Sir Charles Baskerville (Alexander Murski) is sitting in his manor home entertaining some guests. Among them are his friend and physician Dr. Mortimer (Jaro Furth) and Sir Charles’ servant Barrymore (Valy Arnheim). Outside in the storm they can hear the howling of a dog. It brings up the story of the curse on the Baskerville family. A knocking at the door brings a messenger with a note for Sir Charles from Laura Lyons (Carla Bartheel) saying she is in danger and for Sir Charles to come quickly. Lord Baskerville goes out into the raging storm. He is found dead the next day, the look of fear on his face. Next to him were the footprints of a giant hound.
Dr. Mortimer goes to see Sherlock Holmes (Carlyle Blackwell) and his friend Dr. Watson (George Seroff). He tells Holmes about Sir Charles’ death. He also tells him that Sir Henry (Livio Pavanelli), who is the last of the Baskervilles, is returning from the Colonies to claim his inheritance. Holmes asks to meet Sir Henry. Holmes and Watson meet Sir Henry at his hotel room. As soon as they arrive a note is received threatening Sir Henry. Holmes tells the Lord that he is unable to leave London at the moment but he will send Dr. Watson with him to Baskerville Manor. Watson can send reports back to Holmes.
When they get to the Manor they hear that an escaped criminal is hiding somewhere on the moors. Watson and Sir Henry check out where Sir Charles was found. They run into a neighbor Beryl Stapleton (Betty Bird). Sir Henry becomes attracted to Beryl but her guardian Jack Stapleton (Fritz Rasp) is not happy about Sir Henry’s reaction to his ward.
Later that night Watson sees a light out on the moors and goes out looking for it. What he finds is Holmes, who has been monitoring the situation unobserved. Holmes has figured out who the culprit is that is out to get Henry but before he can relay that information a hound is heard on the moors and a man is attacked. Upon reaching the man Holmes sees that it is the escaped convict and he is wearing one of Henry’s old suits. When the body is taken to the manor it is revealed that the convict is the brother of Barrymore’s wife (Alma Taylor). She had given her brother Henry’s old suit. The killer made a mistake but Sir Henry is in no less danger unless Holmes can find proof for his deductions.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” AKA “Der Hund von Baskerville” was released in 1929 and was directed by Richard Oswald. It is a German silent mystery film that was based on the 1902 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the last adaptation of the novel done in the silent era.
At one time the film was considered lost. In 2009 a partial copy of the film was found in the basement of a local church in Sosnowiec, Poland. Another copy was also found that supplemented some of the missing parts. Unfortunately part of reel 2 and reel 3 is still lost. Stills and text from a draft of the script were inserted in those areas. The film was restored and released in 2019. Director Richard Oswald had written a previous adaptation in 1914. That too had been considered lost at one time.
One of the interesting things about the creation of the film is the international cast. Carlyle Blackwell (Holmes) was American, Fritz Rasp (Stapleton) was German, Alexander Murski (Charles Baskerville) was Russian and Livio Pavanelli (Henry Baskerville) was Italian.
The film has a lot of German Expressionistic touches to it. The opulence of the manor home and the scenes on the moors are all wonderfully done. It’s a great film and a joy to watch but then I’m a sucker for German Expressionism.