Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Jekyll and Hyde Movies

At least 22 movies (including Mary Reilly [1996]) have been based on the notion of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson and/or on the play Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Thomas R Sullivan (1849-1916) (> Jekyll and Hyde).

1. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde US movie (1920). Paramount/ Artcraft/Famous Players/Lasky. Dir John S Robertson. Screenplay Clara S Beranger. Starring John Barrymore (Jekyll/Hyde), Brandon Hurst (George Carew), Charles Lane (Dr Richard Lanyon), Martha Mansfield (Millicent Carew), Nita Naldi (Gina). 63 mins. B/w with tints. Silent.

This brings the sexuality of the tale more to the fore than Stevenson dared, introducing not only the chaste Millicent but also the fallen woman Gina; this pattern is repeated not only in most other JAHMs but also in the very Jekyll-and-Hydish The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). An intriguing twist is that Millicent's father, Sir George, is the one who initially sets the staid Jekyll on the path of debauchery; concerned for the future of his daughter, he explains that the only way to rid oneself of temptation is initially to give in to it. It is after giving in to a deal of it that Jekyll creates his Potion. This was one of the early movies in which Hollywood adopted the Expressionism that the European moviemakers of the time had so triumphantly deployed. [JG]

2. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde US movie (1931). Paramount/Rouben Mamoulian/Adolph Zukor. Pr Rouben Mamoulian. Dir Mamoulian. Spfx Wally Westmore. Screenplay Percy Heath, Samuel Hoffenstein (published 1975 ed Richard J Anobile, with many inaccuracies). Starring Holmes Herbert (Dr Lanyon), Rose Hobart (Muriel Carew), Halliwell Hobbes (Brigadier-General Carew), Miriam Hopkins ("Champagne" Ivy Pearson [spelt thus in the movie but "Pierson" in cast list]), Arnold Lucy (Utterson), Fredric March (Dr Henry [Harry] M Jekyll/Hyde), Edgar Norton (Poole). 98 mins (cut to 90 mins). B/w.

The philanthropic Jekyll seeks to marry Muriel, but her pompous father insists on delay. Out walking with conservative friend Lanyon, Jekyll saves flirty Ivy from an attacker, and is nearly seduced by her. Some days later he first quaffs a Potion he has devised to release the human id, and briefly Metamorphoses into a Neanderthalish version of himself. Muriel is taken away by her father to Bath; hearing she is to be away for a full month, Jekyll swallows another dose and, as Hyde, tracks down Ivy. A month later, Jekyll is rarely seen; Hyde is virtually living with Ivy, whom he brutalizes. On Muriel's return, Jekyll resolves henceforth to remain Jekyll, but spontaneously metamorphoses, and brutally murders Ivy. At the last he is shot dead as Hyde, but reverts in death to his Jekyll form.

This was lost for nearly three decades as a result of MGM's idiotic decision to suppress all opposition to 3. The standard abridged version was unearthed in 1967 and the full version only in 1994.

This is an astonishing movie. The link between the suppressed instincts and sexuality is clearly stated; the sadistic Hyde is the inner Jekyll, not Jekyll's counterpart or other self, and takes sexual and sadistic revenge upon Ivy for the celibacy which Muriel (through her father) is imposing on the outer Jekyll. March is brilliant as Hyde and received an Oscar, but the true stars are director Mamoulian and cinematographer Karl Struss. Much use is made of split-screen techniques, superimposed images and point-of-view shots: our first view of Jekyll and later of Hyde comes when they examine themselves in the mirror, while the initial transformation is seen through Jekyll/Hyde's eyes as a baffling whirl of images. Indeed, Mirrors play a major role: it is hard to forget the shot in which Ivy, believing herself forever rid of Hyde, toasts herself in the mirror as, over her reflected shoulder, the door inches open to reveal her leering oppressor. This movie is a classic of the Cinema and a milestone in both Horror and Technofantasy genres. Its most terrifying feature is that we all know Hydes. [JG]

3. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde US movie (1941). MGM. Pr Victor Saville. Dir Victor Fleming. Spfx Peter Ballbusch, Warren Newcombe. Screenplay John Lee Mahin. Based on 2. Starring Ingrid Bergman (Ivy Peterson), Donald Crisp (Sir Charles Emery), Peter Godfrey (Poole), Ian Hunter (Dr John Lanyon), Frances Robinson (Marcia), Spencer Tracy (Jekyll/Hyde), Lana Turner (Beatrix Emery). 127 mins. B/w.

The lesser of the two "classic" versions is a reasonably close remake of its predecessor, with some inscrutable name-changes and the occasional overlayering of pseudo-Freudian imagery. The inherent sexuality of the tale is again brought to the surface, though something of the dynamic is lost in that Bergman is so obviously not a Cockney music-hall good-time girl. Hyde's incidental brutalities are almost entirely omitted in favour of concentration on the murder of Ivy and an attack on chaste Beatrix. One transformation scene – the first time Jekyll involuntarily becomes Hyde – is especially well handled, the change being initially signalled by Jekyll's inability to stop whistling Hyde's catch-tune. This rather good movie pales beside 2. [JG]

4. Son of Dr Jekyll US movie (1951). Columbia. Dir Seymour Friedman. Screenplay Mortimer Braus, Jack Pollexfen. Starring Louis Hayward, Alexander Knox, Jody Lawrance. 77 mins. B/w.

As with the Dracula Movies and the Frankenstein Movies, Hollywood, having made a couple of fine movies, tried to cash in by cheapening the underlying idea to create Horror Movies. In this outing Dr Jekyll's son falls for the family vice. [JG]

5. Daughter of Dr Jekyll US movie (1957). Allied Artists. Dir Edgar G Ulmer. Screenplay Jack Pollexfen. Starring John Agar, Arthur Shields, Gloria Talbott. 74 mins. B/w.

Another cheapening of the original, this sees a young woman accused of being a Werewolf because she is (apparently) Dr Jekyll's daughter. [JG]

6. The Ugly Duckling UK movie (1959). Hammer/Columbia. Exec pr Michael Carreras. Dir Lance Comfort. Screenplay Sid Colin, Jack Davies. Starring Reginald Beckwith (Reginald), Bernard Bresslaw (Henry Jekyll/Teddy Hyde), Maudie Edwards (Henrietta Jekyll), John Pertwee (Victor Jekyll). 84 mins. Colour.

A rather amusing update of the tale to the present day – a descendant of Jekyll (Bresslaw) unwillingly transforms into a teddyboy. [JG]

7. Two Faces of Dr Jekyll, The (vt House of Fright US; vt Jekyll's Inferno US) UK movie (1960). Columbia/Hammer. Pr Michael Carreras. Assoc pr Anthony Nelson-Keys. Dir Terence Fisher. Mufx Roy Ashton. Screenplay Wolf Mankowitz. Starring Dawn Addams (Kitty Jekyll), David Kossoff (Professor Ernst Litauer), Christopher Lee (Paul Allen), Norma Marla (Maria), Paul Massie (Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde). 88 mins. Colour.

London, 1874. Unusually, Jekyll is married; while he spends long hours in the laboratory attempting to create a higher order of man who transcends Good and Evil, wife Kitty dallies with scrounging lover Allen. Transformed into Hyde (by hypodermic injection) – the sole physical change is the disappearance of his beard – he encounters the pair in a dancehall and, unrecognized, flirts with Kitty and nearly murders a drunk (the young Oliver Reed in a bit part). The two selves argue with each other, and the restored Jekyll vows never to let Hyde live again – a vow soon broken.

There are some interesting moments towards the end when Jekyll confronts his Mirror reflection, which is Hyde; Hyde explains that Jekyll himself is guilty of all the crimes, and it seems as if the movie is suddenly to develop a subtext. But then, swiftly, we return to the by-the-numbers grue. [JG]

8. Nutty Professor, The US movie (1963). Paramount. Pr Ernest D Glucksman. Dir Jerry Lewis. Spfx Paul K Lerpae. Mufx Jack Stone. Screenplay Lewis, Bill Richmond. Starring Lewis (Professor Julius F Kelp/Buddy Love), Del Moore (Dr Warfield), Stella Stevens (Stella Purdy). 107 mins. Colour.

Stumbling idiot university botany professor Kelp (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Fredric March's Hyde in 2), is bullied by his football-playing students and reviled by his dean, Warfield, but liked by wide-eyed blonde student Stella. After a crash course of bodybuilding fails he turns to chemistry and Metamorphoses (via an intermediate stage in which he is a lumbering Neanderthal) into the debonair, handsome, '50s-chic but obnoxiously egotistic Buddy Love (who looks not unlike Lewis's long-time colleague Dean Martin). Stella, initially revolted, falls for the overt sexual charge of the man she meets as Love. But the two personalities start periodically intruding into each other's existences at inconvenient moments, and on Senior Prom night Kelp swallows an inadequacy of the formula, so that Love very publicly reverts to Kelp. Naturally, Stella discovers it is the Ugly Duckling she loves.

This has its moments, notably some Tati-esque sight gags and sound effects. It is generally regarded as Lewis's best movie. [JG]

9. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde (vt The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde) Canadian/US movie (1968 tvm). Dir Charles Jarrot. Starring Denholm Elliott, Leo Glenn, Oscar Homolka, Duncan Lamont, Jack Palance, Billie Whitelaw. 136 mins. Colour.

Derived from a mini-series, this tends to worthiness and fidelity. [JG]

10. I, Monster UK movie (1971). Amicus/British Lion. Pr Max J Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky. Dir Stephen Weeks. Mufx Harry Frampton. Screenplay Subotsky. Starring Peter Cushing (Frederick Utterson), Richard Hurndall (Dr Lanyon), Susan Jameson (Diane Thomas), Marjie Lawrence (Annie), Christopher Lee (Charles Marlowe/Edward Blake), George Merritt (Poole), Mike Raven (Enfield). 75 mins. Colour.

Strangely, the names of Jekyll and Hyde are changed; Lanyon, Enfield, Poole and Utterson all have their accustomed rôles. Taciturn Dr Marlowe has developed a drug that, when injected, destroys one of the id, ego and superego (which one depends on the individual), allowing the others to come to the fore. He tests it on his cat, which becomes a wild creature and has to be destroyed; then on prim, repressed Miss Thomas, who displays nymphomania until he hastily administers the antidote. Various others of his patients show different reactions. Finally he experiments on himself and becomes leering, impulsive, amoral moron Edward Blake. From here IM is a pretty straightforward version, with some scenes adopting Stevenson's own words. One interesting note is that in the early experiments Blake is physically little different from Marlowe, but as the weeks progress Blake's life of dissipation is reflected on his face, which becomes steadily uglier and more inhuman – a skewed reminder of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). Cheaply but beautifully made, this is among the best versions. [JG]

11. Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde UK movie (1971). EMI/Hammer. Pr Brian Clemens, Albert Fennell. Dir Roy Ward Baker. Mufx Trevor Crole-Rees. Screenplay Clemens. Starring Dorothy Alison (Mrs Spencer), Ralph Bates (Henry Jekyll), Martine Beswick (Mrs Hyde), Susan Brodrick (Susan Spencer), Lewis Fiander (Howard Spencer), Gerald Sim (Professor Robertson). 97 mins. Colour.

Jekyll seeks a universal panacea. Roué friend Robertson tells him he may die before attaining this. Jekyll realizes he must thus first achieve his own Immortality, and accordingly develops an Elixir of Life. Female hormones are the key to this: he buys corpses of young females from a morgue and hires bodysnatchers to increase the supply. When finally he tries the concoction himself he transforms into a beautiful, amoral woman, whom he explains to the neighbouring Spencer family is his widowed sister, Mrs Hyde. To obtain further fresh corpses Jekyll perforce becomes (initially himself, later effectively in Gender Disguise as Hyde) Jack the Ripper, reasoning this is a small Evil when compared to the immense benefits his researches may bring. Meanwhile Jekyll has fallen for Susan Spencer and Hyde less chastely for her pompous brother Howard . . .

DJ&SH is a rather stodgy Horror Movie, somehow losing sexual tension through making the tale's underlying sexuality overt. The fortuitous facial resemblance between Bates and Beswick, both Hammer stalwarts, adds a measure of interest. [JG]

12. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde US movie (1973). Dir David Winters. Starring Kirk Douglas, Susan George, Susan Hampshire, Michael Redgrave. 90 mins. Colour.

A musical. [JG]

13. Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype US movie (1980). Cannon/Golan-Globus. Pr Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan. Dir Charles B Griffith. Spfx J C Buechler, Tim Doughten. Mufx Steve Neill. Screenplay Griffith. Starring Corinne Calvet (Pizelle Puree), Sharon Compton (Mrs Quivel), Maia Danziger (Miss Finebum), Denise Hayes (Liza Rowne), Sunny Johnson (Coral Careen), Oliver Reed (Dr Henry Heckyl/Mr Hype), Mel Welles (Dr Vince Hinkle), Kedric Wolfe (Dr Lew Hoo). 99 mins. Colour.

Impossibly ugly chiropodist Heckyl swallows a colleague's instant-slimming formulation and turns into the devastatingly handsome Hype – or, at least, Oliver Reed. Narcissistic, paranoid and psychopathic, he becomes a Serial Killer; he also fails to win lovely Coral, who prefers the hideous Heckyl. One's heart usually sinks at the prospect of a Golan-Globus production, but in the case of this deeply unfunny, badly made movie it doesn't sink far enough. [JG]

14. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde UK movie (1981 tvm). BBC. Dir Alastair Reid. Starring Ian Bannen, Lisa Harrow, David Hemmings (Jekyll/Hyde). 115 mins. Colour.

A typically lavish BBC "classic" production, with fine performances and a generally inventive script, this unfortunately suffers from stolidity. [JG]

15. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (ot Docteur Jekyll et les femmes; vt Bloodbath of Dr Jekyll; vt The Blood of Dr Jekyll; vt Le Cas Étrange du Dr Jekyll et de Miss Osbourne; vt Doctor Jekyll and Miss Osbourne) French movie (1981). Dir Walerian Borowczyk. Starring Clément Harari, Udo Kier, Patrick Magee, Marina Pierro, Howard Vernon. 92 mins. Colour.

An interesting semi-porn version that concentrates on the sexuality of the tale, distorting it considerably to this end. It starts with a young woman being murdered as she arrives at Jekyll's house; then, as Jekyll becomes a monster, he prowls what is represented as not just a house but an Edifice in sexually predatory fashion. As Chris Peachment has written of this, "God knows what the raincoat trade makes of it . . ." [JG]

16. Jekyll and Hyde . . . Together Again US movie (1982). Paramount/Titan. Pr Lawrence Gordon. Exec pr Joel Silver. Dir Jerry Belson. Spfx Dewey G Grigg. Vfx R/Greenberg Associates. Mufx Mark Busson. Screenplay Belson, Monica Johnson, Michael Leeson, Harvey Miller. Starring Bess Armstrong (Mary Carew), Mark Blankfield (Dr Daniel Jekyll/Mister Hyde), Krista Errickson (Ivy Venus), Michael McGuire (Carew), Tim Thomerson (Dr Knute Lanyon). 87 mins. Colour, some b/w.

Designedly tasteless, over-the-top comedy version, transported to the modern USA. Saintly, naive Jekyll gives up a brilliant career in surgery to find a drug that will bring forth our primitive selves and thus enable us to cure our own ailments – a move opposed by the rich dean of the Our Lady of Pain and Suffering Hospital, Carew, and by Carew's daughter Mary, to whom Jekyll is engaged. Jekyll inadvertently snorts a line of formula #143 and becomes the hippy rock'n'roll Mister Hyde – the transformation is climaxed by the extrusion of gaudy jewellery from his flesh. As Hyde he indulges in unbridled sex with nightclub singer Ivy; as Jekyll he eventually succeeds in bedding Mary. He is persuaded to conduct one last operation – a total organ transplant for the world's richest man – but midway through it Hyde asserts himself. At length, after a rooftop chase in foggy, 19th-century London, Mary decides she loves Hyde and Ivy likewise Jekyll, and the two agree to share him.

The gags are scattershot, but most are funny enough that the duds are forgivable. [JG]

17. The Jekyll Experiment (vt Dr Jekyll's Dungeon of Darkness; vt Dr Jekyll's Dungeon of Death) US movie (1982). Dir James Wood. Starring John Kearney, Dawn Carver Kelly, James Mathers, Tom Nicholson. 88 mins. Colour.

We have been unable to obtain a viewing copy of this movie, which appears to have been released direct to video. Jekyll lethally experiments on criminals with his new drug. [JG]

18. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Australian Animated Movie (1986 tvm). Burbank. Exec pr Tom Stacey. Anim dir Warwick Gilbert. Screenplay Marcia Hatfield. Voice actors John Ewart (Gabriel Utterson), Max Meldrum (Dr Henry Jekyll), David Nettheim (Edward Hyde). 49 mins. Colour.

A fairly straightforward adaptation, pleasingly rendered. One odd feature is that the Metamorphosis sequences, for which animation would seem to be the ideal medium, occur off-camera, as if this were a live movie economizing on the spfx. A nice piece of comedy sees a mouse swallowing some of the Potion and intimidating the laboratory cat. [JG]

19. Edge of Sanity UK movie (1988). Palace/Allied Vision. Pr Edward Simons, Harry Alan Towers. Dir Gérard Kikoine. Screenplay J P Felix, Ron Raley. Starring Glynis Barber, Ben Cole, Sarah Maur-Thorp, Anthony Perkins (Jekyll/Jack). 90 mins. Colour.

A Grand-Guignol version in which Jekyll accidentally sniffs a puff of the chemical with which he has been experimenting on a laboratory monkey, and turns into Jack the Ripper. The acting is almost universally ham and the script little better, but underwear fetishists will enjoy themselves as the Ripper tours London's brothels. [JG]

20. Jekyll and Hyde US movie (1990 tvm). Dir David Wickes. Starring Joss Ackland (Lanyon), Michael Caine (Jekyll/Hyde), Cheryl Ladd, Ronald Pickup. 120 mins. Colour.

A lavishly made spectacular in which Caine is insanely cast – being unconvincing as the gentle Jekyll and hilarious as the bestial Hyde – while much of the Good and Evil dynamic has been excised through the fact that Jekyll is little less of a lecher than Hyde. But the movie's general ambience is pleasing. [JG]

21. Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde US movie (1995). Rastar/Leider Shapiro/Savoy/Rank. Pr Jerry Leider, Robert Shapiro. Exec pr John Morrissey. Dir David F Price. Vfx Tim Landry, Melissa Taylor. Screenplay Oliver Butcher, William Davies, Tim John, William Osborne. Starring Lysette Anthony (Sarah Carver), Tim Daly (Dr Richard Jacks), Harvey Fierstein (Yves DuBois), Stephen Tobolowsky (Oliver Mintz), Sean Young (Helen Hyde). 90 mins. Colour.

A revamp of 11 and in a way of 16, all dressed (or undressed) up as a sort of Carry On comedy. The setting is the present-day USA. Jacks, a cosmetics scientist and a descendant of Jekyll, inherits the latter's scientific notes, and believes that if female hormones were inserted into the Potion it would create someone who possessed the best of both sexes. In fact, on trying this, he immediately becomes utterly amoral Helen Hyde. Before order is restored, there are lots of cross-dressing jokes. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.