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 <email@example.com>
The remarkable Jekyll-to-Hyde transition scenes in this film were accomplished by manipulating a series of variously colored filters in front of the camera lens. Fredric March's Hyde makeup was in various colors, and the way his appearance registered on the film depended on which color filter was being shot through. During the first transformation scene, the accompanying noises on the soundtrack included portions of Bach, a gong being played backwards, and, reportedly, a recording of director Rouben Mamoulian's own heart. Only in the late 1960's did Mamoulian reveal how they were done. See more »
During Hyde's first visit to the Variety Music Hall, he reaches over the railing to trip a waiter with his cane. As he lurches around to grab his cane, he knocks his top hat off the railing and it lands on the floor next to the waiter. In the next shot, Hyde is holding onto the hat as he lashes out with his cane. See more »
Perhaps you prefer a gentleman. One of those fine-mannered and honorable gentlemen. Those panting hypocrites who like your legs but talk about your garters.
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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.
I haven't read Stevenson's famous novel, but this film is adapted from a play which is supposedly a lot different anyway. The story is really not especially great. A scientist makes a potion that turns him into a total spazz. The spazz version ruins Dr. Jekyll's romance with Rose Hobart and tortures a loose woman, played by Miriam Hopkins. The film turns out to be completely amazing, however, thanks to the lead performance, by Fredric March, and the elegant direction by Rouben Mamoulian. Every time I see March in a film, I become more impressed by his range. Of course, this is a perfect vehicle to demonstrate one's range, and he excels as both Jekyll and Hyde, though his Hyde is what most will remember. Looking at his filmography, Mamoulian directed relatively few films for a director of his era (not to mention talent). I need to see more, most notably Love Me Tonight, but he will always be a genius in my book for Queen Christina. His direction of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is beautiful and nearly flawless. A lot of the film is made from the direct point-of-view of Jekyll, and he uses a first-person technique that works brilliantly. Between March and Mamoulian, the general silliness of the story is completely made up for. March's female co-stars, Hopkins and Hobart, are quite good, as well.
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