The Hound of the Baskervilles
What is perhaps surprising about this Soviet TV adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, made when the Cold War was at its frostiest, is that it is such a diligent and respectful adaptation of a British classic which tries so hard to recreate Victorian England accurately. But it is the unmistakably Russian elements that make it so good.
Despite the careful positioning of a portrait of Queen Victoria here, or a lopsided red post box there, it is immediately obvious that the action takes place not on the moors of Devon, but in the Russian countryside. The bleakness of the landscape, with its wide horizons, dark earth and lingering scraps of snow serves the story well, creating an air of foreboding and fear that hangs heavy over the isolated characters. Vitali Solomin's deliberate and soulful Watson sets the tone for the production as a whole, making it a diverting alternative to the more excitable Sherlock Holmeses of recent years. [Keir Roper-Caldbeck]