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Murder at the Baskervilles

Murder at the Baskervilles

UPC: 089218416698

Format: DVD

Release Date: Jun 10, 2003

Rating: NR

Regular price $13.95 USD
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Thomas Bentley's Murder at the Baskervilles (1937; original British title: Silver Blaze) closed out Arthur Wontner's four-movie stand as Sherlock Holmes, supported by the character actor Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson. Sadly, there seems not to have been a truly good-looking (forget pristine) source available for the movie in many decades, and there's nothing exceptionally good about the source for this DVD, except for the sound. The box claims a running time of 75 minutes, officially it runs 71 minutes, and the actual running time on the disc is 65 minutes. The image is highly variable in density and contrast -- one can see the shine on some of the woodwork in one setting, yet in that same scene (and much of the rest of the movie), most of the faces show little detail in anything wider than medium shots and sometimes not even in the close-ups. One wide shot in Baskerville hall is nearly totally whited out, as far as any detail to half the objects or all the faces is concerned -- this is usually the result of too much light being pumped through a film source, which is usually necessary when a print is too dark or a telecine operator isn't being sufficiently careful with an older or badly worn source. In its defense, the dissolves and edits are smooth, and the audio (apart from a slight drop in one of the middle reels) is consistent and set at a healthy volume, so much so that the totally unnatural sound ambience comes through in the outdoor scenes. Overall, the movie is just watchable, as an artifact of a lost era of movie thrillers, but this is nowhere near as attractive as the best of the "public domain" Basil Rathbone Holmes films. The usual Alpha Video six chapter stops aren't really adequate for a movie with a plot this complex, but they'll have to do, and are accessible through a simple menu that opens automatically on startup.
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