Monday, 25 October 2010

The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939

In a letter to his wife Margerie written in September 1939, Lowry mentions 3 films that he saw while in Vancouver during the Fall of 1939. One was Wyler's Wuthering Heights, the second was The Hound Of The Baskevilles with Basil Rathbone and the third was the cartoon Playful Polar Bears.

I also saw The Hound of the Baskervilles which is altogether too deep for me. A poor devil keeps losing his left hunting boot for no valid reason, and there is a harmless pooch that lives in a grave. The Collected Letters of Malcolm Lowry Volume 1.

He goes on to make disparaging comments about the set which he thinks was designed for Wyler's Wuthering Heights which he had been critical of in the same letter. He also mentions the performance of "a relative of suspiciously adjacent nomenclature; Morton Lowry Well."

Born in London, Morton Lowry began a career to pursue acting on the London Stage. Even in his youth he remained a commanding presence with his volatile, yet dignified persona. During his many years of success on the London Stage he often perfected evil, authoritative roles which had such a desired effect upon himself a nd the public that later in the 1930s he moved on the Hollywood to began in the Film Industry. Starting out in unknown bit parts, his impeccable breakthrough p erformance was that of the murderous John Stapleton in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939). He was indeed a brilliant performer with his glinty green eyes, smooth light brown hair, and handsome yet dark and imposing features. His performances on both stage and screen were so good to the extent that he ironically had a chieved the same success on screen as he did on stage. He moved on the numerous other roles in whatever he was offered, yet he was usually identifiable playing nasties such as the brutal schoolteacher Mr. Jonas in How Green Was My Valley (1941). Yet no matter what role he was playing good or evil, he brought the exact same charisma to both. By the late 1960s he retired from stage, for he was always careful not to be typecast as an actor. His success in such roles rank along with others favorites among Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Montagu Love, Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone, 'Peter Lorre' and many others. IMDb

The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939 mystery film based on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is directed by Sidney Lanfield and produced by 20th Century Fox.

It is the most well-known cinematic adaptation of the book, and is often regarded as one of the better, though very inaccurate, films.

The film stars Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson and Richard Greene as Henry Baskerville. Because the studio apparently had no idea that the film would be such a hit, and that Rathbone and Bruce would make many more Sherlock Holmes films and be forever linked with Holmes and Watson, top billing went to Richard Greene, who was the film's romantic lead. Rathbone was billed second. Wendy Barrie, who played Beryl Stapleton, the woman with whom Greene falls in love, received third billing, and Nigel Bruce, the film's Dr. Watson, was billed fourth. In all other Holmes films, Rathbone and Bruce would receive first and second billing.
The Hound of the Baskervilles also marks the first of the fourteen Sherlock Holmes movies starring Rathbone and Bruce as the detective duo.


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