Newest Reviews
Castle Freak
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Blue My Mind
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Split Personality
Year: 1941
Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith, Peter Godfrey, Sara Allgood, Frederick Worlock, William Tannen, Frances Robinson, Denis Green, Billy Bevan, Forrester Harvey, Lumsden Hare
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Dr Henry Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) was in church this Sunday morning when one of the congregation became disruptive and started to shout down the minister (C. Aubrey Smith), who was forced to go straight into the next hymn rather than finish his sermon to drown the heckler out. Jekyll went over to the man who was being escorted from the building, and comforted his wife (Sara Allgood), his mind racing about how this unfortunate, who had never been the same since suffering shellshock, could be treated by him medically. Jekyll has a promising future, and is engaged to a glamorous socialite in Beatrix Emery (Lana Turner), but he will put all that in jeopardy...

And all because he meddled in God's domain! Yes, it's the same old story, which was growing old hat even by 1941, where the Oscar-winning 1931 horror classic was remade as a vehicle for Spencer Tracy, not the most likely Dr Jekyll, never mind a Mr Hyde, but he was adamant that he was the right man for the role, being one of those stars who gets it into their heads that what the public really wants to see is how far they can extend their dramatic range. As it turned out, nobody had much good to say about this version, not director Victor Fleming whose previous film had been the mega-successful Gone With The Wind, and not any of the critics and moviegoers, either.

The main bones of contention were that Tracy was simply the wrong man for the role, and that compared to the earlier incarnation this was too toned down to have any real impact. It's true that the star wasn't best suited to this part, but for all the misgivings it was interesting to see him attempt something outside of his usual province, and once he gets into the Hyde aspect of the misguided doctor's personality he did offer a sense of brute force, if nothing of the subtlety required elsewhere. He certainly won't have you rolling around the floor at how inappropriate he is, as he's simply too grim for that, no matter how often the wicked alter ego bares his teeth in a ferocious grin.

Eschewing the plotting of Robert Louis Stevenson's original story, here Fleming and company settled on a straight remake of the Rouben Mamoulian one of ten years before (you think there are too many remakes these days?). Only here instead of a prostitute, the censors were happier with Ivy being a barmaid, although she does seem on the flighty side, essayed by Ingrid Bergman in a role she lobbied for, swapping with Lana Turner for the fiancée role, and like Tracy living to regret her eagerness for a challenge. As Jekyll has scandalised a dinner party with his theories on the duality of mankind's nature, we can see why he wishes to separate the two sides of personalities, if not understand what good would come of it, but when he begins downing his potion he might not perceive that either.

Hyde settles on Ivy as the person he wishes to victimise, after Jekyll saved her from an attack, brought her to her home, but was too much of a gentleman to do anything about his attraction to her. In the evil guise, however, he has no such qualms, and terrorises the woman into obeying his every whim, beating her into compliance. This might not be very scary in the horror movie manner, but as an examination of domestic violence the scenes with Bergman and Tracy do have a peculiarly modern feel to them, not exactly Nil By Mouth, but in the same territory. Alas, these interesting paths are somewhat sabotaged by our old friend Sigmund Freud, as Hollywood had discovered his brand of psychology and so we get laughter-inducing visions of Jekyll's twisting mind (Bergman and Turner whipped as his horses, for example), and too much reliance on explaining away behaviour in too-basically thought out motives and observations. You can see why it has not been treated kindly over the years, yet it does have points of interest, mostly when it gets closest to authenticity. Music by Franz Waxman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3990 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
11 Aug 2010
  This was the one where W. Somerset Maugham visited the set and quipped "which one is he now, Jekyll or Hyde?" Which is a fine way to talk about one of cinema's greatest actors! Not as good as the Frederic March version, but really weird dream sequences.
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
11 Aug 2010
  The way I heard it, Maugham genuinely didn't know! I wouldn't have minded more dream sequences, they lifted this out of the ordinary in their barmy way.

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: