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First of all, the tagline and the claim in the trailer that you will
actually see a man transform into a woman before your very eyes isn't
exactly true. A man does change into a woman in this film; but the
change doesn't take place 'before your very eyes'. That being said;
this is still a great horror film. Hammer studios have done some great
variations on classic tales, and this one stands up as one of their
best. The story follows Dr Jekyll, a scientist that, when trying to
find cures to every disease going realises that his efforts to prolong
life will, ironically, be beaten by death. This then leads to him
trying to 'beat' death with the use of chemicals, but somewhere along
the way, as his experiments are oestrogen based, he ends up turning
himself into a woman. Oops!
As you might expect, this isn't an entirely serious horror film. However, there are more than enough moments of horror: the scenes where Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde battle for 'control' of their body is a brilliant piece of psychological horror, and the parts where Sister Hyde goes out to kill women in order to get more oestrogen are gratuitously bloody and should delight any horror fan. The film is also very atmospheric; the scenes on the streets are filled with smoke and are very gloomy in the way that they are filmed, which makes for a delicious setting. The cast is also brilliant; Ralph Bates is sublime as Dr Jekyll; he creates just the right mood for his character and is very believable, particularly during the split personality scenes. Martine Beswick, whom you might remember as the Bond girl in "From Russia With Love" is both sexy and sadistic as the evil Sister Hyde. She is the stand out of the movie for me. And most other men. Also in the cast is the lovely Susan Broderick, and the competent Lewis Fiander as brother and sister duo; Howard and Susan, who make for an interesting sub-plot when they both fall for Dr Jekyll. If you haven't realized already; Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde is a great horror film, and therefore comes with the highest recommendation that I can muster.
The stiff upper lip and jaw of Ralph Bates finally come into their own
in this nice variation of Jekyll and Hyde, which also mixes in good
quantities of Jack the Ripper myth and the famous 17th century grave
robbers Burke and Hare. Considerably less stiff is Martine Beswick as
the doctor's female alter ego. She is absolutely too loose in her ways,
but I am certainly not complaining! Both are just the right persons for
their clashing roles and superbly so. The actual physical change
between the two supreme parts in one person is shown in subtle manners
and without great special effects, which not only was cheaper to do,
but also leaves a lot for a viewer to imagine and so makes it in a way
easier to accept. A wise decision from the makers.
The plot idea of unifying the two main story lines of such classic origins is nothing short of brilliant. The invention of elixir of human life using female hormones and how to get it by "uncanny goings in late hours" really does the trick. So does the fascinating and at the same time foul results of the experiment, the mixing of selves and struggle for dominance. Of course much more could have been built in and deepened in the script making the story more intriguing and disturbing. Some needed romantic and freshening humor aspect comes from the continuously snooping neighbors with their funnily pretentious "it doesn't concern us" attitude.
In all, this is once again a fun and stylish horror movie from Hammer studios. The bolder style of company's early seventies film is very much present with some slight gore and nudity added in the proceedings. So, now everyone hurry up and see it.
The story is well known, but the Hammer computation of it is pure fun like you've rarely seen it before! The re-writing of the ancient fable by Robert L. Stevenson is dared and perhaps a bit silly, but it never loses the power of the classic version. You simply can't but love this film as it combines good laughs, a few shocks and terrific acting performances. Roy Ward Baker also did a sublime job as the director. Since the year of release is 1971, this one certainly belongs to the better ones of the late Hammer efforts, if not one of the best in the entire history of the British production company. The largest praising goes out to the cast. I've seen Ralph Bates before, as the vicious Baron in The Horror of Frankenstein, but I didn't like him that much at that time neither did I like that whole film, by the way. But he certainly does a great job here, as the dedicated scientist Dr. Jeckyll who is about to discover the secret to everlasting life! The intense work and dedication he puts into his research is spooky and funny at the same time. A pure joy to observe and a very bright performance. As an important substance of his experiments, he tests the effect of female hormones on himself, which makes him turn into his alter ego, Sister Hyde. He then becomes a stunning beauty, walking and talking through the body of the absolutely gorgeous Martine Beswick! This former Bond-girl (From Russia with Love) could be described best as every man's wet dream. As a cover for Dr. Jeckyll, sister Hyde goes out on the streets at night for killing new hormones! The alter ego slowly takes control over Jeckyll's manhood, which leads to a couple of hilarious and well-portrayed situations. As said before, the screenplay of this film is one you've got to love! Enormous fun! The Jack-the-Ripper settings and atmosphere are terrific and there even is some good bloodshed to enjoy for the real horror freaks! Highest possible recommendation for this one!
London. We see first how Jack the Ripper kills one whore. Then we see
that Ripper actually is Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll has killed womens to
produced he's "elixir of life". But when he drinks it he becomes a sexy
and evil femme fatale Hyde.
Sounds like a bad film? It is not.
This is one of few interesting horror films from Hammer at 70's. Director Roy Ward Baker(Vampyre Lowers) has made a film that really takes you at the late of 19's century. Ralph Bates(Horror of Frankenstein) is good as "the Ripper" Jekyll. In this version Jekyll has to do evil before he drinks the elixir. That make story more interesting. Jekyll first robs the graves with criminals called Burke and Hare(famous real life body snatchers from Edinburgh). Then he has to kill to do good. And when he finally takes a drink things are rally getting on. Martine Beswick(One million years B.C.) is beautiful, sexy and wicked as sister Hyde.
It is a good film. But still... I think that(as a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson's story)this could work better if writer/producer Brian Clemens would have made two films. One of Jekyll & Hyde, another of Jack the Ripper. But after all this, it is worth to see.
But do not watch that comedy Dr. Jekyll and ms. Hyde. That sucked so much!!!
Hammer's Dracula and Frankenstein movies starring Christopher Lee and/or Peter Cushing are probably their best known, but dig deeper and you'll find some even more original and inventive movies from the studio. Like 'Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde', one of the very best. Ralph Bates had appeared in a couple of not very good Hammer movies prior to this, but he's perfectly cast as Dr. Jekyll and the choice of the stunning Martine Beswick as his alter ego makes this really something to see! Beswick had already been a Bond girl and co-starred with Raquel Welch in Hammer's unforgettable trash classic 'One Million Years B.C.' before this. She later appeared in cult favourites like Oliver Stone's 'Seizure' and 'The Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood', but this to me is the definitive Beswick role. She is so sexy and evil in this movie, you'll never forget her once you see it. Gerald Sim plays Jekyll's horny colleague Professor Robertson, and Jekyll and Hyde's lives are complicated by their respective love interests (sister and brother) Susan (Susan Broderick) and Howard (Lewis Fiander). Broderick is really lovely. She seemed familiar but it wasn't until I looked her up that I realized where I had seen her before. David Hemmings buys something from her antique store towards the beginning of 'Blowup'. Fiander incidentally appeared with Gerard Sim in 'Dr.Phibes Rises Again' the year after this, but did very little subsequent horror work. As well as the great cast, the movie is helped enormously by a fresh script from Brian Clemens, and the solid direction from Roy Ward Baker, who had both previously worked on 'The Avengers'. It's funny, most fans immediately name Terence Fisher as Hammer's best director, but Baker directed three out of my Top Five Hammer movies (the others being 'The Vampire Lovers' and 'Quatermass And The Pit'), so I'd choose him instead. 'Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde' is wonderfully entertaining, and I give it my highest recommendation. If you've ever enjoyed a Hammer movie but haven't seen this one you're in for a real treat!
I'v seen many variations on the Jekyll and Hyde story, one could say
too many. But this Hammer film about Dr. Jekyll (Ralph Bates) who
changes into a woman (Martin Beswick) with the help of female estrogen
from girls that he's killed, stands as one of the better ones. And as a
latter day Hammer film it easily stands out from the pack, although not
reaching the splendid heights of films that were produced in Hammer
studio's heyday. nonetheless, I found the film to have a suitable mood
to it, and well-acted.
DVD Extras: Audio commentary by director Roy Ward Baker, actress Martine Beswick, writer/co-producer Brian Clemens, moderated by Hammer Films historian/author Marcus Hearn; 2 radio spots; Poster and still gallery; and Cast & crew bios
My Grade: B
Eye Candy: Martine Beswick lets loose her twin torpedoes
I am looking back on this movie with rose-tinted spectacles. I saw it
when it first came out at the movies and it was quite risqué at the
time. Nowadays, the levels of nudity and prurience would probably be
laughable but I do remember feeling a stirring in my loins at the scene
where Dr Jekyll realises he is now a woman and the first thing he does
is have a good gander. Probably exactly what I'd have done at the time!
Plot-wise it's pretty much the straight Jekyll/Hyde story and apart
from the twist of changing sex very little is different.
Good performances from Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick who in my opinion didn't get the roles she deserved as she was very much Hammer's leading lady and not a mainstream actress. Very much in the mould of a dark haired version of Ingrid Pitt.
Oh well, I guess a DVD version of this will be available soon if not now and I will watch with relish. However, be warned, I recently bought a DVD of Vampire Lovers and was totally disappointed - obviously my memory of this other movie was tinged with nostalgia for a more innocent time.
At any rate, a movie to be enjoyed when placed into the context of it being made in the early 70's, Hammer were not making a lot of money and were trying to bring a little sex into their horror movies.
A well acted,and well made film from the undisputed masters of horror HAMMER. A very satisfying mix of Dr Jekyll and Jack the ripper,not to mention Burke and Hare. Full marks to Roy Ward aker on yet another MASTERPIECE.
Like Jack the Ripper the tale of Jekyll and Hyde has been told so many
you gave up counting a long time ago. Would there be a single person on
planet who doesn't know the story? So when a director makes a movie on Dr.
Jekyll or Jack the Ripper and plans to amaze us, he or she should come up
with either an excellent movie or a daring new approach.
"Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde" succeeds in doing both. It is a good movie
it's quite original. Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick make a good Jekyll
Hyde and the movie is in the hands of a team that brought you very good
episodes of 'The Avengers' (director Roy Ward Baker, writer Brian Clemens
and the music of Laurie Johnson).
Some scenes could have been better, but a believable combination of Jekyll and Hyde is rare, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt. By the way, Susan Broderick is very good as the girl next door. Apparently she acted only in two movies (the other one is "Blow Up"), so there's another reason why you should see it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dr. Jekyll(Alan Bates)really wishes to cure the ills of mankind, but
faces a moral dilemma..he needs to live eternally so the act of death
will not stand in the way of experimental progress for curing diseases.
He finds that the female hormones is his answer for eternal life, but
there's a catch..when one ingests the formula, they turn female! He
finds this out the hard way. After ingesting some of his formula, he
finds that a female emerges in his body and she(played by the sexually
dynamic Martine Beswick..as far as I was concerned, Jekyll could've
remained buried underneath her a lot longer!)doesn't wish to leave.
Talk about identity crisis! It doesn't stop there! This particular film
explains who Jack the Ripper, The White Chapel killer really was..Dr.
Jekyll! Yes, the film has Jekyll murdering the prostitutes extracting
their vital female organs for his experiments! Lots of blood splatter
in this Hammer tale. The film doesn't even stop there! Before going
gonzo slaying whores on London fog-shrouded streets, he depended on
grave-robbers(..and murderers)Burke and Haire to supply him fresh
female victims so that he could remove what he needed for experiments!
This film is macabre at it's very core and director Roy Ward Baker
brings an uncanny atmosphere, style, and wicked satire..when a man
faces the opposite sex within opposing, who ultimately wins in the end?
Jekyll? Hyde? Is the male stronger or the female? Which gender
ultimately wins that tug of war over mind, body & soul? Great
movie..not only is it highly entertaining and a visual feast for the
eyes thanks to Baker's impressive work, but intelligent and inventive.
A triumph for Hammer studios. What great casting! Bates and Beswick's
resemblances are unbelievable! I did forget to point out a very
interesting story that plays out well..Jekyll is in love with an
upstairs neighbor, Susan(Susan Broderick, quite charming and lovely..a
direct opposite of Beswick who is aggressive, fetching, and sexually
overpowering)and Hyde is in love with Susan's brother Howard(Lewis
Fiander)! Now that certainly complicates things! The violent attacks on
White Chapel drunken tramps are not blatant..Baker shoots them in a way
that is effective but not overly gory. A terrific score from David
Whitaker, at times quite sinister, and when Beswick appears,
The transformation sequences are rather imaginatively handled as well. Only on a few occasions does Baker resort to camera dissolves. An interesting turn in the film has a friend of Jekyll's, Professor Robertson(Gerald Sim), with a weakness for women and cheap sex, who suspects his friend for being the Ripper, only to be seduced by Hyde!
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