The Hound of Baskerville (1939)

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German title The Baskerville Dog
Original title The Hound of the Baskervilles
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1939
length 76 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Sidney Lanfield
script Ernest Pascal
production Darryl F. Zanuck
music Cyril J. Mockridge
camera J. Peverell Marley
cut Robert L. Simpson

Successor  →
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Dog of Baskerville is an American film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from 1939. The enormous success led 20th Century Fox to produce the film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the same year , again with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson .



While trying to escape an unknown threat, the heart-sick Sir Charles Baskerville collapses dead on the Dartmoore bog. Heart failure is found to be the cause of death, but Charles, long-time doctor and friend Mortimer, doubts this. When Charles Erbe, his nephew Henry, is due to arrive from Canada, Mortimer visits Holmes. At the place where the body was found, Mortimer found the footprints of an oversized dog. According to a legend, the nefarious Sir Hugo Baskerville was mauled by a giant dog centuries ago, and all of his heirs are also believed to have died in a mysterious and sudden manner later.

Sir Henry Baskerville turns out to be friendly and handsome. While walking, someone holds a pistol out of the car and a letter tries to prevent him from coming to Baskerville. Sir Henry's shoes are also disappearing in the hotel. Nevertheless, Henry begins the trip to Baskerville. He is accompanied by Dr. Mortimer and Dr. Watson, but not Holmes, who pretends to have another case. In the castle of Baskerville they meet the servant couple Barryman, who behave extremely strangely. So Mr. Barryman stands at the window in the middle of the night and gives light signals. Watson and Henry follow the illuminated sign, and in fact a gloomy, bearded figure escapes from the place. They do not know that it is Mrs. Barryman's brother, an escaped murderer, whom Mr. and Mrs. Barryman feed. That night they also hear the howling of the dog for the first time.

Watson and Henry meet the somewhat hypothermic ornithologist John Stapleton and his amiable sister Beryl. Beryl saves Henry from sinking into the moor and they both enjoy each other. At a Stapletons dinner with the neighbors - Dr. Mortimer and his wife, Beryl and John Stapleton, and hot-headed but not bad neighbor Frankland, who believes Charles was murdered - Mrs. Mortimer decides to hold a seance because she can allegedly speak to the dead. She asks Sir Charles why he died and the dog is heard howling. The mood is getting gloomy, but Henry Beryl makes a marriage proposal.

Dr. Watson is called into a cave where he meets an old junk dealer. This turns out to be Sherlock Holmes, who had been investigating Baskerville undercover for days. The reunion is interrupted by a death, they are eyewitnesses as the fugitive is killed by the dog. The Barrymans had given him old Sir Henry clothes, which leads him to believe that someone piqued the dog with Henry's missing shoe and that the dog mistakenly mistook the convict for Sir Henry. The dismayed Mrs. Barryman has to solve the secret of her brother.

Since both fear the place, Henry and Beryl want to emigrate to Canada the very next day. Holmes assures Sir Henry that the convict was responsible for everything and that his problems have been solved. He apparently leaves with Watson by train, but gets off again at the next stop. He is sure that the real culprit will strike in the night, as it is the last chance to kill Henry. With his departure Holmes only wanted to weigh the criminal in safety. He and Watson travel back, but the carriage breaks and they have to walk the rest of the way through the moor.

Meanwhile, Stapleton has given a farewell dinner. Sir Henry makes his way back on foot. John Stapleton turns out to be the criminal, he releases a beast and sets it on Sir Henry with his shoe. He is already fighting with the dog injured when the arriving Holmes and Watson shoot the dog. Stapleton locks Holmes in a chamber and visits Baskerville, where Sir Henry is looked after. He pretends to want to take care of this, but he wants to infuse him with a deadly poison. Holmes has freed himself and can prevent Stapleton from doing it. He exposes this as a culprit who also had Sir Charles on his conscience. Using a picture of Sir Hugo (he and Stapleton have the same eyes), he proves that he is related to the Baskervilles. He wanted to wipe out the whole family in order to inherit title and property himself. The oversized dog that Stapleton bought served not only as a murder weapon, but also as an apparent perpetrator.

Stapleton is able to escape, but Holmes has distributed police officers on all sides, so the only way he is left with is the deadly swamps of the Grimpon Myre. Sherlock returns to the room and apologizes to Mrs. Stapleton, Sir Henry thanks him.

Changes to the novel

  • Beryl Stapleton is John Stapleton's stepsister and not his wife in the film and she has no idea of ​​his crimes.
  • Sir Henry is not afraid of the moor or the dog's legend.
  • Sherlock Holmes sends Watson a message that leads Watson to his hiding place on the moor. In the novel, Watson finds the man on the top of the rock by himself. In the novel, Watson is not angry that Holmes went to Dartmoor after all, he is even relieved that Holmes is finally here. In the film he is angry, but sometimes also offended.
  • In the novel, Holmes does not go through the area disguised as a tramp.
  • The séance scene was freely invented by the author Ernest Pascal, but served as a template for later film adaptations and was taken up again , for example, in the BBC television film from 2002 with Richard Roxburgh as Sherlock Holmes.
  • The Baskerville servant and his wife are called Barryman in the film and not Barrymore as in the book, in consideration of the then famous Barrymores family of actors .
  • Frankland has a daughter who Sir Charles wanted to meet on the day of his death.


  • The film premiered in the United States on March 31, 1939. This is the only Sherlock Holmes film in which the Holmes actor is not first on the cast list. Rathbone (Holmes) was second behind Richard Greene (Sir Henry). Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson is only mentioned in fourth place.
  • This was the beginning of the famous Sherlock Holmes series with Basil Rathbone , which comprises a total of 14 films. While the later films were produced by Universal from 1942 onwards and were B-films, this film is sometimes very well-cast. In 1946, Rathbone discontinued the series to get rid of his image as Sherlock Holmes.
  • In the original version, Sherlock Holmes indicates the final sentence Watson - the Needle , to his heroin consumption. In the German dubbed version this was with Watson - Die Geige! or Watson, where are you? translated very harmlessly.
  • The film was released in 2006 together with the films The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , The Voice of Terror and The Secret Weapon by Koch Media Home Entertainment in a 4-DVD set. It contains both dubbed versions of the film and an audio commentary by a Sherlock Holmes expert. In September 2007 the film was also released as a single DVD. It contains the same film transfer and extras as the disc in the box.


A first dubbed version comes from the DEFA Studio for Synchronization in Leipzig. It was produced in 1984 based on a book by Heinz Nitzsche and directed by Margot Seltman . Studio Hamburg produced the second dubbed version in 1992 for ZDF .

role actor Dubbing (1984) Dubbing (1992)
Sherlock Holmes Basil Rathbone Walter Niklaus Walter Niklaus
Dr. Watson Nigel Bruce Hinrich Koehn Hinrich Koehn
Sir Henry Baskerville Richard Greene Dieter Bellmann Alexander Burk
Dr. Mortimer Lionel Atwill Hans Joachim Hegewald Franz Rudnick
Jennifer Mortimer Beryl Mercer Brigitte Kreuzer Ingeborg Christiansen
Mr. Barryman John Carradine Friedhelm Eberle Wolfgang Kaven
Mr. Frankland Barlowe Borland Kurt Berndt Franz-Josef Steffens
John Stapleton Morton Lowry Peter Rauch Kai Henrik Möller
Beryl Stapleton Wendy Barrie Ingrid Hille
Sir Hugo Baskerville Ralph Forbes Roland Hemmo Edgar Hoppe
Coachman Clayton EE Clive Fred-Arthur Geppert Peter Heinrich


The lexicon of international films described the film as a "true to original, atmospherically coherent film adaptation of the classic crime novel by Arthur Conan Doyle".

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Hound of Baskerville. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed August 9, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used