8. Murder at the Baskervilles (1937)

IMDB score = 5.8/10

Holmes and Watson? = Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming

Synopsis = Sherlock Holmes takes a vacation and visits his old friend Sir Henry Baskerville. His vacation ends when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a double-murder mystery.

Defense by Paul Thomas Miller:

Unfortunately, the surviving copies of this film are not great quality. It looks a bit blurry and the sound is rather muffled. However, you soon get used to it, so don't give in straight away as it is well worth persevering.

I find it genuinely difficult to fault the film in any other ways. While Wontner plays Holmes in a rather aged and sedate manner, he is still very canonical. This is achieved by mixing in many different elements from the original stories. We have the air gun of Empty House, the Wigmore Street mud of Sign of the Four, wry humour about Watson's "knowledge of women" and discussions of Moriarty straight out of Valley of Fear.

The plot is, more or less, that of Silver Blaze but with a few subtle differences and some dollops of plot from other stories which creates something new that feels comfortably familiar. Moriarty may be an over-used character in adaptations, but they make good use of him in this by providing the excuse for some action. That's not to say Holmes doesn't get his fair share of chances to deduce, the movie makes full use of his unique talents.

Overall, a rather good film which I thoroughly enjoyed.