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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director:

John S. Robertson

Writers:

Robert Louis Stevenson (by), Clara Beranger (scenario) (as Clara S. Beranger)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde
Brandon Hurst ... Sir George Carewe
Martha Mansfield ... Millicent Carewe
Charles Lane Charles Lane ... Dr. Lanyon
Cecil Clovelly Cecil Clovelly ... Edward Enfield
Nita Naldi ... Miss Gina
Louis Wolheim ... Music Hall Proprietor
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Storyline

Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll's enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll's affairs. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's greatest actor in a tremendous story of man at his best and worst!

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1920 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Dobbeltmennesket (Dr. Jekyll og Mr. Hyde) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1971 alternate) | (Kino Print) | (DVD) | (Kino)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to popular belief, this film was not shot at the Astoria Studios in Long Island. Principal photography took place between December 1919 and January 1920 in the rooftop auditorium of the Amsterdam Opera House on 44th St. in Manhattan, in order for Barrymore to make his regularly scheduled Broadway appearances. In between February, 1920 and September, 1920, Paramount used the downstairs auditorium when it became available. The Astoria studios opened the following month. See more »

Goofs

After the first transformation scene when Hyde attempts to change back into Jekyll, as he throws himself onto the floor, you can see one of his prosthetic fingers fly off. See more »

Quotes

Sir George Carew: [to Jekyll] A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. They only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Except for John Barrymore whose name appears above the title, actors were not originally credited in this movie at the start or at the end. Instead, four additional actors and their character names are credited in the inter-titles right before they appear on-screen. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Impatient Patient (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Holds Up Incredibly Well
22 October 2006 | by ReelCheeseSee all my reviews

Early silent version of the classic horror tale holds up incredibly well more than eight decades later. John Barrymore is the well-to-do doctor who concocts a serum that allows his dark side to find a home in his alter ego. But how long can this double identity survive before one of the personalities absorbs the other?

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE works as well as it does thanks in no small part to Barrymore, the early screen legend. His amazing performance transcends the lack of sound, scratchy picture and obvious limitations. He is the definitive Dr. Jekyll and a suitably creepy Mr. Hyde. Barrymore's co-stars more than hold their own, proving that acting is an inherited talent, not something that is necessarily developed through years of schooling. Brandon Hurst in particular stands out as the upperclassman Sir George Carew.

The film also benefits from its strong script and dialog, though much of the credit there must go to Robert Louis Stevenson, who authored the book on which it is based. What could have easily been a mediocre man-turned-monster outing is instead smart, thought-provoking and imaginative. Director John S. Robertson is to be highly praised.

I went into DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE prepared to cut it heaps of slack given its 1920 production date. But not once did I have to award it brownie points for trying. This is a screen gem from which the Hollywood of today could learn some valuable lessons.


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