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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Jekyll is writing the letter to Muriel prior to drinking the potion for the first time, he signs the name "Harry" instead of Henry. See more »
Strike me pink! Fifty pounds from the celebrated Dr. Jekyll. He's a grand gentleman. Always helpin' them what needs 'im. Now, dearie, he sends you fifty pounds, it shows he takes an interest in you. Now, why don't you go and thank the gentleman, proper. Then you could tell him all about this here Hyde business. He'll tell that blighter what's what! You'll see if he don't!
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The infamous Miriam Hopkins nude scene, missing even from the restored Turner Classics version on VHS, is fully restored in the DVD release. This widely censored scene includes a single nude shot, lasting perhaps five seconds, of Miriam Hopkins as Ivy getting into bed during her first meeting with Jekyll. The DVD also restores the film's original Paramount opening logo (previous video release opened with the MGM logo.) See more »
Not Quite the Book BUT Mesmerizing Performance by March and Innovative Direction/Camera
For all the existing film versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1886), this 1931 Paramount offering starring the incomparable Frederic March is probably the best. None quite follow the original book, whose tale is actually told backwards in a way. The book does not follow a series of linear events that lead to the so-called "transformation". Instead, rumors of a strange man surface between two characters in the very opening. We learn about Hyde first before Jekyll, which is not the way any film adaptation has ever told the story.
Still, the present film has a lot going for it. At the forefront is Frederic March in the classic dual role of good and evil. When he first becomes Hyde, I thought another actor was playing the role, it's that good! Another distinctive aspect is the camera work which must have been extremely innovative for its time. The opening moments are shot with a first person perspective. The transformation is done relatively seamlessly considering CGI effects had yet to be invented. There are other moments of shadows and dark corridors. The atmospheric fog that permeates the entire film is worth the price of admission.
As stated by other reviewers, some of the dialog hearkens back to an earlier era of the Vaudeville Melodrama. Characters didn't just love each other, they loved each other for eternity! Still a fine film all things considered, dated perhaps in places, but still March's performance is unbeatable, and definitely deserved of the Academy Award for Best Actor.
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