Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A young woman discovers she is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Jekyll, and begins to believe that she may also have a split personality, one of whom is a ruthless killer.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie opens with a swirling mist and narration about the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (a novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1886 and titled: "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"). There follows a close up of a man, Dr. Lomas (Arthur Shields), mid-transformation into a Mr. Hyde like character. Title and credits roll over a long shot of a mansion. It is the early-1900s, we are somewhere in England, and an old car pulls up to the mansion.

    George Hastings (John Agar) helps Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott) out of the car. He moves the luggage up to the house and rings the doorbell. Jacob (John Dierkes) answers the door but has no reaction to Janet. He stands there mute staring at her. Mrs. Merchant (Martha Wentworth) pushes him aside and welcomes Janet and George. Janet goes upstairs to her room where she meets her maid, Maggie (Molly McCart). She freshens up and changes for dinner. Maggie is in a hurry to walk home to the village. She refuses to sleep in the house, but won't give Janet an explanation. Maggie leaves the house, but the moon has already risen. Janet asks Mrs. Merchant about Maggie's superstition. Dr. Lomas, Janet's Guardian, arrives home and greets Janet and George. Janet explains George came along to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. She also explains that she and George are to be married. Dr. Lomas expresses his surprise. He tells her he should have been consulted before such an announcement. She is seeking an independent life, free of any financial entanglements with Dr. Lomas. While she is grateful for seeing to her needs as a child, she and her new husband want independence. Lomas tells her she was never living on his money, but her own money. She is an heiress to an estate and considerable fortune. The house and surrounding land is vast, and all hers. He has one final item on his list, but he begs off telling her. He says it can wait until morning.

    The next morning George and Janet join at breakfast. They explore the house. Janet tells George she's already counted thirty-six rooms. George notices that the room they are in is missing some space. There must be a secret room nearby. As this is an old house, hidden rooms in large houses were common. Janet opens the visor on a suit of armor and the bookcase swings open revealing the hidden room. It is a well-equipped chemical laboratory, but the dust suggests it hasn't been used for quite a while. Dr. Lomas enters and tells Janet the room was originally used to hide Jesuits at the time of Henry VIII, but her father used it as a lab. He tells George he must speak to Janet alone. Despite Janet's protests that George remain, Lomas is adamant. George leaves the room and Lomas and Janet talk.

    Jacob is out gathering wood. One of his jobs on the estate is to stoke the cooking stove and fireplaces. Janet comes down to see George in the dining room. She tells George, "I can't marry you. You must go and forget me." George demands an explanation, but Janet refuses to discuss the matter. Lomas asks Janet if he may tell George the story. She nods yes. The three leave the house and walk to the family crypt. Lomas unlocks the door and they enter. Jacob lets himself into the crypt with his own key to eavesdrop. Janet sees the tomb of Dr. Henry Jekyll, her father. Lomas explains Jekyll's theory and drugs--a recounting of the Stevenson story. Lomas tells the pair he saw Mr. Hyde only once before the mob killed him. Janet is concerned the madness may be hereditary. They leave the crypt and return to the house.

    Dr. Lomas suggests Janet get a good night's rest. He tries to hypnotize her. Maggie enters with Janet's warm milk to help her sleep. Lomas leaves and Maggie helps Janet get ready for bed. Maggie leaves for the village after telling Janet that during the full moon the monster Jekyll rises from his tomb. Janet dreams she is transformed and chases and kills Maggie. Her screams bring George, Lomas and Mrs. Merchant into her bedroom. Lomas gives her something to help her sleep. A short time later, Janet gets out of bed and notices blood on her hands and nightgown.

    The next morning George tells Lomas he wants Janet to leave today. Lomas advises against it for vague medical reasons. Janet, for her part, can't make a decision. Mrs. Merchant tells all assembled for breakfast that Jacob didn't show up and that Maggie is late. Jacob enters the house carrying the dead body of Maggie. She has a huge bruise on her neck. He puts her body on the couch for Lomas to examine. Jacob blames it on a werewolf, "We've seen it before." He directs his comments towards Janet. He addresses her as Ms. Jekyll. Janet sobs.

    Jacob arrives two hours late with groceries for the house. He was down at the local pub and has been drinking. Mrs. Merchant is mad, and they talk. She tries to set him straight, but is unsuccessful. Dr. Lomas puts Janet to bed, gives her a sedative and locks her in her room. That evening Jacob prowls around by the family crypt. Janet sleeps fitfully. She dreams she is outside wandering around the countryside. She encounters a young man (Marel Page) and woman (Rita Greene). She attacks and kills the woman in the woods. Janet wakes and again finds blood on her hands and nightdress. George and Lomas respond to her screams. Jacob enters the bedroom and informs Lomas they found Lucy, the young woman killed. Jacob blames Janet and he is fired on the spot. He tells them, "Let me tell you something. It won't be long till the daughter of Dr. Jekyll joins her father in the vault with a stake in her heart. We know how to deal with werewolves."

    Mrs. Merchant quits and leaves the house. Lomas goes to find another housekeeper. After he leaves, George retrieves a book from the library entitled, "Witch, Warlock and Werewolves." He begins to read a passage on werewolves. Janet, now dressed, comes downstairs and looking over George's shoulder reads the rest of the passage. Janet becomes hysterical. George takes her back to her room and gives her the pills Dr. Lomas left for her. Lomas returns home and tells George that he talked the constable out of swearing out a warrant for Janet, but there will be a coroner's inquest and Janet will be summoned as a witness. So now Janet has no decision to make about leaving, she cannot leave town until this matter is resolved. George goes up to see Janet but returns almost immediately and informs Lomas that Janet is missing. They search the house without success, so they search the grounds. They find her just outside the family crypt. George takes her back to the house. Lomas finds Jacob by the crypt sharpening a stake and orders him off the grounds. Back in Janet's bedroom, George nails the windows shut. Janet takes the sedative Lomas provides. Lomas volunteers to spend the night in her room guarding her. He wants to catch up on his reading of medical journals. With a candle, Lomas hypnotizes Janet and leads her out of her room. George gets out of bed. He is already dressed, and follows the pair. He suspects something. Lomas and Janet enter the hidden lab. They walk to the crypt. Lomas tells Janet she will dream again, she will attack and kill a woman, cut herself and cover her face and hands with blood, and then commit suicide by hanging herself.

    George follows Lomas upstairs in the crypt and is surprised to see him transform into a werewolf. George now sees for himself that is was Lomas who has been killing and blaming it all on Janet. He got Janet to believe she committed the horrible acts via hypnosis. Lomas attacks George and knocks him out. Lomas enters the village and spies on a woman getting dressed (Marjorie Stapp). She gets a phone call warning of the danger in the village. She is attacked by Lomas and killed while a phonograph plays in the background. Lomas runs off chased by two villagers armed with rifles. More men join the posse. As George comes to he sees Janet stringing the rope to hang herself. She starts to scream and George has to slap her into consciousness. He explains that Dr. Lomas is mad and committed the murders. He tells her Lomas hypnotized her. He wants control of the estate. They try to exit the crypt, but the door is locked. The mob is getting closer to Lomas. One shoots the doctor. He stumbles to the crypt. George tells Janet to lie down on her father's tomb and pretend she is still in a trance. The mob has now grown to a few dozen men and they are getting closer to their target. Lomas enters the crypt and smears blood on Janet. George attacks Lomas with a club, they struggle, but Lomas is too strong. George knocks Lomas down and Jacob, who entered the crypt with part of the mob, spears him in the heart with a stake. Lomas transforms from a Mr. Hyde character back to Dr. Lomas and dies. Jacob announces, "He will never prowl the night again." We cut to the same opening scene of Lomas in mist and are asked, "Are you sure?" This is followed by a demonic laugh. The movie closes with a long shot of the house and more demonic laughing.

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