In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men - a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late...Written by
Mark J. Popp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Barrymore, who had made a big comeback in the 1920 silent version, was offered the leading role in this film but turned it down. See more »
When Dr. Jekyll is first seen in the mirror, looking directly into the camera, the effect was achieved by filming Fredric March through a hole in the wall framed to look like a mirror. But moments earlier, the trick is revealed when the butler walks past the "mirror" but has no reflection. See more »
You are pretty. And what a figure, my dear. What a figure! Glass of champagne. To you. To you, my dear. To your beauty.
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Originally released at 97 minutes. Later reissues are taken from a shortened 82-minutes print. Deletions include:
A 3.5 minute segment immediately following the opening credits. This is filmed in first person, and shows Jekyll playing the organ and getting ready for his lecture.
Jekyll helping a young girl to learn to walk in the free ward. This 1 minute scene precedes the scene with the sick woman in bed.
After his first transformation, Jekyll does not go immediately to the pub as in the cut version. Instead, Poole comes to the laboratory, and Jekyll takes the antidote and then lets him in. Jekyll then visits Muriel and learns that she is going away on a trip. Jekyll is preoccupied with her absence. When he learns she will be away another month, Poole suggests he go out. Jekyll knows a man of his position cannot be seen in the establishments of the lower classes, so he decides to take the potion again. Another on screen transformation occurs, this time while he is seated in a chair. He then leaves for the pub at which Ivy is singing. This sequence lasts 6.5 minutes.
Just before Jekyll's transformation in the park, the restored scene reveals the reason for his transformation without taking the potion. He sees a bird being killed by a cat up in a tree. The traces of the drug in him, combined with the witnessing of this violent act, is enough to trigger the transformation, which he now has no control over. This restored cut lasts 45 seconds.
The last restored scene is when Jekyll visits Muriel to "set her free". This adds additional details as to the torment Jekyll is going through, and confusion of Muriel as to what is troubling Jekyll.
An exceptional cast and intelligent direction seals the quality of the first 'talkie' version of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale. Often hailed as the best of the many screen adaptations of the story, director Robert Moumalin exploits the symbolic potential of the tale as well as boldly tapping into popular Freudian trends concerning sexual repression. The result is not a by-the-numbers rendition but an effective interpretation with quirks and dimensions of its own. Yet the film belongs to Frederic March who scooped an Oscar for his sensational dual role. Although as Jekyll he unfortunately has to trade flowery romantic dialogue with Rose Hobart, there can be no disputing the menace of his Hyde, with his simian-like appearance, top hat, cloak and cane, who turns cockney hooker Miriam Hopkins' life into a nightmare. It's a breathtaking transformation both physically (thanks to stellar make-up and special effects) and artistically and is undoubtedly the centrepiece of this excellent vintage classic.
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