Murder at the Baskervilles (1937)

Genres - Adventure, Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film, Whodunit  |   Release Date - Jul 1, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 66 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The last of the Sherlock Holmes films to star Arthur Wontner as the famous detective, Murder at the Baskervilles is a moderately entertaining divertissement, especially for those who have never had the pleasure of encountering Wontner's Holmes. Physically, one could hardly ask for better casting, but fortunately Wontner's dramatic portrayal is every bit as effective. If he lacks the delicious fire of Jeremy Brett's or a bit of the quiet intensity of Basil Rathbone's, he still possesses a charm of his own and definitely knows when to underplay and when to go for the kill. His Watson, Australian actor Ian Fleming, is also quite good, but Lyn Harding's Moriarty is woefully lacking the sheer essence of evil that the character requires, coming across as no more dangerous than any standard issue gangster of the period. Murder is further hurt by a meandering story (brought about by padding the original short story) and the pointless dragging in of characters from The Hound of the Baskervilles. Thomas Bentley's direction is adequate, but not enough to cover the fact that the film is a low budget affair; the lighting is often poor, some sets are seriously cardboard, and the editing is often haphazard. Still, as long as Wontner is on screen, it provides a decent amount of entertainment.