The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TV Movie 1968) Poster

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" When I see a ray of light I move towards it; unlike you who remain in the dark "
thinker169121 November 2008
Amid the long lists of accomplishments, for actor Jack Palance, is this truly remarkable film achievement. Robert Louis Stevenson created his memorable set of characters; humanitarian Jekyll and terrifying Mr. Hyde, never realizing how many thespians would attempt to personify his creations. On stage and later in Hollywood several actors tried. From the 1930s' to a modern interpretation involving Michael Caine, a dozen actors have attempted the duel parts. Many are consider excellent, but for my money, the very best is none other than Jack Palance as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde. I suppose its because, Jack Palance throughout his movie career, has established himself as a reputable heavy. No one, including myself, had ever seen him emulate a respectable, sophisticated and admired medical man of science. His performance in this role is nothing short of magical, nay, electrifying. For the first time in film history, has an actor stun the audience with such an incredible performance, as to leave them applauding him with praise and wonderful accolades. To his credit, his fellow actors believed that as well. They included Denholm Elliott as Mr. George Devlin, Leo Genn as Dr. Lanyon, Torin Thatcher as Sir John Turnbull and wonderful Oscar Homolka as Stryker. You may see other film adaptions of this horror tale, but in my opinion, few to equal this version. *****
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genuinely entertaining
widescreenguy11 March 2007
I remember the television broadcast and knew of Palance at that time, but I didn't have much to compare performances or know what to look for.

I just remember it was an outstanding production with full credit going to Palance in the lead role.

then last week eureka!! I found the DVD in a 2nd hand shop and snatched it up right away.

the devilishness and morphing from Jekyll to Hyde was incredible. it won a batch of Emmy's and its no wonder. Jack Palance was a very gifted actor and had a certain honesty about him, a dedication to his craft that goes beyond the adulation and wealth other hollywooden types seek.

and that thing about push ups at the Oscars will go down in the history of entertainment. very inspirational too, a man in his 80s doing 1 arm push ups on live TV !! thank you Mr Palance for many years of tremendous entertainment and this is certainly among them. if you have a chance to see this film do so.
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Marvelous! Curtis does it again!
rob_h30 December 2000
I remember seeing this one split up over two late nights on ABC in the early 1970s. I was mesmerized and excited; I've longed to see the film again and recently got my chance! As soon as I found out it was available on DVD I bought it. Lots to be nostalgic about here: for instance, that wonderful videotape quality of the visuals (even more vivid now that the thing is out on DVD). Jack Palance hams it up as Hyde: a friend who saw the movie with me said he looked like a muppet during the scene at Tessie's music hall! But his Dr. Jekyll is a brilliant character, full of the best kind of noble suffering that a great tragic hero endures. I loved every minute of it. And Robert Cobert's music--all of which was originally used for the great _Dark Shadows_ series--is more haunting than ever. Any fan of _Dark Shadows_ will love this _Jekyll and Hyde_; and any horror fan should enjoy seeing it, too!
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One of the better versions of the classic story.
MartinHafer15 August 2012
In the late 1960s, Dan Curtis made a name for himself by being the executive producer and writer for "Dark Shadows". In addition, he made a few made for TV horror films--including "Dracula", "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and this film, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".

One problem with this and all other versions of the story I have seen is that they have the same actor play both Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde. I say this is a mistake because in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, the reason why folks could not believe the two men were one was that Hyde was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than the doctor. In other words, films only use a bit of makeup to make the transformation and the two invariably look too similar to make the story very convincing.

Unlike the movie versions of the story made during the sound era, this one is unusual in that it jumps right into the action. Within a few minutes of the start of the film, Dr. Jekyll has already created his elixir to transform himself into a less restrained persona, Mr. Hyde. His motivations and good works he did before the transformation are really not explored in any depth like other films. I don't think this is a bad thing--just different.

Another thing that was a bit different is that this version is quite a bit more violent than other versions (such as the Frederic March and Spencer Tracy films). Hyde stabs and beats a lot of folks for kicks and seems more nasty than usual. Again, not a bad thing at all--just different. Plus, the awfulness of Hyde is well in keeping with the spirit of the novel.

I think the thing that surprised me the most is that Jack Palance was quite good. He was intense as Hyde and quite restrained as Jekyll. The film also looked exceptional. In particular, the streets of London were quite striking as were the costumes. They got the look down quite well--far better than you'd expect for a made for TV production. As a result, it's about as good a version as you can find--though, as I pointed out above, it sure would be nice to see a version closer to the book in regard to how Hyde looked.
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dquick28 September 2002
Jack Palance seems made for this role. As the mild mannered Henry Jekyll, Palance is subdued, allowing none of his usual acting intensity to mar the characterization. As Hyde, Palance comes alive as he does in many films, relishing his own evil (Dracula, Barrabas, Scrooge). This film's focus is not on the horrifying transformation from Jekyll to Hyde that you expect to see. In fact, you don't see the first one, and Jekyll only learns about it by people telling him what happened the night before when Hyde appeared.

The makeup for Hyde is not drastically different from Palance's own appearance; he is ugly but not hideous. In fact, he looks, dresses, and behaves like a womanizing Cary Grant on a drunken rampage. He has fun drinking and whoring and giving everyone something to talk about later, but then he begins to take over Jekyll's personality. Denholm Elliot is Devlin, Jekyll's friend and "savior".

I've only seen the Barrymore version in comparison. Barrymore is a much more monstrous Hyde, but both versions are excellent.
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Atmospheric Victorian Thriller!
FOCKLERRC19 September 2002
This was the first version of the story I ever saw so I may be a bit biased. As a long time student of this genre and of this story in particular, I can say that while not the Stevenson novella verbatim, it is still much closer than other adaptations. Of particular note are the references to drug addiction of young people in Victorian London. Mr. Palance gives a bravura performance in the dual role. Is it my imagination or does the Mr. Hyde make-up created by Master Make-Up Artist Dick Smith resemble classic depictions of Satan or perhaps the Satyr? Dan Curtis assembled an excellent cast in a sterling production. The new DVD version offers enhanced picture and sound quality as well as various subtitles for your viewing enjoyment. You may consider this video/DVD a valued asset to your collection of this strange story of one man's fascination with man's dual nature. Perhaps there is a bit of Edward Hyde in all of us!
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The best version
TheLittleSongbird18 October 2014
Of the versions personally seen, only one comes close and that's the Frederic March version. John Barrymore's one is also still very good and Burbank Films Australia's animated version surprisingly good too, didn't care all that much for the Spencer Tracy film but even that wasn't too bad. Before seeing this, I would have considered the March film the best version but now it'd be this one. So good in fact that aside from that it was shot in the video-tape way you forget that you're watching that it was made for TV because everything was so well and professionally done. While I would have preferred the camera work to be more expansive, the video-tape didn't really cheapen things at all. The whole adaptation looks great, the lighting has that atmospheric Gothic touch, the costumes are sumptuous and the sets and the way they look make you feel like you're there in Victorian London and with the characters, which is remarkable for a made for TV film to do. London looks so beautiful and evocatively creepy at the same time, and how the fog is done and used really stands out in terms of visuals and atmosphere. Adding a lot also is Robert Cobert's score, which is very haunting without ever being obvious, it's not as spooky as the score he did for 1973's Dracula(also directed by Dan Curtis and starring Jack Palance, which is also worth seeing but not quite as good) but is so in a different kind of way.

As an adaptation, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may not be word for word, detail for detail to the Stevenson classic with a few changes and additions but actually all the major details are intact and so is the spirit of the story, and it does this more successfully than any of the other versions. The idea of Dr Jekyll being responsible for the crimes due to Hyde not being a whole person, as heard in Devlin's line "You don't understand, do you? Jekyll deserves to die - he's the one who's responsible, not you", was an interesting angle and came off very well, plus it was entirely plausible. The dialogue is very thoughtfully adapted and is well-written dialogue judging it on its own. The story is very suspenseful, the scariest parts actually being genuinely so, and entertaining at all times, especially with any scene with Mr. Hyde, it was good also that it got straight to the point instead of being bogged down by filler, even more remarkable is that it managed to be loyal to such a timeless and well-known story and make it feel fresh.

It is more violent than the other Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adaptations, but not in a gratuitous way. Curtis' direction is as solid as rocks, and the characters carry the narrative beautifully, the most interesting of course is Jekyll/Hyde but the other characters are hardly given short shrift, Devlin actually is just as much and has some of the adaptation's most memorable lines. The performances from all are terrific, the best in support being a sensual Billie Whitelaw and Denholm Elliot in one of his more sympathetic performances. But it is Jack Palance who walks away with the acting honours, as he rightfully should, managing to make Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde completely different from one another without making Jekyll too mannered or dull or Hyde too over-the-top or completely brutish, both of which is what makes this iconic dual role tricky. He does superbly as both Jekyll and Hyde, loved the refinement and nobility he brought to Jekyll, possibly Palance at his most restrained, but he is even better as Hyde, as well as being one of the most physical and brutal in the role he is also the one that comes off the most genuinely scary and passionate, he hams it up just a tad but actually in this case that was what made the performance fun to watch. Overall, a brilliantly done version of a classic and the best version seen so far. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Has an incredible amount of impact.
Christian Tsoutsouvas20 October 2009
Robert Louis Stevenson's book was more of detective story than anything else, hence its called "The Strange CASE of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". It is about Dr Lanyon hearing of these unusual and horrific events and trying to piece them together, and in the final few chapters (Jekyll's letters) the story is finally told. As a book, that was very interesting, though as a film this would have been rather dull, and it is much more exciting to see these events unfold on a screen.

The story is very well-known, a scientist splits his personalities and creates an inhuman tyrannical demon that destroys the lives of both of them as well as many others. Only in the book Jekyll invented the drug because he thought that as every man had only one life and two sides, it is impossible to leave a life that satisfies the urges of both of these sides. So he splits them and tries to lead to separate lives, each undisturbed by the other, though of course he fails. Here it is merely out of reckless curiosity, he does something purely because he can without stopping to think if he should.

It also suggests the idea that Dr Jekyll is responsible for Hyde's murders, not Hyde. This is because Hyde isn't a whole person, therefore he can't be judged as a real person or held responsible for his actions. Hyde is the dark side of Jekyll, and nothing about Hyde wasn't already inside the doctor. Jekyll should never have empowered him and let him run loose. I would agree with this.

A brilliant display of fine performances and dialogue, as well as some very interesting imagery, Dan Curtis' adaptation is a delight.

In particular, Jack Palance is extraordinary in both roles. Showing us carelessness and selfishness and in the end fear and desperation in Jekyll as well as impulsiveness, anger and just pure evil in Hyde.

Outstanding! Particularly towards the end.
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The best version of the story I have ever seen
tomh4614 October 2006
I saw this movie when it first came out on TV and at least one other time on TV. Seems like it was made for TV by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, as I recall. I had read the book and had seen several movie versions and was delighted at the vigor and believability that Jack Palance brought to the title role(s). As someone else has said here, I think it was the closest rendition of the book as well. He was good as both the good doctor and as Hyde, but was remarkable in bringing Hyde to life without much makeup, rather with the strength of his acting. His physical vigor was a part of it too, dashing through the streets, doing violence with his sword-cane in the action scenes, and I think I remember him leaping across the furniture in a pub in one scene. I'm glad to read here that it is out on DVD and will look forward to seeing it again.
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Excellent adaptation
bekayess25 September 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this TV version of "Jekyll and Hyde" on Sunday night, January 7, 1968 (I remember for two reasons: I really liked it, and it was my 11th birthday.) I seem to recall, although I could be wrong (help me out if anyone knows) that it was repeated on July 4th of that year. While everyone else in my family was outside watching fireworks, I was in watching Jack Palance give what I consider to be one of his best performances as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

Palance evokes sympathy as the doctor, and his Hyde was (and is) pure evil. In two scenes (the beating of Lanyon and the murder of Gwen), Hyde is brutal, uncompromising and without remorse. Billie Whitelaw (Gwen) is a wonderful and under-rated actress. I was really pleased (after several years of not seeing her in anything else) to see her in THE OMEN.

Of the classic horror tales that Dan Curtis adapted over the years, this is the best. It compares favorably with the Frederic March version (the only other version I enjoy), it is superior to MGM's glossy Spencer Tracy version, and it makes the musical version (with Kirk Douglas as the doctor) look like the joke that it was.

Rent it and enjoy!
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