Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

Yes. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is an 1886 novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson [1850-1894]. The novella was adapted for the movie by screenwriters Samuel Hoffenstein and Percy Heath.

Yes. Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is in the public domain. A copy of the text can be downloaded free from Project Gutenberg.

If there is any relationship at all between the makeup in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and in The Wolf Man, it would be the other way around, because The Wolf Man was released in 1941, ten years after Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde's release in 1931. Larry Talbot's wolfman makeup was actually created seven years previous by makeup designer Jack P. Pierce for another werewolf movie, Werewolf of London, which was released in 1935, four years after Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Pierce was also the makeup designer for The Wolf Man, but he was not associated with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Director Rouben Mamoulian described Hyde's look as "Neanderthal." Other commentators generally describe it as "simian" (apelike).

Jekyll is a Scottish surname, pronounced "Jeekyll". Robert Louis Stevenson, being Scottish himself, also pronounced it "Jeekyll."

How does the movie end?

When Jekyll (Fredric March) realizes that he can no longer control Hyde, he breaks off his engagement to Muriel (Rose Hobart) and sets her free. As he is leaving her house, he begins to spontaneously transform into Hyde. As Hyde, he returns to the house, sneaks up on Muriel, and kisses the back of her neck. Muriel turns to kiss him back, sees his face, and starts screaming. Her father and one of the servants rush in to help her, but they are no match for Hyde. He crashes through the window out onto the terrace and beats them with his cane, causing the handle to break off. The neighbors hear the screaming and the police are called, but Hyde hightails it back to Jekyll's laboratory and locks himself inside. Meanwhile, Dr Lanyon (Holmes Herbert) has recognized that the handle of the cane as belonging to Henry Jekyll. He leads the police to Henry's house, but Henry has changed back into Jekyll. He tries to fool the police by telling them that Hyde escaped out the back door, but Lanyon fingers him. In front of everyone's eyes, Jekyll transforms into Hyde. He tries to escape, but Lanyon shoots him. As he lies dead on the floor, Hyde transforms back into Jekyll. In the final scene, the camera backs away from Jekyll, revealing a fresh pot of Jekyll-Hyde formula bubbling away.

This film version, and most of the others, do not really follow the original Stevenson story, which is too short for a feature-length film and is told in the form of a letter from Jekyll to his lawyer. Instead, the film versions resemble a stage adaptation of the story by someone named T.R. Sullivan. The 1941 film, with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman, is a direct remake of the 1931 version, though not as sexually frank, because of the Production Code. The only things most of the film versions have in common with the story is Jekyll losing control of when and how he turns into Hyde, and the fact that Lanyon is the first one to discover the truth. In the original story, Jekyll does not have a fiancee, nor does Hyde have a fling with a dance hall singer, and Hyde does not turn back into Jekyll after his death. In the story, Jekyll/Hyde is not killed by Lanyon or anyone else; he commits suicide in despair over not being able to remain Dr. Jekyll.

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