Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - on the Screen
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish author and poet who wrote such literary classics as Treasure Island and Kidnapped. He also wrote one of the greatest tales of gothic horror, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a novella first published in 1886.
Essentially the case of a split personality, one good and the other evil, the duality of man. Dr. Jekyll invents a serum which triggers a transformation when he drinks it. It also changes the doctor physically to the extent that his closest friends don't recognise him. At first Jekyll enjoys the transformation and the moral freedom he experiences as Mr. Hyde. But he eventually loses control and he starts to transform involuntarily, even in his sleep.
This hub looks at the various movies and TV films based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of horror.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) Directed by John S. Robertson. 73mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - John Barrymore
Also starring Brandon Hurst, Martha Mansfield, Charles Lane and Cecil Clovelly.
John Barrymore was known as "The Great Profile" , the brother of Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, America's great acting dynasty of the time. John is the grandfather of Drew Barrymore.
One of the most famous horror films of the silent era, it is a little stodgy compared to the likes of Nosferatu and Chaney's Phantom of the Opera but the transformation scenes are handled well and the image of a giant spider signifying the evil of Hyde creeping over Jekyll is used to chilling effect.
This 90 year old film is now public domain and can be viewed for free at various video sites including YouTube.
IMDB rating 7.0
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) Directed by Rouben Mamoulian. 98mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - Fredric March
Also starring Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert and Edgar Norton.
Regarded by critics and film buffs as the best Jekyll and Hyde film ever made.
Fredric March won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Jekyll and Hyde, The first actor to win an Oscar playing a monster.
The film was also nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
The transformation effects were cleverly accomplished live on set by applying special makeup on the actor, a series of coloured filters on the movie camera making parts of his face darken. Dissolves were also used to complete the transformation.
Edward Hyde becomes more grotesque with each change, by the end of the film he looks like some mad ape in top hat and tails. The intention was that Jekyll was regressing into primal man.
For some reason Jekyll's name is pronounced "Jeekol" in this film.
Mr. Hyde: Think before you decide, I tell you! Do you want to be left as you are, or do you want your eyes and your soul to be blasted by a sight that would stagger the devil himself?
IMDB rating 7.7
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) Directed by Victor Fleming. 113mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - Spencer Tracy
Also starring Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Donald Crisp and Ian Hunter.
A lavish MGM adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's horror story.
My personal favourite Jekyll and Hyde movie. Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ingrid Bergman, a sumptuous MGM production and a wonderful score by Franz Waxman are reasons enough for me to watch this version more than any other.
Jekyll's transformation is a lot subtler than other versions, using dissolves and special makeup to make Tracy look evil.
Somerset Maugham visited the set one day and watched Spencer Tracy play out a scene, Maugham turned and asked the director "Which one is he now, Jekyll or Hyde?".
The film received mixed reviews and Tracy was criticised for not being frightening enough as Mr. Hyde. The film was not a success and Tracy thought his career was over.
A dream sequence showing Jekyll as a carriage driver whipping horses which change into the semi-naked forms of Lana Turner and Ingrid Bergman was removed from some prints of the film. The current DVD of the film is uncut.
Nominated for 3 Oscars - Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Music (Franz Waxman).
Mr. Hyde: [To Bergman] When you went to see the good doctor, before you left you said..."I almost thought" well what did you think? Maybe that you saw a little bit of Hyde in him?
IMDB rating 6.8
The Son of Dr. Jekyll (1951) Directed by Seymour Friedman. 78mins.
Edward Jekyll / Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde - Louis Hayward
Also starring Jody Lawrance, Alexander Knox and Lester Matthews.
A horror film with very little horror, it may have been intended as an unofficial sequel to the 1941 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Louis Hayward plays Jekyll and Hyde in the opening sequence, and for the rest of the film he plays Edward Jekyll, the son of the good doctor who only finds out about his father's split personality when he inherits the Jekyll Mansion. He decides to clear the family name by continuing his father's experiments...
IMDB rating 4.5
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) Directed by Charles Lamont. 76mins.
Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde - Boris Karloff
Also starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Craig Stevens, Helen Westcott and Reginald Denny.
Comedy kings Abbott and Costello had already met Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman and the Invisible Man, it was now Jekyll & Hyde's turn.
The great Boris Karloff was playing Dr. Jekyll but after transforming for a second or two as Mr. Hyde it was stuntman Eddie Parker who took over and did all the running and jumping as Mr. Hyde.
The look of Mr. Hyde was based on Fredric March's ape-like makeup.
Karloff had encountered Bud and Lou before in the film Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
Tagline - The Laughs Are Twice as MONSTER-OUS as Ever Before!
IMDB rating 6.4
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) Directed by Terence Fisher. 88mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - Paul Massie
Also starring Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee, David Kossoff and Oliver Reed.
Made by Hammer Film Productions.
In a twist to the tale bearded old Dr. Jekyll turns into the young good looking Mr. Hyde, the catch is Hyde is cruel, sadistic and violent.
The film looks great in Hammer's "MegaScope" widescreen process, it was the first Jekyll and Hyde film in full colour. But the film is tamer than the usual Hammer Horror of the period and Paul Massie is a bland Jekyll and Hyde.
Oliver Reed has an uncredited role as a thug.
IMDB rating 6.2
The Nutty Professor (1963) Directed by Jerry Lewis. 107mins.
Professor Julius Kelp / Buddy Love - Jerry Lewis
Also starring Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman and Howard Morris.
I couldn't resist adding this goofy take on the old story. Jerry Lewis plays the socially inept Professor Julius Kelp who is always bullied and beaten up. He invents a potion that transforms Kelp into the smooth, handsome and arrogant Buddy Love.
Jerry Lewis denied that Buddy Love was based on his ex-comedy partner Dean Martin and wished he had made the character more evil. He claims that Buddy Love was getting more fan mail than Julius Kelp.
The Nutty Professor is regarded as Jerry Lewis comedy masterpiece and is #99 on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Comedies list..
Buddy Love: Well, honey, I always say, if you're good and you know it, why waste time beating around the bush, true?
Stella Purdy: And I always say that to love yourself is the beginning of a life-long romance. And after watching you, I know that you and you will be very happy together.
Buddy Love: Just a minute, sweetheart. I don't recall dismissing you.
Stella Purdy: You rude, discourteous egomaniac!
Buddy Love: You're crazy about me, right? And I can understand it. Only this morning, looking in the mirror before shaving, I enjoyed seeing what I saw so much I couldn't tear myself away.
Loosely remade by Eddie Murphy in 1996.
IMDB rating 6.7
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968) Directed by Charles Jarrott. 120mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - Jack Palance
Also starring Denholm Elliott, Leo Genn , Torin Thatcher, Elizabeth Cole and Duncan Lamont.
A well regarded TV movie adaptation of the classic story.
Jason Robards was originally cast as Jekyll and Hyde but was no longer available after filming was delayed.
Nominated for 4 Emmy Awards.
IMDB rating 6.8
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971) Directed by Roy Ward Baker. 97mins.
Dr. Jekyll - Ralph Bates
Sister Hyde - Martine Beswick
Also starring Gerald Sim, Lewis Fiander and Susan Brodrick.
Leave it to Hammer Studios to come up with this idea. Dr. Jekyll takes his potion and not only turns evil, he changes sex too!
Ralph Bates was being groomed by Hammer as the successor to Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee but audiences were not convinced. Hammer only had a few more years left to go before closing shop. But they've recently resurfaced under new management and released new horror movies such as Let Me In and The Woman in Black.
Martine Beswick is a former Bond girl, two Bond girls in fact, she played a gypsy girl in From Russia With Love and Bond's Jamaican contact in Thunderball.
Bond girl Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me) was offered the role of Sister Hyde but declined the offer because there was nudity.
Tagline - The transformation of a man into a woman will actually take place before your very eyes!
IMDB rating 6.6
I, Monster (1971) Directed by Stephen Weeks. 75mins.
Dr. Charles Marlowe / Edward Blake - Christopher Lee
Also starring Peter Cushing, Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall and Susan Jameson.
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novel but for some reason the names have been changed.
Stephen Weeks was just 22 years old when he directed I, Monster.
Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing have appeared in 19 films together.
Originally planned to be filmed in 3D but the idea was abandoned during filming.
IMDB rating 5.6
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1973) Directed by David Winters. 90mins.
Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde - Kirk Douglas
Also starring Susan George, Stanley Holloway, Michael Redgrave and Donald Pleasence.
Hard to believe considering the actors involved in this made for TV movie but this was a musical adaptation of the story!
Music and Songs by Lionel Bart, famous for the musical Oliver!.
Three Emmy Award Nominations - Costume, Makeup and Music Direction.
IMDB rating 5.3
Jekyll & Hyde (1990) Directed by David Wickes. 96mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - Michael Caine
Also starring Cheryl Ladd, Joss Ackland, Diane Keen, Kim Thomson and Kevin McNally.
David Wickes has also directed top rated TV adaptations of Jack the Ripper (1988), also starring Michael Caine, and Frankenstein (1992) starring Patrick Bergin and Randy Quaid.
Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Made for TV - Michael Caine.
Dr. Jekyll: Science will control our shapes, our intelligence. Even create new breeds of men. Violent men to fight our wars. Docile men to do our work. Hell on Earth. And I want no part of it.
IMDB rating 6.1
Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde (1995) Directed by David Price. 90mins.
Helen Hyde - Sean Young
Dr. Richard Jacks - Tim Daly
Also starring Lysette Anthony, Stephen Tobolowsky, Harvey Fierstein and Jeremy Piven.
Hammer Films had got there first with Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971).
A comedy in which a young man (Tim Daly), descended from Henry Jekyll, tries to improve his great grandfather's formula by adding more estrogen! He drinks it and transforms into a sexy young woman (Sean Young).
Originally Jim Carrey was to star but decided to make Ace Ventura 2 instead.
Dr. Richard Jacks: Who would've thought that if another woman came between me and Sarah, that it would be me.
Tagline - A comedy about an experiment that got WAY OUT of control!
IMDB rating 4.2
Mary Reilly (1996) Directed by Stephen Frears. 108mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde - John Malkovich
Also starring Julia Roberts, George Cole, Michael Gambon, Glenn Close and Michael Sheen.
Based on the novel by Valerie Martin first published in 1990.
The story of Jekyll & Hyde told from the point of view of a lonely housemaid. Mary Reilly gradually forms a friendship with her master which inevitably leads to a tragic conclusion.
Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman were considered for the role of Mary Reilly.
Director Stephen Frears wanted Daniel Day Lewis for Dr. Jekyll and the studio wanted Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson was also considered.
Julia Roberts received a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actress.
Mary Reilly: He said you have an illness. What kind of an illness?
Henry Jekyll: You might call it a fracture in my soul, something which left me with a taste for oblivion.
IMDB rating 5.6
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) aka LXG. Directed by Stephen Norrington. 110mins.
Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde - Jason Flemyng
Also starring Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Stuart Townsend, Tony Curran, Shane West and Richard Roxburgh.
Loosely based on Alan Moore's comic book series first published in 1999.
1899 and a team of heroes made up of characters from the world of literature - Allan Quatermain, Tom Sawyer, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and the Invisible Man - are on a mission to stop a madman from starting a world war.
The $78m production was plagued with problems but still managed to gross a respectful $179m worldwide.
Hyde looks like a distorted version of the Incredible Hulk in this film. The transformations were a combination of CG and prosthetic makeup.
Allan Quatermain: Jekyll, come on! We'll need Hyde!
Henry Jekyll: No! Hyde will never use me again.
Dorian Gray: Then what good are you?
Tagline - A Rogue. A Scientist. A Spy. A Hunter. A Vampire. A Beast. An Immortal.
IMDB rating 5.6
Van Helsing (2004) Directed by Stephen Sommers. 131mins.
Mr. Hyde - Robbie Coltrane
Also starring Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley and Will Kemp.
Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) encounters Mr. Hyde (voiced by Robbie Coltrane) in the opening minutes of the film. Hyde is an all CG creation and twice the size of Van Helsing.
Oddly enough Mr. Hyde was found in Paris, France in both Van Helsing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, while in the original novel the setting was London, England.
Mr. Hyde: So, you're the great Van Helsing.
Van Helsing: And you're a deranged psychopath.
Mr. Hyde: We all have our little problems.
Van Helsing cost $160m to produce and has grossed $300m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.7
Jekyll (2007) BBC TV Series.
Dr. Tom Jackman / Mr. Hyde / Dr. Jekyll - James Nesbitt
Also starring Gina Bellman, Denis Lawson, Michelle Ryan and Meera Syal.
A modern version of Jekyll & Hyde, described as a sequel to R.L. Stevenson's novel.
An acclaimed 6-part TV series made by the BBC.
James Nesbitt plays a descendant of Dr. Jekyll cursed with the same problem i.e. Mr. Hyde.
Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series - James Nesbitt.
Mr. Hyde: Trust me... I'm a psychopath!
IMDB rating 8.2