Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles

IMG_2446 vs. The Hound of the Baskervilles - 1939- Poster.png

This is a semi-regular feature where I talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the 1902 classic in February for the Classics Club and watched the 1939 movie in March.  Most of the time I don’t know which will come out on top until I’ve worked my way through some of the criteria, and this is one of those times.  Let’s see how it all pans out.

The Story/Plot There’s a mad hound on the prowl in the moors of England and he’s killing the renowned Baskerville family.  When a concerned friend seeks out Sherlock Holmes for help, the detective sends his trusted assistant, Dr. Watson, to the spooky manor on the moors with the latest Baskerville descendent.  It’s a lonely place with few people, so the cast of characters is made up of the odd ducks that would want to live in such a place.  While the movie stayed fairly true to the book by only changing the sequence of some scenes, there was one glaring plot point that was so much better in the book. I don’t know why they changed it, maybe it was too juicy for the 1939 screen?   Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual The movie was able to show the absolute desolate setting of the moors, but the hound they showed was no match for my imagination.  Since this was way before the ability to do it justice on film I won’t hold it against the movie.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  Most people are familiar with Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Dr. Watson and these days it is because of the Sherlock Holmes films featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  In the beginning, when this film and others were made, it was Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  As I was reading the book I was picturing my own versions of Downey and Law and it worked for me.  It’s hard for anyone to quite match Downey’s manic and genius as Holmes.  Bruce as Watson was not at all what I expected from reading the book, he seemed more like poor comic relief than an intelligent assistant.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Ending The ending, while mostly the same, was missing part of the great reveal I mentioned in the plot.  There was a scandalous revelation and a scene showing a severe beating of a woman and I don’t know if they decided that the movie goers at the time just didn’t want to see that or what.  The end suffered for it.    Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is…the Book!!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on: (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) (Good Morning, Midnight/ The Midnight Sky) (Before I Go To Sleep) (The Little Prince) (Charlie St. Cloud) (Far From the Madding Crowd(The Girl on the Train) (Tuck Everlasting)  (Northanger Abbey) (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

7 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles

  1. Heather says:

    I only watched the Disney version! I’m ashamed. I’ve been meaning to read some of the Sherlock Holmes stories but still haven’t gotten around to it. I love your take on the movies versus the book. priceless!

  2. @breakerofthings says:

    Bruce is the defintive bumbling side-kick, but he does have a certain charm. Rathbone is the Holmes I grew up with, but there are others that are good. I agree that Downey does do a good Holmes, but I never really warmed to Law as Watson. In therms of Sherlock, I do often find myself wondering if Freeman is a better Watson than Cumberbatch as Holmes.

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