Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Hound of the Baskervilles [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Fisher, 1959)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Arrow Video / Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' / Region FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:26:34.439 / 1:26:35.440

Disc Size: 44,814,779,140 bytes / 32,657,229,859 bytes

Feature Size: 26,739,453,312 bytes / 26,174,017,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 29.93 Mbps

Chapters: 13 / 24

Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 1st, 2015 / July, 2016

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1882 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1882 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1800 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1800 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2037 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2037 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1799 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1799 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

New audio Commentary with Hammer experts Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby
Release the Hound: new interviews with hound mask creator Margaret Robinson and assistant director Hugh Harlow  (30:20)
Andre Morell: Best of British - a featurette looking at the late great actor Andre Morell and his work with Hammer (19:43)
The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes a 1986 documentary looking at the many incarnations of Conan Doyle's celebrated character, narrated and presented by Christopher Lee (46:04)
Actor's Notebook: Christopher Lee an archive interview in the which the actor recalls his experiences of making The Hound of the Baskervilles (12:59)
The Hounds of the Baskervilles Excerpts read by Christopher Lee (14:36 + 6:24)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:59)

Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Hammer archivist Robert J.E. Simpson, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

 

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke
• Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee (13:00)
• Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson on The Hound of the Baskervilles (14:52)
• Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles (6:22) and Mr. Sherlock Holmes (14:36)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:07)
• Isolated Music & Effects Track

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: Sherlock Holmes is the most filmed character of all time but it is arguably this 1959 re-telling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tale The Hound of the Baskervilles, from legendary horror studio Hammer and starring genre stalwarts Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, which stands as the super sleuth s finest cinematic hour.

Rising up out of the swirling mists of Dartmoor, Baskerville Hall stands tall and gloomy. Its occupant, Charles Baskerville, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. Could Sir Charles have been the victim of the so-called Baskerville Curse , which tells of a deadly beast that stalks the surrounding countryside? Unperturbed by the legend, next-in-line Sir Henry Baskerville (a rare leading man performance from Lee) sets out to Dartmoor to assume inheritance of the family estate, under the auspices of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and right-hand man Dr. Watson (Andre Morell).

Imbued with an atmosphere as thick as fog, The Hound of the Baskervilles is a superlative gothic yarn which benefits from game performances from Cushing, Lee and Morell, as well as the expert direction of Terence Fisher, known for helming many of Hammer's most celebrated efforts including The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Devil Rides Out.

 

 

The Film:

In the 17th century, the arrogant, cruel Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley) brutalizes a servant and prepares to turn the man's daughter over to his equally depraved companions, but she escapes. When he catches up with the girl in a ruined abbey, he kills her and then is attacked and killed himself by a huge hound that is never seen. The audience then learns that this story is being told in flashback to Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and Dr. Watson (Andre Morell) by Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis DeWolff). He was the physician and friend to the late Sir Charles Baskerville, who recently died -- apparently of fright -- on the Devonshire moors near that same ruined abbey. Holmes is very skeptical, but agrees to meet Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee), who has just arrived in London to claim the estate. Sir Henry is cold and aloof but becomes convinced he's in danger when he's almost bitten by a tarantula. Holmes insists that he not go to Baskerville Hall alone, so Holmes sends Watson to Devonshire with Sir Henry.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

The best Sherlock Holmes film ever made, and one of Hammer's finest movies. Fisher, at the peak of his career, used Conan Doyle's plot to establish a stylish dialectic between Holmes' nominally rational Victorian milieu and the dark, fabulous cruelty behind the Baskerville legend. This opposition is expressed within the first ten minutes, when he moves from the 'legend' with its strong connotations of the Hellfire Club (the nobleman tormenting a young girl with demonic satisfaction) to the rational eccentricities of Baker Street. Holmes is indeed the perfect Fisher hero, the Renaissance scholar with strong mystical undertones, and Cushing gives one of his very best performances, ably supported by Morell (who does not make the usual mistake of overplaying Watson). Lee is in equally good form as the Baskerville heir, and Jack Asher's muted Technicolor photography is superb.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Hammer Studio's The Hound of the Baskervilles gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films in the UK.  It is dual-layered with a max'ed-out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. Colors show depth and there is no noise in the, many, darker sequences. The 1080P supports a very thick, film-like, presentation in the original 1.66:1 frame.  It's only minor flaw are a few unnoticeable speckles. This Blu-ray looks excellent in-motion with impressive detail in the few close-ups.

 

I know that Twilight Time have had joint ventures with other UK producers and there is a lot of parity between these Blu-ray releases. Also a high bitrate if a notch below the Arrow - the image quality is almost exact - with a few grains of texture different. It also looks great in-motion!   

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It is clear, flat but packs an eerie presence along with screams exporting depth. India-born James Bernard (Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein) score adds to the Moor's spooky atmosphere and benefits from the lossless transfer. There is an optional score/effects track, optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Lossless and 24-bit if using DTS-HD Master as opposed to liner PCM. The Twilight Time is 2.0 channel and a bit more robust - but again, only the very discerning would not significant differences. Bernard's score elevates the atmosphere and still sounds exceptional. There are also English (SDH) subtitles but the Twilight Time (limited to 3.000 units) is region FREE.

 

Extras :

Arrow include a new audio Commentary with Hammer experts Marcus Hearn (who has done other commentaries for films; Night of the Big Heat, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell etc.) and Jonathan Rigby (commentaries include Frankenstein Created Woman and The Mummy among others) and they impart some impressive knowledge about the production and stars. Release the Hound is a new 1/2 hour video piece with interviews with hound mask creator Margaret Robinson and assistant director Hugh Harlow - as well as discussion by Mark Gatiss and Kim Newman. Andre Morell: Best of British - is a 20-minute featurette looking at the late great actor Andre Morell and his work with Hammer. The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes is a 45-minute, 1986, documentary looking at the many incarnations of Conan Doyle's celebrated character, narrated and presented by Christopher Lee. We get a 13-minute Actor's Notebook: Christopher Lee as an archival interview in the which the actor recalls his experiences of making The Hound of the Baskervilles. We 20-minutes worth of audio-only excerpts of Christopher Lee reading The Hounds of the Baskervilles, an original theatrical trailer and image gallery. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Hammer archivist Robert J.E. Simpson, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

 

A few similarities and a few differences. The Twilight Time as 2 commentaries - David Del Valle and Steven Peros on the first and a second with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke. Wonderful additions for the serious fans - notable value to the US release. The 13-minute Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee is duplicated as is a 1/4 hour with Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson (although minus assistant director Hugh Harlow) and the repeated Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles. There is a trailer, and the it also has the ability to access the isolated Music & Effects track. There are the usual liner notes from Julie Kirgo.

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Hammer Fans will be so pleased to own this keepsake release as part of their digital library. It retains all the studio's charm with the great sleuth's formidable reputation.  The Arrow Blu-ray is a gem with competently transferred a/v and extensive supplements in a beautiful package. This is easy to put in the 'must-own' category - a film I will revisit whenever the mood strikes - it makes me wish there were more of 'Hammer does Holmes' available. Strongly recommended!

 

I'm sure many region 'A'-locked fans will be ecstatic that this gem is now available is such a similarly sterling Blu-ray package. Another strong release from Twilight Time - solid a/v, commentaries, interviews, isolated score etc.... and absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 5th, 2015

July 12th, 2016

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

       HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE     ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!