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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Poster
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Poster

Released

1931

Runtime

98

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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What's it About

Warner's DVD provides two versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931 and 1941). These films present the story of a brilliant and virtuous scientist, Dr. Jekyll, who is undertaking highly unconventional experiments which attempt to isolate the source of man's basest most primitive impulses. Dr. Jekyll concocts a potion which turns him into the rampaging beast-like Mr. Hyde who terrorizes all of London. Can the doctor formulate an antidote to this serum before his own life is destroyed?

Why we love it

Both versions of this oft-told classic make for worthwhile viewing, with my own slight preference the earlier pre-Code entry starring March. It's the more frightening of the two, with stark, expressionist sets and ghoulish Hyde make-up accentuating Jekyll's turn from good to evil. The second entry has a gorgeous MGM gloss, and assured direction by Victor Fleming. It also has Tracy, a fabulous actor whose Hyde is a subtler rendition, a man with a heavy brow and leering expression, whose change seems more behavioral than physical. The second version also boasts the luminous Bergman, playing against type as a streetwalker. See both entries, and make up your own mind. You won't go far wrong either way.