Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Director: Victor Fleming Cast: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner

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Overview

1941's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the second sound version of the Robert Louis Stevenson "doppelganger" tale. This time Spencer Tracy plays the benevolent Dr. Jekyll, whose experiments in releasing the evil impulses within himself transform him into the bestial Mr. Hyde. The problem here is that while Tracy is convincing enough as Hyde, we have trouble accepting him as the kindly Jekyll--exactly the opposite of the 1931 version, in which Fredric March was credible as both Jekyll and Hyde (in fairness to Tracy, it must be noted that he didn't want to play the role and had to be forced into it). MGM decreed that no publicity pictures be released showing Tracy in his Hyde makeup, thereby building up audience anticipation. It's just as well that MGM kept these pictures under wraps: Tracy's Hyde looks less like the Living Personification of Evil than like a man who's been on a three-day bender. The most fascinating aspect of this version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the casting of the two leading ladies. Ever since the 1920 John Barrymore version of this story, it has been de rigeur to symbolize the schism between Jekyll and Hyde by giving him both a "good" and "evil" girlfriend. Originally, MGM adhered to typecasting by assigning the good girl to Ingrid Bergman and the bad one to Lana Turner. But Bergman begged the studio to be allowed to play the more wicked of the two ladies; as a result, hers is by far the best performance in the picture. Neither as lively as the 1920 version nor as innovative as the 1931 remake, MGM's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is weighted down with tiresome dialogue and over-obvious symbolism (catch that dream sequence in which Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner make like racehorses!) Despite its shortcomings, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was infinitely preferable to the next remake, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953).Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman headline this screen version of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale, directed by Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz legend Victor Fleming. Tracy stars as Dr. Jekyll, a scientist who downs an experimental elixir that transforms him into a monstrous alter-ego, Mr. Hyde. Lana Turner co-stars as Jekyll's fiancée, and Bergman as Eva, the woman who captures his heart. A film steeped in heavy Freudian symbolism, this production also tries something unusual by relying largely on Tracy's shift in facial mannerisms (in lieu of heavy make-up) to convey the personality change. As a result, the movie manages to place a much stronger emphasis on emotions than on the terror of physical mutation. Neither critics nor audiences bought it: the film fell prey to critical castigation when it hit movie screens in mid-August 1941, with many indicating that they vastly prefer the 1931 Rouben Mamoulian/Fredric March version. Still, this one has its defenders.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/01/1998
UPC: 0027616065131
Original Release: 1941
Rating: NR
Source: Mgm (Warner)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Spencer Tracy Dr. Harry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
Ingrid Bergman Ivy Peterson
Lana Turner Beatrix Emery
Ian Hunter Dr. John Lanyon
Donald Crisp Sir Charles Emery
Barton MacLane Sam Higgins
C. Aubrey Smith The Bishop
Peter Godfrey Poole
Sara Allgood Mrs. Higgins
Frederic Worlock Dr. Heath
William Tannen Intern Fenwick
Frances Robinson Marcia
Denis Green Freddie
Billy Bevan Dr. Weller
Forrester Harvey Old Prouty
Lumsden Hare Col. Weymouth
Lawrence Grant Dr. Courtland
John Barclay Constable
Mary Field Wife
Gwen Gaze Mrs. French
Doris Lloyd Mrs. Marley
Aubrey Mather Inspector
Hillary Brooke Mrs. Arnold

Technical Credits
Victor Fleming Director,Producer
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Daniele Amfitheatrof Score Composer
Peter Ballbusch Special Effects
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Score Composer
Daniel B. Cathcart Art Director
Jack Dawn Makeup
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Harold Kress Editor
John Lee Mahin Screenwriter
Ernst Matray Choreography
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Victor Saville Producer
Gile Steele Costumes/Costume Designer
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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