Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men - a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late... Written by
Mark J. Popp <email@example.com>
I haven't read Stevenson's famous novel, but this film is adapted from a play which is supposedly a lot different anyway. The story is really not especially great. A scientist makes a potion that turns him into a total spazz. The spazz version ruins Dr. Jekyll's romance with Rose Hobart and tortures a loose woman, played by Miriam Hopkins. The film turns out to be completely amazing, however, thanks to the lead performance, by Fredric March, and the elegant direction by Rouben Mamoulian. Every time I see March in a film, I become more impressed by his range. Of course, this is a perfect vehicle to demonstrate one's range, and he excels as both Jekyll and Hyde, though his Hyde is what most will remember. Looking at his filmography, Mamoulian directed relatively few films for a director of his era (not to mention talent). I need to see more, most notably Love Me Tonight, but he will always be a genius in my book for Queen Christina. His direction of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is beautiful and nearly flawless. A lot of the film is made from the direct point-of-view of Jekyll, and he uses a first-person technique that works brilliantly. Between March and Mamoulian, the general silliness of the story is completely made up for. March's female co-stars, Hopkins and Hobart, are quite good, as well.
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