Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The opening moments of Rouben Mamoulin's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are seen through the eyes of Dr. Henry Jekyll (Fredric March). This is probably to establish simply what his world looks like. But as the film slowly wears on, it's not an ideal world for one to be a part of.

He longs to marry Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart) immediately, but her father suggests they wait a while. No one truly appreciates his love of science, so disappointment almost comes naturally to him as a result. But he's too reserved to openly express his true feelings.

His alter ego Mr. Hyde (which was the result of a curious experiment), however, isn't afraid to speak his mind. If something angers him, he says so. He's openly abusive to Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins). And, if not careful, he will venture into darker matters.

March gives a fascinating performance as Jekyll and Hyde. As Jekyll, he's quiet and reserved, a perfect gentleman if you will. (Or an angel as Ivy calls him.) As Hyde, he's a pure beast. (Ivy calls him the devil.) No surprise on how he won that Oscar.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is very good though it feels rushed in some scenes. March and also Hopkins are great in their roles. It's definitely one of the essential 1930s horror films. (And boy, you can tell this was made in the pre-code era.)

My Rating: ****1/2

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