|Index||5 reviews in total|
A literally soul-searching doctor splits the good and evil natures within his own personality. A creditable adaptation (by Gore Vidal) of the horror perennial is undermined by pedestrian handling and a leading man, Michael Rennie, whose physiognomy is far too prominent to be mistaken (especially under the scarce make-up employed). Having said that, the sheer presence of such veteran cast members like Cedric Hardwicke (as Dr. Lanyon through whose eyes we see the narrative as he lies reading Jekyll's journal after his death) and John Hoyt (as Poole) keeps one watching. This episode of CLIMAX! was the earliest TV adaptation of the tale and, like other entries in this series, the show is frequently interrupted by "Your Host William Lundigan"'s tedious salesman pitch on the newest car models! In addition, I have previously watched Jean Renoir's splendid take on the material, THE TESTAMENT OF DR. CORDELIER (1959); Dan Curtis' 1968 production with Jack Palance; Giorgio Albertazzi's superlative modernization in the four-part mini-series, JEKYLL (1969); and the 1990 one with Michael Caine. Furthermore, I have another two other small screen adaptations I will be catching up with during this ongoing Halloween Challenge.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's really unfortunate that the story of Dr. Jekyll has become so
famous. Part of this is that because the story is such a familiar tale,
everyone seems to know what will happen--ruining any sense of suspense
(which the original story had--big time). And, part of this is because
all too often, producers used this as a cheap idea for a film--after
all, it was in the public domain and it took little brain work to
recreate the story. And, speaking of little brain work, I have seen
MANY versions of the story and so far none of them have gotten it the
story very closely, as they all seem to miss one of the main points of
Robert Lewis Stevenson's exceptional novel. You see, to be like the
book, the actor that plays Jekyll CANNOT be the one who plays Hyde, as
Hyde was a much smaller and stockier character. Instead of the usual
cheap makeup job stories have, why didn't they use two different
actors? Plus, the way Stevenson wrote the story, you really did NOT
know they were the same person until the end (though, as I said, the
story is so familiar now that this great twist is now meaningless).
So does this made for TV one hour production offer anything NEW--anything that sets it apart from the other craptacular films? Well, yes and no. It does start off like the novel--with a friend reading Jekyll's diary to learn about he man's fate. I liked this a lot. Sadly, however, little else about this movie worked any better than the Frederic March, John Barrymore, Spencer Tracy or any other version. Michael Rennie and Cederic Hardwicke, though fine actors, are pretty wooden and uninteresting here--as is the entire film, actually. In fact, the film could have used a large case of CPR---breathing some life into the flat tale. Overall, it wasn't horrible--just very pedestrian from start to finish.
By the way, since I divulge that Jekyll IS Hyde, I marked this one as having a spoiler. But, is this even necessary any more? Just who DOESN'T know this?
Climax!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1955)
Michael Rennie plays the part of Dr. Jekyll, the scientist who experiments with a potion and gets turned into the evil Mr. Hyde. Hyde soon sets his site on a dance hall girl (Mary Sinclair), which leads to murder.
If you're a fan of the Robert Louis Stevenson story then you've probably seen countless version of it. This episode of the Climax! series at least offers up some good performances but there's very little else here that you'd considering fresh or original. I think the biggest problem is that it's somewhat poorly shot, although the limitations of television at the time can be blamed for this. As far as Rennie goes he's certainly good in the role and it's too bad he didn't get a chance to fully play Hyde as they obviously couldn't cross the line in regards to sexuality or violence. I thought Cedric Hardwicke was good as was Sinclair, although her one long scream before a commercial break was a bit too much.
This is one of the scariest short films I have ever seen. Doctor Jekyll discovers that man has two souls a good soul and an evil soul. He invents a formula that bring out his evil side. He lose control of it. This is a very scary movie. It is best on one of the best horror book ever. This is one of the scariest movie you will ever see. This movie as a great story line. It also has great acting. It also has great special effects. This movie has a lot suspense. It is a great movie. If you like scary movie then you need to see this movie. This is one of the scariest movies ever made. I need more lines and I am running out of thing to say.
I stand second to no one (well, okay, Nabokov) in my admiration of
Robert Louis Stevenson's brilliantly structured and written novel,
which is popularly thought to be a horror story but is really more
about the unleashed id of a normal (that is, both good and bad) man.
Gore Vidal's script presents Dr. Jekyll's experiment as an attempt to
expose man's soul and dissect it into angelic and demonic-- a
misinterpretation of Stevenson, but not bad.
Michael Rennie is a fine Jekyll, but he is no better a Hyde than his precursors have been. (No one has yet topped John Barrymore's silent rendering, in 1920, in which he achieved part of the Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation without the use of make-up). The real problem with this movie-- the reason it isn't worth seeing-- is the production itself. There are just a few stage sets with deplorable lighting and clunky sound-- a made-for-TV product from 1955, with every technical drawback in plain sight. Jekyll/Hyde is too complex a piece-- it demands CGI, in fact-- to really have made a successful transition to early television with its primitive technology. That said, Vidal and Rennie manage to convey the beastliness of Hyde without making him seem like a boogeyman. He is evil on a human scale, and Jekyll is tortured by the fact that he craves Hyde's amoral pursuit of pleasure. Kudos for that.
|Plot summary||Ratings||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|