Failing to stop a fight in a crowded park, London Police Officers Slim, (Bud Abbott) and Tubby, (Lou Costello) are kicked off the squad. When they find a serial killer at a playhouse where the leader of the fight, Vicky Edwards, (Helen Westcott) is giving a dance performance, Bruce Adams, (Craig Stevens) and them give chase and try to trap him, only to find they have instead caught Dr. Henry Jekyll, (Boris Karloff) a respected member of the community. Finding a secret lab, which they believe is the place where he conducts his experiments, which turn him into the murderous Mr. Hyde. Teaming together, they race to get the monster before it is able to escape.
The Good News: This wasn't that bad of a film. The greatest thing is that Jekyll/Hyde story, which was always really a modern reworking of the werewolf myth with the mad scientist's laboratory in lieu of the full moon and silver bullets, is that this version of the Jekyll/Hyde story moves far closer to it's werewolf ancestor than most other versions. It's found in the prehensile design of the makeup and mostly in the last scene which has the monster threat being passed on to a line of police officers via a series of bites. The ending is it's most creative aspect, bringing the two mentioned themes into a film that haven't been mixed together in the past into a story that meshes them brilliantly is to be commended for it. It is also, at times, pretty funny, with plenty of great slapstick coming in throughout the film. The wax museum and dressing room gags are fall-down hilarious, and the round-robin stalking scene around a roof-top air conditioner allows for some nice laughs as well. With plenty of head-smacking, mistaken identity and pratfalls to be found as well, this can be just as funny as their other adventures. The wax museum sequence stands out as the film's highlight, as it's highly original, wonderfully played out, immensely creepy and full of energy, with nary a second wasted. It's one of the best scenes in their catalog, and remains quite good overall. The chasing at the end is a good way to end it, but lacks the energy of what came before. The opening attack, taking place in the fog-covered buildings, is suitably atmospheric and is a great opener. With a really good pace to it, this has a lot to like about it.
The Bad News: There isn't a whole lot here that wasn't good. One of the problems was the feminist subplot. While introducing the love angle that was to come, it doesn't serve any purpose beyond the first fifteen minutes beyond a fleeting moment at the ending, and there was a lot of other ways of getting the two together without forcing the angle upon the viewer. The few plot-points it gets easily could've been done in other fashions, and doesn't do much of anything beyond wasting screen time. It's thankfully dropped and forgotten about quite early in the film. Another problem is the repetitiveness of everything. Searching a possible hideout, everyone splits up, leaving the easily-scared one of the group to find the one responsible, go into a hysterical fit upon this, and run away in a comical manner, to be rejoined by the others and have his story laughed away as something. It's been done in their other ones, and doesn't really do much here other than provide a few giggles the first time, but wears thin upon repeated viewings. Beyond these, though, it's a fun entry.
The Final Verdict: A really underrated entry in their series, this one was a lot of fun and provides what is to be expected of these films. It provides plenty of opportunities for slapstick while giving a serious threat star treatment. At the very least, it requires a look-see for fans to give it a shot, it's not as bad.
Today's Rating-PG: Violence