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The Hound of the Baskervilles
updated 12.08.2003

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I agree with other comments...what a marvelous production and a great treat for viewers. I can't believe no one else has mentioned what a great actor Richard E. Grant is. Such a superb villain! And a great romantic leading man as well. This actor can play any kind of role. His talent awes me. PBS and Masterpiece Theatre are brilliant for recognizing the talents of R.E. You rock!

Caroline P.
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I wonder why, in adapting Conan Doyle's story to a screenplay, the writers changed the legend of the Curse of the Baskervilles. Surely the original is more horrifying.

Claudia Davidsen
Ruskin, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Wonderfully done. Almost an Orson Welles-like touch in the lighting and the mysterious grandeur of the moor. I've never been there but I was drawn to them and walked them just as Watson and Holmes did. New feeling to the relationship between Watson and Holmes. A friendly irritation instead of Watsonian adulation of past presentations. Really a joy to watch. Thanks much.

Cassaundra Gilchrist
Washington DC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have never really sat down to watch a movie on PBS but this one drew me in from the get go. I think this was my first Masterpiece Theatre experience and I can truly say it is to be the first of many. Excellent film! You find yourself trying to stay one step ahead of the good detective. I have seen several movies trying to portray Sherlock Holmes and Watson and I think this was the first to get them right on, to portray them as Doyle wanted them to be seen.

Benjamin Gall
Randolph, NE

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for a fine effort in this adaptation of Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. It is very unusual to see a Sherlock Holmes who is so precariously on the edge of disaster at every turn. He is one of the most imperfect Holmes ever. It makes him one of the most human as well. This is a blessing and a curse. I have come to expect Holmes to be so very much in control -- an "automaton" in fact. It violates traditional notions about our favorite detective.

I have ordered a copy of this video from WGBH as I am a very big fan of the canon and thought this a worthy effort. However, I will watch it with mixed emotions as I cannot help but continue to compare this Holmes -- and any Holmes -- with the definitive portrayal of the famous detective by the late, great Jeremy Brett. "What a loss he is, doctor."

John Liddicoat
Elk Grove, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have been a devoted reader of the Sherlock Holmes stories since the age of twelve. I have seen many actors portray the great detective and his friend, Dr. Watson. In my humble opinion, the truest interpretations were those of the late Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the performances of Richard Roxburgh and Ian Hart. I found the overall production to be quite good with an excellent supporting cast, especially Richard E. Grant (who by the way would make a spot on Holmes).

Several issues marred my experience. Anyone who has a passing acquaintance with Holmes knows that he did use cocaine, but never, ever did he use it while he was on a case. His use of the narcotic was in response to the lack of mental stimulation he suffered while not occupied. In your version, the inference is that he needed the drug in order to activate his mental powers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Also, why did poor Mrs. Stapleton have to meet such a dreadful fate? Wasn't her suffering and manipulation at the hands of her dastardly husband enough drama? Finally, whose idea was it to make a cartoon character out of the hound? What was that? I sat there not knowing what to make of it. There are many breeds of large dogs, which could have handsomely portrayed the hound. After all the point is that it is not a hound from hell, but a huge dog that has been beaten and trained to be a killer.

It's too bad that the most egregious of these mistakes took place at the end of the piece, putting a very poor topping on what had been an overall enjoyable experience.

Adele Vera-Angel
New York, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
What an appallingly botched mess. Here you have one of the great classics of detective literature, and you take Conan Doyle's story and twist it into ruination, throwing in every bad plot device but a vitriol throwing. Salacious and inappropriate drug use, a peevish Watson with periodic contempt for the Master Detective (to the point of disobedience), bizarre dialogue, the placing of the action at Christmas, Barrymore claiming an 'affair' in explanation for the strange light signals...I could go on and on. This risible mess ends with Beryl Stapleton hanging from a rope in the barn, Watson flying into a rage and shooting up the place, receiving a bullet himself for his pains, Holmes stupidly wallowing off into Grimpen Mire, another shoot-out and more bad dialogue. Not to mention the ludicrous Hound, like something out of a Transformer cartoon. It would be harder to concoct a poorer adaptation of Doyle's gripping, stylish, beautifully realized tale than this botched mess. And no, Holmes did not have blonde hair, a pudgy waistline, and a penchant for shooting up while on a case, like some common lowlife addict.

Ellen L. Schaller
Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Here is a quick question: When Holmes joins Watson and Stapleton in the billiards room, the camera suddenly cuts to someone's shoes. Whose shoes -- Holmes or Stapleton's --were they, and what did it mean (show)?

I am not a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle devotee, so it does not bother me that this production apparently showed so much diversion from the original novel. This production created a mesmerizing story, and I will purchase the video so that my husband can see it too. The airing time was perfect for Halloween and the coming Christmas season. I thank Masterpiece Theatre for including it in their schedule.

Jeanette Woods
Flint, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I loved Roxburgh and Hart in their roles as Holmes and Watson. Please, please, let us have more of this pair. As an Ian Hart fan, I loved seeing him portray Watson as a thinking man and not a mere shadow of Holmes.

Joyce Wrobbel
Wilmington, DE

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for broadcasting this fresh, new adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I was inspired after viewing this movie to read several more Sherlock Holmes stories. I have also utilized some of the suggestions for use in my classroom. While the film does not follow the book verbatim (and very few movies do), it was still visually stunning. The acting was top notch. Please consider showing more films of this type.

Jason S.
Sandusky, OH

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Masterpiece Theatre's Hound of the Baskervilles presented the best Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ever! I believe I have seen almost every actor in recent times who has played Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. In my opinion, Richard Roxburgh (the Duke in the Oscar-winning Moulin Rouge) is the best, hands-down, as the mercurial Holmes, with Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter) as the contemplative Dr. Watson.

Richard Roxburgh most closely portrays Doyle's Holmes: a young, serious but mysterious Holmes who tries unsuccessfully to control his dark side by immersing himself in his obscure knowledge of chemistry, which he uses to solve some of the otherwise baffling mysteries. He is Doyle's "loner" whose only friend is Dr. Watson. It is not clear why Holmes chooses Watson as a friend. Possibly it is because Watson has his own demons to deal with: the war, Afghanistan and all that. Or, perhaps Watson feels he is uniquely suited to Holmes's needs and wants to help him. I was extremely happy to see Watson not portrayed as a "buffoon" like he has been many times before. I do not believe that Doyle's Holmes would have put up with that. Holmes never suffered fools, much less would he live with one.

Richard Roxburgh and Ian Hart are, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant and I sincerely hope we see more of them in the same roles

Colette Terracino
Bethel, CT

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Your recent production of The Hound of the Baskervilles was spectacular! As a longtime reader of Sherlock Holmes stories, I felt that the cast was superb, especially Holmes and Watson. Usually production companies start with The Hound of the Baskervilles to test out a cast before filming the other stories. I do hope you will continue to film the Holmes stories with the same actors in the roles of Holmes and Watson. It would be a shame not to; like filming Poirot without Suchet as the lead. It would be a great loss not to have such performances caught on film.

Margaret Shields
Lake Forest, IL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thanks, Masterpiece Theatre, for showing this wonderful new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have been a Holmes fan, and a fan of this story in particular, for a long time. It was an exciting new adaptation and one I know will be a classic.

Angie L.
Dearborn Heights, MI

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