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Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

The Hound of the Baskervilles Book vs. Movie


The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been put into film by David Attwood, and like many book-based films, has several differences from the book. Directorial choices such as added and missing details, point of view, characterization, and the overall order of events contribute to the blatant disconnect between book and film. With respect to characterization, main characters with inconsistent traits include Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Henry, and Jack Stapleton. The book version of The Hound of the Baskervilles is the original version of this story. The novel is obviously the more detailed account and is strictly how the author wants the characters to be and in what chronological order. Doyle decides to depict Holmes as he always had in previous books: secretive, cunning, and putting the case above all. He is portrayed as arrogant and believes that he must do everything he can to solve the case, including lie and hide on the moor to gather information. For [Watson] to know could not have helped us, and might possibly have led to my discovery (Doyle 168). He would not even trust his closest friend enough to alert him of his decisions and whereabouts. He remains devoted to the case and refuses to allow obstacles to impede his path. On the contrary, Watson is a very open minded person. He shares his thoughts on everything about the case to Holmes, and always places his faith in those who may not always deserve it. His series of letters to Holmes makes it evident that he respects and yearns for Holmess opinion on the case. Similar to Watson, Sir Henry easily trusts others. After realizing the threat posed to his life, he proceeds to trust Holmes and Watson with its protection. He is very polite, and never seems to get angry at anybody, except when he found out that Stapelton was the one who tried to kill him and essentially killed his Uncle.

Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

Stapelton on the other hand, seems very cowardly and quiet. Whenever he is introduced into a part in the book, he talks very little and sparingly interjects with cowardly comments. He is however a cold-hearted killer, who will stop at nothing to achieve his ultimate goal. This even goes to the extent of gagging his wife after she refuses to help him anymore. During the book, the story is told all from the point of view of Watson. It jumps from current time Watson investigating, past events that Watson has experienced or is being told, letter, and diary excerpts. You only get to hear the thoughts and unspoken opinions from Watson, how he perceives things, and only events that happen if he is there. It starts with him and Holmes talking to Dr. Mortimer, then goes to the meeting with Sir Henry. After they get to Baskerville Hall, he spends his time watching over Sir Henry and gathering clues to the case. He then meets Jack Stapelton, where he meets his sister Miss Stapelton. When Watson sees something, the reader sees it. When Holmes sees something but doesnt speak it, the reader doesnt even know that it happened. After the discovery of the plotter being Stapelton, you go through the process of getting evidence to prove it was him, and luring the dog out to kill it when it attacks Sir Henry. The story ends, and then there is a big overview of what happened in the denouement. David Attwood decided however, to go with some similar but other drastically different ways to characterize the main characters. Holmes is still as confident and arrogant as ever, putting down many of Watsons theories, and denouncing any such legend or guesses. Despite Watsons character in the book, he is a different man in the movie. He doesnt seem to argue with Holmes ideas and actions, except when Holmes was hiding on the moor and didnt tell him. Watson is very aggressive when it comes to the unknown, quick to grab his revolver at any sign of danger. He even grabbed his revolver when he heard the crying of a woman one of the nights he was in Baskerville Hall. Sir Henry is an extremely different person in the film. I cannot stress

Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

enough how much difference there is between book Sir Henry and movie Sir Henry. He is very aggressive, mean, and ill-tempered in the movie. He angrily shouted at the butler in the hotel to find his new black shoe when it was stolen from him. He was also more of a ladies man in the movie. In the book he was known for being purposely let fall in love with Mrs. Stapelton to bring him to the moor. However, he was very much more aggressive with her and other women during the movie. Sir Henry is young, brave, and cocky in terms of his position. Now, Jack Stapelton is an entirely different man in the movie. When I say entirely, I mean ENTIRELY! Stapelton is no longer the cowardly, butterfly net wielding naturalist we know and hate. He is a cunning, aggressive, cold-blooded murder. He planned on scaring Sir Charles to death, he planned on murdering Sir Henry, and he planned on taking the wealth and power all for himself. He would have murdered Sherlock Holmes in a blink of the eye if not for Watson. He even tried to kill Watson when escaping to the moor, trying to put a bullet through his chest. Stapelton murdered his own wife prior to this, after she would not help him achieve his goal no longer. Stapelton became one of the most brutal enemies Sherlock has ever seen on film. While the book may have told the story from the point of view of Watson, the movie certainly deviates concerning perspective and event order. At the beginning of the movie, it shows the court case on how Sir Charles died and the autopsy. It then shows a criminal escaping to the moor from a prison. It then begins with Mortimer telling Holmes and Watson about the legend and how he wants them to help solve the real case. They meet with Sir Henry, travel to Baskerville Hall, and begin their hunt for clues. Then, they have a sitting where they try to talk to the ghost of Sir Charles, who speaks through someone else, telling of a hound, right after and gigantic paw smacks against the window, causing Watson to run out to try and look for it, but it has vanished. Holmes supposedly goes back to Baker Street, but meets a cab driver, named

Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

Cartwright, who is his messenger from the hut on the moor. After that, the same as the book happens, until the Christmas party at Baskerville Hall. Sir Henry talks to Mrs. Stapelton who then tells him he has to leave, as his life depends on it. During this party, Sherlock has snuck into the Merripit House, and found out that Jack Stapelton is actually John Baskerville, son of Roger Baskerville. After this, Sir Henry is invited to a dinner at the Stapeltons, and he goes. As he is leaving, Stapelton releases the hound on Sir Henry, in hopes to kill him. The hound rips his ear off, and then is shot multiple times by Sherlock and Watson. They then capture Stapelton, find his wife dead, and then ask him why and how he did all of the things he did. He then shoots Watson, leaves the house, and escapes to the moor. Holmes chases after him, only to get stuck in the mire. Stapelton menacingly sits on a rock, and talks to Holmes about how he will end his sufferings, and how he will take the prize. Just before his finger pulls the trigger, a bullet goes straight through his head. I was Watson, who saves Holmes from the mire, tends to Sir Henry, and then the movie ends. The story continues past the part where they kill the hound, allowing there to be more suspense and excitement. Nonetheless, there are many detail differences between the book and the movie. Both the movie and the book have similar details, but others are included or missing in the movie. Dr. Mortimers walking stick is talked about quite profusely in the book, but is never mentioned once in the movie. When Dr. Mortimer reads the legend of the Baskervilles, he reads it word for word in the book, talking of the mistress Hugo Baskerville captured and how his drunken self made a deal with the devil to send the hounds after her after she escaped. He then chased her down, but they were both killed by a gigantic hellhound that made the other hellhounds whimper in fear. Although this may be true in the book, the movie has Mortimer read it from memory, talking about how Hugo beat his wife and abused her, so she ran away. He chased her down and

Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

killed her, but her personal loyal hound came and ripped his throat out, and has terrorized the Baskervilles ever since. Small differences on how things happen appear from time to time, but not enough to change the entire storyline, until the end. They find Mrs. Stapelton tied up and gagged in the book, but the movie finds her hanged by Jack Stapelton in a room on the side of the house. Then, the book has the hound attack Sir Henry, but before the hound can hurt him, it is shot six times by Holmes, and it dies. In the movie, the hound controlled by Stapelton attacks and rips Sir Henrys ear off, then chases after Holmes, but again is shot until it is dead. Stapelton is then arrested and the case is solved and the book ends. On the contrary, the movie has Stapelton interrogated by Watson and Holmes. Stapelton then shoots Watson and escapes to the moor. Holmes is hot in pursuit, but falls into the mire, and quickly starts sinking. Stapelton starts talking to him about how to escape the mire, but says it probably wont work, and decides to put Holmes out of his misery. Right before he is able to pull the trigger, he gets a bullet in the skull from Watson. Watson saves Holmes and they return to Baker Street, awaiting their next mystery. Once over again, the movie has several significant differences, including characterization choices, perspective and detail selection. The movie screen allows for more expressions and actions to truly put a character into perspective. Things that can be expressed in literature cannot be expressed in movies, and must be skipped in order to keep the movie flowing. David Attwood made decisions on how to portray the book on a movie screen, and most of his decisions were effective, and show a strong understanding on how the book can be interpreted into a movie.

Mystery Unit Assignment

Trey Scott B6

References
Attwood, David, dir. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Hammer Film, 1959. Film. Doyle, Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles. London, England: Newnes, 1902. Print.