New York City, Dr. Richard Jacks is a creator of perfumes. He spends all of his days try to invent the next best thing in the industry. His girlfriend, Sarah, sometimes gets pushed to the ... See full summary »
Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll's enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll's affairs. Written by
When the giant spider apparition (manifestation of Hyde) climbs onto Jekyll's bed, the legs of the actor manipulating the costume are clearly visible. See more »
Sir George Carew:
In devoting yourself to others, Jekyll, aren't you neglecting the development of your own life?
Sir George Carew, Dr. Henry Jekyll:
Isn't it by serving others that one develops oneself, Sir George?
Sir George Carew:
Which self? A man has two two - as he has two hands. Because I use my right hand, Should I never use my left?
[Carew pointedly moves both hands indepemdently, making his point known to the whole table]
Sir George Carew:
Your really strong man fears nothing. It is the weak one that is afraid of - - experience.
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Except for John Barrymore whose name appears above the title, actors were not originally credited in this movie at the start or at the end. Instead, four additional actors and their character names are credited in the inter-titles right before they appear on-screen. See more »
As a medical doctor, Henry Jekyll (John Barrymore) maintains a human "repair shop" for the poor and destitute at his own expense. Generally acknowledged as too good to be true, Jekyll is challenged by socialite Sir George Carew to experience more of life for himself, before he marries Carew's daughter Millicent (Martha Mansfield). "Think what it would mean! To yield to every evil impulse - yet leave the soul untouched!"
After meeting night club dancer Gina (Nita Naldi), Jekyll becomes consumed by obsession, spending day and night in his lab developing a drug that will give him the freedom to explore his baser nature. Jekyll's early transformations are almost comic in their execution, he flails his body wildly and even falls down completely as his body transforms into the hideously deformed creature Mr. Hyde. As Hyde plunges deeper into vice, his evil nature threatens to overcome Jekyll's entire life. Jekyll even creates a will leaving his effects to the sinister alter ego in case he's unable to come out of one of his mutations.
A particularly well done scene explores Jekyll's psyche as he lies in bed contemplating his fate; he imagines a huge hairy spider crawling up on his bed and bonding with his own body. Symbolically it cements the viewers understanding of Jekyll's transformation into a creature of evil and monstrous intent.
As Sir George confronts Jekyll, he changes into the most gruesome countenance of Hyde yet, and beats Sir George to death. Without the drug that will keep him normal, he's no longer able to control his transformations. Despondent, he takes his own life, or should I say, Mr. Hyde kills Dr. Jekyll to put an end to the reign of terror in his Soho neighborhood.
At times over the top, John Barrymore's performance is well presented, his portrayal leaves one with an appreciation for his art and his interpretation of the John Louis Stevenson character. Martha Mansfield is demurely pretty as the pining lover who patiently keeps her love for Dr. Jekyll alive, even though she has no idea what a monster he has become. Though a silent film with occasional word screens, one has no trouble in following the details of the story to it's dramatic conclusion. The only mitigating factor for the print I viewed was the musical score that at times did not match the on screen drama, seeming instead to be more upbeat than it's subject matter.
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