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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | September 1941 (USA)
Dr. Jekyll allows his dark side to run wild when he drinks a potion that turns him into the evil Mr. Hyde.


Victor Fleming


John Lee Mahin (screen play), Robert Louis Stevenson (based on the novella by)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
Ingrid Bergman ... Ivy Peterson
Lana Turner ... Beatrix Emery
Donald Crisp ... Sir Charles Emery
Ian Hunter ... Dr. John Lanyon
Barton MacLane ... Sam Higgins
C. Aubrey Smith ... The Bishop
Peter Godfrey ... Poole
Sara Allgood ... Mrs. Higgins
Frederick Worlock ... Dr. Heath (as Frederic Worlock)
William Tannen ... Intern Fenwick
Frances Robinson ... Marcia
Denis Green Denis Green ... Freddie
Billy Bevan ... Mr. Weller
Forrester Harvey ... Old Prouty


Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll and Sir Charles, Jekyll's fiancée's father. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Do you have secret longings that you dare not reveal? If you do, it's the Mr. Hyde in you - and you can find out all about him from M-G-M's fascinating, revealing film! See more »


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre y la bestia See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There are some key differences between Robert Louis Stevenson's novel and this film. In the novella, the story of "Jekyll" and "Hyde" is revealed indirectly by two characters discussing the unusual details of the will of the late Dr. Jeykll. The novella also reveals that Jekyll had been leading a secret life of vice prior to developing his serum. In addition, the characters of "Ivy Peterson" and "Beatrix Emery" do not exist in the novella. Although not credited onscreen, Samuel Hoffenstein, who wrote the screenplay for the 1932 Paramount adaptation of the Stevenson novella, was credited by the SAB as a contributing writer for the M-G-M production. According to news items in HR , actresses Patricia Morison and Susan Hayward were tested for roles in the film, and Ingrid Bergman was borrowed from David O. Selznick's company for her role. Although Victor Saville is listed in news items and production charts as the film's producer, he was not given screen credit or credited in reviews. As Saville would normally have been credited onscreen, it is possible that his name was not used in connection with the released film because of a controversy surrounding his rumored propagandizing on behalf of Great Britain. According to a LAEx news item on 10 Sep 1941, Senator Gerald P. Nye was urging that Saville be summoned to testify before a Senate committee investigating "British agents operating in the motion picture industry." In the article, Nye was quoted as saying "Persistent is the report within the industry that the British Ministry of Information arranged his visa to the end that he might work in Hollywood and represent the interest of the British ministry." Following America's entry into the war in early Dec 1941, the controversy died down and it has not been determined whether Saville actually testified before the Senate. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, when the first script was submitted to the Hays Office on 11 Nov 1940, M-G-M encountered a few problems with both dialogue and story. The line assigned "Hyde," when speaking to "Ivy," "I'm hurting you because I like to hurt you," was deemed unacceptable because of its "definite suggestion of sadism," and it was indicated to M-G-M that there should be no suggestion of a rape of Ivy by Hyde. The script was approved, following some minor changes, on 5 Feb 1941. After completion of the film, the Hays Office raised strong objections to portions of Peter Ballbusch's two montage sequences, which take place just after Jekyll turns into Hyde. In the first montage, the office requested the removal of several minor shots, plus the shot in which "Tracy is shown lashing the two girls" and a mention of the 23rd Psalm. In the second montage, the studio was told to delete "All scenes having to do with the swan and the girl, and the stallion and the girl." The first montage was edited so that in the released film there are no shots of either "Ivy" or "Bea" receiving lashes, but there are medium close-up shots of "Hyde" using a whip. There were no words from the 23rd Psalm in the montage, but "Poole" recites the first lines, "The Lord is my shepherd..." at the end of the film. In the second montage, all of the required eliminations were made. No serious censorship problems arose after the film's initial release, but according to a DV article on 17 Feb 1955, the picture was banned in Memphis by "film censor czar Lloyd T. Binford" because "Miss Bergman is an immoral woman," a reference to a scandal that surrounded Bergman's relationship with Italian director Roberto Rossellini. (For additional information on their relationship please see the entry below for Stromboli ). Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde earned three Academy Award nominations: Black & White Cinematography (Joseph Ruttenberg); Film Editing (Harold F. Kreiss); and Musical Score (Franz Waxman). There have been many stage and film adaptations of Stevenson's novel. These include a stage play starring Richard Mansfield (Boston, 9 May 1887), which developed Stevenson's story along the lines that have generally been followed in subsequent stage, screen and televised adaptations; a 1920 Paramount film directed by John Stewart Robertson, starring John Barrymore and Miriam Hopkins (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.1063); the 1920 German film Der Januskopf , directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Conrad Veidt; the 1932 Paramount production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1076); the 1959 French film Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier , directed by Jean Renoir and starring Jean-Louis Barrault; the 1963 Paramount release The Nutty Professor , directed by and starring Jerry Lewis (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.3501), the 1980 British-made Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype , directed by Charles B. Griffith and starring Oliver Reed; and the 1996 Paramount film The Nutty Professor , directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Eddie Murphy. In early 1998, a new motion picture adaptation of the novel was announced by New Regency Films, to be written by playwright David Mamet and star Al Pacino, but that film was not made. GENRE (American Film Institute) See more »


Spencer Tracy's double is very obvious at various times in the movie. See more »


Mr. Edward Hyde: You're looking for a man named Hyde.
Dr. Henry Jekyll: Hyde? I'm Doctor Henry Jekyll!
See more »


Version of Mary Reilly (1996) See more »


See Me Dance the Polka
Music and Lyrics by George Grossmith
Additional Lyrics by John Lee Mahin
Sung by Alice Mock in the "Palace of Frivolties" show
Reprised by Ingrid Bergman
Whistled by Spencer Tracy (whistling dubbed by Robert Bradford)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Undermined by the Code, Enhanced by Bergman...
22 December 2017 | by ElMaruecan82See all my reviews

An adaptation of "Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" wasn't particularly necessary after the 1931 version, but just as the Fredric March version brought new elements over the 1920 silent classic with John Barrymore, there could have been something fresh to make out of the 'old' material. The subject would have been even more relevant in the worldwide context of 1941. Unfortunately, the film only retreads the same formula and fails to pass as a superior version, mostly because of the prevailing Hays Code. Don't get me wrong, it is a good film in its own right and it's served by solid acting and confident directing, but the good parts were either as good in the 1931 version or better.

Although he looks more middle-aged than "young", Spencer Tracy delivers a fine performance as Dr. Jekyll, he's an ambitious, stubborn man who doesn't hesitate to confront a suspicious and unfriendly crowd when exposing some politically incorrect ideas about the natural duplicity of the human soul. And while he's a great Jekyll, Tracy can't explore the evil richness of Hyde as March was allowed to. I don't think it's a comment on his acting abilities since Tracy is the epitome of versatility, but something must have been too limiting in that directing from Fleming.

Mamoulian who did the 1931 film was a Russian so he could inject some bold creativity and he did... but Fleming was too conventional, if we except the one scene where I thought I was watching a Hitchcock movie. There's perhaps one stroke of genius that elevates the film slightly above its predecessor. During the transformation scene, a hallucination shows Jekyll whipping two horses whose faces are slowly transposed to the two women: Lana Turner who plays Beatrix, the eye-candy society lady and Ingrid Bergman who plays hell-for-soul prostitute Ivy Pearson. Apart from that one blow at the Code, the film might have been too 'good' for its own good.

Tracy could then only venture his character in the realm of emotional volatility rather than that bestial lust that made March so domineering. In the dinner scene, there's a lady referring to that new chap named Oscar Wilde. I don't think that was incongruous, among Wilde's famous quotations: "the best way to resist temptation is to yield to it.". The Jekyll/Hyde story has always been built on two chapters: Jekyll resisting the temptation and Hyde's dark indulgences. But there's nothing in that Jekyll that seems ever exposed to the temptations, even when he first meets Ivy, Tracy plays it like a father figure and Bergman's heart is broken. We see love more than lust.

And it doesn't get better with Hyde, the 1931 one had the face of a prehistoric man, incarnating our hidden impulses, Hyde here is evil all right but the very point of Hyde is to be more than a villain, here he looks like some bum escaped from an asylum, a rabid dog ready to bite out of despair, but not like some individual driven by something repressed for years.Maybe it's Lana Turner as Beatrix who failed to inspire Tracy (too voluptuous and sweet) but in the 1931 film, you could feel the sexual tension between Rose Hobart and March, and a similar tension between Jekyll and Ivy (played by Myriam Hopkins).

I guess, the code is to be blamed, because while it does expose battle between the forces of good and evil in human soul, the line that Jekyll has to cross is never drawn in clear terms. There were even moments where it was hard to tell if he was Jekyll turning into Hyde or the opposite, and even harder to believe his friend and colleague and best friend Lanyon (Ian Hunter) didn't know it was Jekyll. Still, for all these flaws, the film has one asset and not the least, her name is Ingrid Bergman. I read that it was her performance in "Intermezzo" that won her the part for "Casablanca", I'm pretty confident that this film achieved to convince the producers, she was good on an Oscar level, proving to have some gift when it came to play long suffering women.

There was something in her performance as the poor ill-fated Ivy that almost stole the thunder of Jekyll and Hyde and avoided her typecast as 'nice women', she embodied the trauma of women who're pleasant enough to appeal to respectable men but can only attract sleazy thugs like Hyde. She was a real tragic character and indirectly the redeeming factor of the film. I didn't feel scared by Hyde as much as I felt sorry for Ivy. And the way she went from childish joy to sheer terror when the shadow of Hyde begun to creep was perhaps the most painful to watch moment. Yes she was that good.

And she was so good that according to Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy wanted Bergman to play the dual role and I thought that was an interest twist on the story, how about the duplicity of women as well as men. Lana Turner didn't add nothing to the film (without ruining it though) so it's sad that Fleming didn't follow that advice, who knows, maybe the film's reputation would have been enhanced? It's still worth to watch for the atmosphere, the performances of the two leads but this is one movie where the context is crucial to understand where it succeeded, and where it failed. Fortunately, there's still the 1931 version, and it is the definite one.

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