervilles1959_Fr_poster_mSince being internet live as of this past Tuesday, it’s been an ongoing game of catch-up, and I admit I went a little overboard in adding related review material to augment my review of Twilight Time’s excellent Blu-ray edition of Hammer’s 1959 production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a fine entry in the Sherlock Holmes film series, with Peter Cushing proving yet again what a marvelous and versatile actor he was.

TT’s BR features dual commentaries by different sets of film historians, and I chose to add a few titles cited by them to show the diversity that did exist within Hammer during the late 50s and early 60s before they went all-monsters by the end of the decade. (The less we speak of 1969’s Moon Zero Two, the better…)

Cushing (Holmes) and co-star Andre Morell (Watson) co-starred in the great little real-time suspense thriller Cash On Demand (1961), which ostensibly involves a bank heist. That film is one of several packed into Sony’s Icons of Suspense collection.

Hound’s Christopher Lee (Lord Baskerville) and babe Marla Landi also co-starred in The Pirates of Blood River (1962), Lee’s first of two pirate films… in which he plays pirates, and does so very well! The second, The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) has some very interesting story twists which make it worth a peek, and both come with commentary tracks in Sony’s Icons of Adventure collection. In the future I’ll revisit the commentaries and augment the reviews, but time mandates straight film reviews of Hammer’s pokes at the exotic pirate genre.

I had drafted a review of Ted Newsom’s excellent 1997 documentary Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror, but as cited by one of the commentators in TT’s Hounds disc, the director’s released a newly expanded version of his classic doc that’s been out of print on DVD for some time. I’ll post the updated review when I get my hands on Newsom’s new version, which runs a meaty 40 mins. longer.

Coming next: Frank Henenlotter’s racy documentary That’s Sexploitation! (2013), released in an extras-packed Blu-ray by Severin.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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