Hound Of The Baskervilles
Pete and Dud. You either love 'em or hate 'em, and this bizarre offering
won't do anything to change that. Hound Of The Baskervilles may
be billed as their take on the Conan Doyle classic, but it's really in
name only - being instead an excuse for them to try out silly accents,
tell some juvenile jokes, and even cram in a few old sketches (the one
legged man routine, anyone?).
Luckily, it is extremely funny - which is probably why it gets left out
of most reviews of their career. After all, they were supposed
to have been all washed up by 1977, weren't they?
There's also an absolutely wonderful cast of raddled old entertainers
- Terry Thomas as Dr Mortimer, Kenneth Williams (in a great wig) as Sir
Henry Baskerville ("Touch of dicky tummy - it runs in the family!"),
Spike Milligan as a policeman, Max Wall as Mr Barrymore, the butler ("It's
moors code!"), Irene Handl as Mrs Baskerville ("This of course
is Baskerville 'All. Is that a clue for you? BASKERVILLE 'ALL!"),
Penelope Keith, Roy Kinnear, Joan Greenwood and Denholm Elliot (as Stapleton).
Any synopsis of the story is pretty much redundant. Suffice to say that
Holmes (Cook, with a Jewish accent, oy vay) and Watson (Moore, deciding
that the good Doctor was apparently Welsh) are approached by Dr Mortimer
to investigate strange goings-on at Baskerville Hall.
Holmes refuses to go: "This is a job for an imbecile!"
So Watson steps up: "Quite right, Holmes - let me deal with it!"
Holmes travels to the Hall with its new owner, Sir Henry, where they are
forced to stay in a room with the most spectacular rising damp you're
likely to see.
As Watson (an idiot) attempts to work out what's going on, Holmes (also
pretty stupid) spends his time in London visiting "massage parlours",
and his mother (also played by Moore), who's holding a séance which
ends with the classic line "I like to strike a happy medium
Wonderful scenes include Watson being taught secret codes in the post
office by Anna Wing and Prunella Scales in the post office, an Exorcist
spoof, the aforementioned one legged man routine ("Your right leg
I like!") and the most hilarious "pissing dog" scene you
are ever likely to see (the way Denholm Elliot casually uses it to water
the flowers is a joy to see).
The whole thing is mental from beginning to bizarre end, but it makes
just about as much sense as the original. I'll leave the final word to
Mrs Holmes, who says my favourite line at the end of her aborted séance:
"I've lost a medium rare in a world where the stakes are high
Sheer class. They'll both be missed.