Hannah Brockhausen 12-4-13 Adv.

English 7/B6

Hound of the Baskervilles: Film v. Novel: Final Draft
As with many book-based films, The Hound of the Baskervilles film has many varying differences from the original novel. Because the novel is lengthy and detailed, many of the scenes and specific points were left out or altered in order to fit the point of view and layout of a movie. Some of the alterations include character placement and many specific details that are included or not included in the film or book. The overarching mystery throughout the storyline is who was the man (or woman) behind the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. Once Holmes hears of the death from Sir Charles’s doctor, Dr. Mortimer, he begins to ask for all of the details known by Mortimer. He then tells Holmes of the story surrounding most of the fatalities in the Baskerville line, the legend of the Hound of The Baskervilles. After hearing the frightening legend, Holmes makes it his objective to solve the case and discover who planned the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. Throughout the story, both Holmes and Watson meet various characters. One of these characters is a woman by the name of Laura Lyons. Once Watson discovers enough clues he decides to visit Mrs. Lyons, who is suspected of planning to meet with Sir Charles the night that he mysteriously died. Watson at first describes Laura as a very admirable lady, but then goes on to say that “the second [impression] was criticism” (Doyle 149). He begins to interrogate her, asking “Did you correspond with Sir Charles?” (Doyle 151). Mrs. Lyons responds by saying that “[she] certainly wrote to him once or twice to acknowledge his delicacy and his generosity” (Doyle 151). Then, after some time of questioning, Watson discovers that her role in the investigation is probably a red herring and is not important. This is probably the main reason that her character was not even mentioned at all during the Hound of the Baskervilles film. Near the end of the film, one who has read the novel is probably expecting Laura’s character to enter the story; however her role in the investigation is

Hannah Brockhausen 12-4-13 Adv. English 7/B6 never spoken of by any character throughout the entirety of the film. This is shown to be very true in most novels that are made into movies where only crucial information is needed and used. When converting books into movies, details of minimum importance that exist in the novel are usually taken out and not used however in the case of The Hound of the Baskervilles, the film contains some details that never existed in the novel. For example, in the film, the Stapletons, Barrymores, Watson, Holmes, and Sir Henry meet with a “medium” in order to hear what Sir Charles can tell them about his death and the clues surround it. During this meeting, the Hound of the Baskervilles suddenly appears at a window outside of the house in which the group is gathering and greatly frightens everyone (Attwood). However this event does not take place in the story nor is the hound ever spotted until the conclusion of the novel. Another example of major details being added to the movie is the conclusion of the book/film. The novel’s conclusion begins very similarly to the film’s conclusion as it should. It begins with Watson, Holmes, and the other detective preparing to carry out their plan to capture Mr. Stapleton as the mastermind behind Sir Charles’s death. “[Then Watson] saw [Stapleton] pause at the door of an out-house in the corner of the orchard. A key turned in a lock, and as he passed in there was a curious scuffling noise from within” (Doyle 198). This noise turned out to be a large dog that Stapleton had covered in phosphorus to make it glow and look extremely frightening. After discovering this, the chapter ends and the denouement begins the next chapter. The novel concludes with Watson and Holmes discussing all of the “loose ends” of the case fit together, and Holmes explains some parts of his plan that were confusing Watson. They eventually conclude that “[they have] helped to hunt down a more dangerous man- he who is lying yonder [in the moor]” (Doyle 210). This ending differs greatly from the ending in the movie because in the movie, Watson shoots and kills Stapleton just before he can kills Holmes, thus saving Holmes’s life (Attwood). Another major difference is that

Hannah Brockhausen 12-4-13 Adv. English 7/B6 in the movie, Stapleton kills his wife because she refuses to help him carry out his plan (Attwood). However in the novel, Mrs. Stapleton is still living at the conclusion of the story. These differences once again prove that films based on novels are diversely changed and somewhat differ from the novel. After comparing this book to the movie, I now have a better understanding of the process that directors use when figuring out how to format a film that is based on a novel such as The

Hound of the Baskervilles. I have also learned that although it may seem that comparison writing
has no real world use, there are many novels in the present day that are being reformatted to become films such as The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Overall, it’s helpful to have an educated understanding of the differences between novels and book-based films in order to be able to answer the question: Which was better, the book or the movie?