Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde [Import]
Fredric March won an Oscar® for playing the protagonist (and antagonist) of Robert Louis Stevenson's story. Dr. Henry Jekyll is an honorable man of science, albeit frustrated at the enforced celibacy of a delayed wedding date. Hyde is the fearsome creature he turns into after drinking a potion, and Hyde's appetites (mostly expressed with Miriam Hopkins's Cockney dance-hall wench) are decidedly unrestrained. March's performance is pretty theatrical, but it's fun to watch; his Hyde twitches and squawks and lopes around like an ape in a tuxedo. Rouben Mamoulian's direction has plenty of the brio of early-thirties Hollywood, and the transformations from Jekyll to Hyde are ingenious for the time. This film followed Dracula and Frankenstein into theaters by a few months, and it stands well with those horror classics--and it's a darn sight more fun (and much more down and dirty) than the 1941 MGM version of Stevenson's tale. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The special effects in the older version are also superior, and there is lyrical Freudian symbolism in the sets, statues, paintings, etc, that really adds to the drama and continually reminds us of Mamoulian's power as a visual director. The newer version attempts some symbolism (for example, the two whipped horses transform into the two leading ladies) but its symbolism is so heavy handed that it makes the earlier film seem profoundly subtle by comparison.
Even the makeup in the older version is superior. In the Tracy version, Mr. Hyde's appearance seems inconsistent from cut to cut within the same scene. And the use of a masked double for Tracy, even in non-stunt scenes in the London fog, is painfully obvious. You don't even need to pause the DVD to see it.Read more ›
But, my preference for the later Tracy version goes beyond that. To me the more subtle characterization of Hyde by Tracy captures the reality of the evil side of real people. March's transformation is excessive, more like one would expect from a horror movie, while Tracy seems to be saying that the average man is not grossly different at his best or worst, that it takes little to tip the scales. In particular, the final scene with Lana Turner, you know he is transforming from lover to murderer without ever seeing his face.
It's remarkable how very similar the scripts are for both versions, so I suggest watching them in chronological order. While I prefer the Tracy version, I appreciated the opportunity to see and compare the two. And, BTW, you will notice that it would seem more logical for the female leads in the Tracy version to be reversed, but both Lana Turner and Ingrid Bergman turn in fine performances, as opposed to Miriam Hopkins (1932) whose performance is a bit over the top.
Another outstanding performance in the film is that of Miriam Hopkins. In the role of prostitute Ivy Pearson, both the object of Mr. Hyde's carnal desires and the victim of his sadistic abuse, the amply bosomed and nicely figured Ms. Hopkins can exude a lustful sexiness while simultaneously being personable enough to elicit genuine sympathy from the audience.
The direction and cinematography work is also outstanding and contributes greatly to the film's success. Director Rouben Mamoulian keeps the pacing brisk and the story tight, never allowing the audience an opportunity to become distracted or bored.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Includes an alternate ending to Freaks, which is interesting. The Haunting is one of the best horror movies ever made. A classic.Published 26 days ago by Mel
deuc des meilleures version sur le sujet si on excepte la version avec Lon ChaneyPublished 28 days ago by françois morrissette
Excellent selection. "The Haunting" is parrticularly excellent. "Dr. Jekyll " a classic with beautiful Ingrid Bergma and LanaTurner - Tracy top-notcher of course.Published 8 months ago by William Griffiths
Love this so much, I was super pleased with the condition and the movie is what it should be! Very pleasedPublished on Dec 27 2013 by Kristin D
I've only watched Dr Jekyll and mr Hyde so far. It was really good. Older movies are great. I like black and white. I got it really fast too.Published on April 19 2013 by Rose
This review is of the l933 Rouben Mamoulian version with Frederick March. I was horrified to see that this DVD transfer is so botched. Read morePublished on April 21 2004 by Jery Tillotson
The fact that you are reading this shows your interest in this film. I can tell you now that you should purchase this DVD as soon as you finish reading this. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by James Bocchino
Even though this does not have the wit of the James Whale/Universal horror films, it is still a great piece. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004 by supremefiction
I just finished watching these two old favorites on this dvd and I concur with the earlier comments. I've never seen the '32 version looking so gorgeous! Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2004 by Robert M. Fells