Der Hund von Baskerville
R: Rudolf Meinert. B: Richard Oswald, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel ‘
Print: Filmmuseum München
“Der Hund von Baskerville is a 1914 German silent film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Hound of the Baskervilles. This was the first film adaptation of the famed Conan Doyle novel. According to the website silentera.com, the film was considered lost, but has been rediscovered; the Russian Gosfilmofond film archive possesses a print, while the Filmmuseum München has a 35mm positive print.”
“In this early version the classic ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ mystery is not faithfully adapted, Watson’s character is absent and there are two Holmes. Holmes’ foe is called Stapleton and he menaces Holmes’ client Lord Henry and his fiancée, Laura Lyons, masquerading himself as Holmes. Hidden passages, hand bombs and mechanical devices abound, reminding more of a serial than of a Conan Doyle story.”
“In 1907, Richard Oswald mounted a version of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ in Praterstraße [i.e. a theatre in the famous Prater district of Old Vienna] based on ‘Der Hund von Baskerville: Schauspiel in vier Aufzügen aus dem Schottischen Hochland. Frei nach Motiven aus Poes und Doyles Novellen’ (The Hound of the Baskervilles: a play in four acts set in the Scottish Highlands. Freely adapted from the stories of Poe and Doyle) which was written by Ferdinand Bonn. By 1914, Oswald was working as a script supervisor at Union-Vitascope studios in the Berlin-Weißensee. Films based on mystery novels were very successful in German cinema at the time, so Oswald found himself in the position to pen a film script based on The Hound of the Baskervilles. (…) Der Hund von Baskerville was so successful, it spawned five more films: Das einsame Haus, Das unheimliche Zimmer, Die Sage vom Hund von Baskerville, Dr. MacDonalds Sanatorium, and Das Haus ohne Fenster. Neuß played Holmes in the first three sequels, but was replaced in the last two by Erich Kaiser-Titz.”
The film was released in France as Le Chien des Baskerville by Compagnie Genérale des Établissements Pathé Frères Phonographes & Cinématographes in 1915.
“Rudolf Meinert (1882–1943) was an Austrian screenwriter, film producer and director. Meinert was born Rudolf Bürstein in Vienna, but worked for most of his career in the German film industry. He became well-established as the producer/director of silent crime films. In the immediate post-First World War period, Meinert was head of production at the German studio Decla after his own production unit Meinert-Film was taken over by the larger outfit. Meinert, rather than Erich Pommer, is sometimes credited as the producer behind Decla’s revolutionary The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Following the Nazi takeover of power in Germany, Meinert, who was Jewish, went into exile in the Netherlands, however he returned to Austria. He moved to France in 1937 and lived there until he was caught, sent to Drancy internment camp and transported to Majdanek concentration camp on 6 March 1943, where he died.”