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4.6 out of 5 stars
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1932/1941)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent selection. "The Haunting" is parrticularly excellent. "Dr. Jekyll " a classic with beautiful Ingrid Bergma and LanaTurner - Tracy top-notcher of course.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
Love this so much, I was super pleased with the condition and the movie is what it should be! Very pleased
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2013
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.
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on May 19, 2004
Fredric March earned an Academy Award for his bifurcated performance in the titular roles of the 1931 version--arguably the best to date--of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, Robert Louis Stevenson's familiar tale of a scientist who uses chemistry to liberate his baser instincts and allow them free reign over his body and behavior. And the Oscar was certainly deserved, as March easily convinces the audience that he is two different and disparate men. As the academic Dr. Jekyll, March is prim and decorous, the epitome of Victorian English gentility. But as the mean and selfish Mr. Hyde, March really cuts it loose and chews the scenery. Part of the transformation can be attributed to the make-up, of course, which makes March look like a snaggletoothed hybrid of simian and Neanderthal. But the make-up alone would not suffice. It is March's brash delivery of dialogue, unusual gesticulations and posturing, and bizarre body language that really sells the unrestrained, vile nature of Jekyll's alter ego.
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. When appropriate, several shots are set up so that the audience literally sees the action from Fredric March's point of view--or at least the camera is skillfully manipulated to make it appear as such--and talented cinematographer Karl Struss is able to frame these shots in such a way that they are natural to the flow of the plot and never feel gimmicky or contrived.
Now, the DVD from Warner Home Video would be worth the retail price for the 1931 edition of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE alone. But this is a double feature, folks, and Warner gives the paying public a second good film for the price of one ticket--MGM's 1941 version of the classic horror story.
In the 1941 film, Spencer Tracy assumes the two titular roles, and the beautiful Ingrid Bergman takes over the part of the prostitute Ivy. Other than the change of cast and some filmic or narrative "cosmetic" differences, the plot remains intrinsically the same. This film's budget was much larger than the 1931 flick, though, and it also has big-name, high-profile stars in the major roles. Yet despite those assets, this film doesn't quite achieve the pinnacle of the first.
The film's major weakness is the palpable miscasting of Tracy and Bergman. Both are fine actors, but Tracy's emotional range and Bergman's general persona make each really unsuitable for the characters they portray. Tracy just isn't able to cut loose to the same degree as March, and he is therefore unable to create a Mr. Hyde that reads as the unequivocal polar opposite of his Dr. Jekyll. As for Ms. Bergman, she's just too classy--on screen and off--for any audience to totally accept her as a woman of ill repute. And while she's certainly as pretty as her predecessor in this role, Ms. Bergman's performing style emanates a sense of continence that makes her Ivy seem celibate, especially when compared to the lusty sensuality that radiates from Ms. Hopkins' characterization.
Still, the 1941 version is a pretty good flick in its own right, and it even has a few outstanding moments. One of the best is a dream sequence where Ivy and Dr. Jekyll's betrothed--played by Lana Turner, who probably would be more believable than Bergman in the Ivy role--are transformed into centaur-like horses, with Mr. Hyde riding on their backs and wildly flailing at them with a whip.
In addition to the two films, the Warner double-feature DVD also contains a few cool bonus features. With the better of the two films (i.e., the 1931 version), there is an optional audio track that offers a feature commentary with film historian Greg Mank. Also included on the disc is a classic Looney Tunes cartoon called HYDE AND HARE, in which Bugs Bunny crosses paths with Dr. Jekyll and, in more ways than one, experiences the effects of the good Doc's elixir.
All in all this is a great double-feature offered at a reasonable price, and lovers of great cinema or fans of the horror genre will undoubtedly be pleased with having this disc in their film collections.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2004
This review is of the l933 Rouben Mamoulian version with Frederick March. I was horrified to see that this DVD transfer is so botched. It's filled with scratches, grain and the version I taped ten years ago from PBS is far superior. While this version is still fascinating to watch, you begin to ask questions. Why did the director plaster March with so much make-up BEFORE the transformation? He wears weird black lipstick and eyeshadow in his normal stages. When he does transfer, he becomes so ape like you have to wonder why everyone didn't run for the hills when they saw him coming? Which is why I found it hard to believe Ivy would spend one second with him--much less becoming his mistress. Still, this is the best version of them all and one hopes that one day a restored, cleaned up version will be available on DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2004
This is a two-sided DVD that contains two versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. As many other reviewers here have said, the 1932 Frederick March version is far superior to the 1941 Spencer Tracy version. The older version, directed by a 34-year-old Rouben Mamoulian, is a masterpiece and part of movie history. The later version, directed by Gone With the Wind and Wizard of Oz director Victor Fleming, seems like an uninspired copy of the earlier one. Frederick March understood the role and seemed to revel in it. But, oddly, while he overacts a bit as Jeykyll, he seems totally believable as the monstrous Hyde. Tracy seemed uncomfortable with both personalities, playing Jekyll as too much of a saint and Hyde as too much of a leering sadist. March conveys the personality of Hyde as joyfully enervated by the full release of Jeykll's baser instincts. His Hyde has fun with his own badness. Tracy's just drowns in it.
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.
The earlier version is so technically dazzling, it's hard to believe it was filmed only a couple of years after the silent Lon Chaney classic, Phantom of the Opera. I've never seen an early 30's film that looked so crisp and sounded so good. And no review of this version should leave out the excellent and sexy performance of Miriam Hopkins. She's convincing as a love-starved hooker and even more convincing as the terrified victim of a depraved client. In many ways, her performance seems less theatrical, and therefore more contemporary, than March's.
The Greg Mank commentary on the 1932 version is entertaining and informative, in a gossipy as well as scholarly style. Through his commentary, you find out things about the film and crew that really do add to your insight and enjoyment of the film. There is no commentary on the 1941 version, but Mank does disciss it a little (in too forgiving a way, I think) near the close of the 1932 version. Overall, I think this is a great collector's DVD, and will be one of the most treasured in my collection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2004
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. Not only do you get two films on one disc but there is an excellect commentary track as well as a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I find the 1932 version the better of the two. Not only are the special effects better but so are the acting and pacing. For example, early in the 1932 film Dr. Jekyll makes his ideas known in a dramatic speech to a group of university professors. The 1941 film has Dr. Jekyll making his comments over a dinner conversation, it doesn't hold the viewers interest as well as the older film. Also, the makeup of the 1932 film turns Mr. Hyde uglier after each transformation. This helps to emphasize his more horrible behavior as the film goes on. The makeup on the final transformation is so extreme that, according to the commentary, March had to be hospitalized in order to prevent his face from being scarred for life. The older film also makes good use of several scenes with split screens.
The best way to compare the films is to see them for yourself, so do yourself a favor and order it now.
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on January 29, 2004
Even though this does not have the wit of the James Whale/Universal horror films, it is still a great piece. March is outstanding as J/H--his transformation and sinister/goofy portrayal of an apeish Hyde is great acting. This movie is worth watching if only for Miriam Hopkins. What a babe--think of her as the pre-code Cameron Diaz. She certainly seduced me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2004
As one who never misses an opportunity to add a Spencer Tracy film to my collection, I must admit that I am a bit prejudice because of my view that he is, perhaps, the finest American actor of the 1940-1960 era. But, unlike the other reviewers I much preferred the Tracy version of the story. First, while some of the technical flaws of the Frederick March version may be due to film degradation, it is also clear that sound recording in the 1932 version was far more primitive, something you'll especially notice in scenes where there is movement across a large set. By 1941, not only had the sound recording improved substantially, but the visual aspect of film had also evolved.
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.
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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! The '41 version always was a top example of MGM gloss and still is. Filmmakers from the beginning - there's a 1911 version on dvd now - realized that RL Stevenson's story could never be faithfully told as he wrote it. Why? Because he wrote a mystery: what is this relationship between Jekyll and Hyde? He does a great job of letting readers imagine a sordid relationship between the two men - blackmail or sex? The surprise ending that the two men were one and the same became too well known to be faithfully depicted. Instead, filmmakers turned the story into a cat and mouse game with the viewer as a de facto accomplice of J/H.
That said, these two sound film versions take different approaches to the story and it's really a case of comparing apples to oranges to say one is better than the other. I think that Stevenson himself would have preferred the 1941 version if only because it captured the staid Victorian mindset of the British upper class that he depicted in his novel. Likewise, Spencer Tracy's characterization of Hyde as a master rather than a monster of psychological torture is a great idea. Not necessarily better, but an interesting alternate approach. Fredric March knew he was walking in John Barrymore's footsteps from the 1920 version so his monstrous appearance was probably a given under the circumstances.
One last point worth mentioning: Both versions have a major gap in logic in the final scene. We understand why Hyde would seek to escape the consequences of his murdering two people, but when Jekyll is restored in the final scene, how strange that he continues the cover up, refusing Dr. Lanyon's request to tell the police the truth. If you think about it, this action is totally at odds with Jekyll's character. The problem was addresed better in Barrymore's 1920 version: before Hyde takes over again, Jekyll swallows poison to stop Hyde's further atrocities. Good man, that Henry Jekyll!
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