Sidney Lanfield

After a stint as a jazz musician and a vaudeville entertainer, Sidney Lanfield was hired by Fox Film Corp. in 1926 as a gag writer and brought to Hollywood. Making his debut as a director in 1930, he specialized in romances and light comedies, directing many of Bob Hope’s films in the 1930s and 1940s. One of his most successful films, however, was also one of his most atypical: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), a brooding, atmospheric thriller that introduced Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. Lanfield divided the rest of his career between 20th Century-Fox and Paramount; while none of his films were particularly memorable, they were well-crafted, solid entertainment. In the early 1950s he was one of the first major directors to turn to series television, and he ended his career there in the mid-’60s, directing episodes of, among others, McHale’s Navy (1962) and The Addams Family (1964).

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