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Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

 -  Horror  -  April 1972 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,291 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 41 critic

In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll attempts to create an elixir of life using female hormones stolen from fresh corpses. He reasons that these hormones will wipe out all common diseases ... See full summary »

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Title: Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Bates ...
...
Gerald Sim ...
Professor Robertson
Lewis Fiander ...
Howard
Susan Brodrick ...
Susan
Dorothy Alison ...
Mrs. Spencer
Ivor Dean ...
Philip Madoc ...
Byker
Irene Bradshaw ...
Yvonne
Neil Wilson ...
Older Policeman
Paul Whitsun-Jones ...
Sergeant Danvers
Tony Calvin ...
Dan Meaden ...
Town Crier
Virginia Wetherell ...
Betsy
Geoffrey Kenion ...
1st Policeman
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Storyline

In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll attempts to create an elixir of life using female hormones stolen from fresh corpses. He reasons that these hormones will wipe out all common diseases and extend his life since women live much longer than men. However, once Dr. Jekyll drinks the serum himself, he transforms into a gorgeous but evil woman. He soon needs female hormones for his serum to maintain, so a number of London women meet bloody deaths. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The sexual transformation of a man into a woman will actually take place before your very eyes! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dr. Jekyll und Schwester Hyde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The BBFC requested cuts to remove the inter-cutting of a murder and a rabbit gutting, and to edit a bedroom murder and the stabbing of Professor Robertson. The bedroom murder was shortened though Hammer re-edited the stabbing of the doctor to comprise flash shots of earlier killings. Despite initial BBFC objections the film was then passed, and all later releases feature this same edited print. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in the 1880s due to the references to the Jack the Ripper murders, but features Burke and Hare who were around 60 years earlier and in Edinburgh, whilst the Ripper murders were in London. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Jekyll: I walked the streets, brooding on the bitter irony that all I wanted to do for humanity, for life, would be cheated by death... unless I could cheat death.
See more »

Connections

Version of Teenage Jekyll and Hyde (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

He'll Be There
Music & Lyrics by Brian Clemens
Performed by Julia Wright (dubbed by Jackie Lee)
See more »

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User Reviews

fair; worthwhile
12 October 2000 | by (cardiff, wales) – See all my reviews

The two most famous horror directors of the Hammer era (late 50's to mid 70's) are Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis. A step down the hierarchy is Roy Ward Baker, director of this film. His most acclaimed film is A Night to Remember about the Titanic. Throughout the sixties and up until as late as 1980 he directed a slew of horror films, the best being Quatermass and the Pit.

Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde stars another prominent figure of British Seventies horror, Ralph Bates. His best film is Fear in the Night, his worst The Monster. However, I associate Bates most with the titular role in Dear John, an Eighties sit-com where he played an unlucky divorcee. Thus I always perceive him as a rather pained character whatever the role.

This film occurs in 19th Century London, a cliched world of dense fog, stocky Bobbies and bawdy whores. The film has the typical `mad scientist resorting to nefarious deeds in the name of research' plot. As well as its loose heritage from R.L.Stevenson's classic novel, it also encompasses Jack the Ripper and bodysnatchers Burke and Hare.

The premise is suitably loopy. Jekyll's research switches from a panacea for disease, to an elixir of life, to finally a sex-changing potion. This involves removing an unspecified part of a woman's anatomy to obtain a sex hormone. I guess it is the ovaries that are removed, as the victims' head remains untouched, thus eliminating glands attached to the brain (hypothalamus/pituitary).

As with the source novel, an internal struggle for supremacy develops between Jekyll and his female alter ego Hyde. But Jekyll is not the goodly but misguided scientist as in the novel. He resorts to bodysnatching and murder long before the appearance of Hyde. Although Hyde is the personification of evil or the id, Jekyll is still bad so the viewer has no sympathy for him.

Films in which a man `becomes' a woman are usually comedy dramas (Some Like It Hot, Tootsie, All of Me, etc.). They always explore the differences in equality between men and women, whether economic, social, sexual, etc. To its detriment this film ignores such themes and instead concentrates on Ripper style murders.

Interestingly, the tale could be interpreted as one of sexual repression. The young man Jekyll is completely wedded to science, oblivious to the advances of his neighbour and the opposite of his Lothario professor friend. We have the familiar situation of the asexual scientist (cf. Terence Fisher's Frankenstein series, Re-animator, etc.). Sister Hyde is the exact opposite. She is sexually aggressive, with her striking red dress and interest in men and her own physique. A battle between the two personalities develops, male vs. female, repression vs. liberation, complete with undertones of homosexuality, transvestism, and the blurring of ones identity and gender.


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