Jerry Lewis and Fred Astaire in The Odd CoupleDR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

(1931)
With Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

    By 1931 most of the technical problems with early talkies had been solved (with the invention of the boom mike being the number one problem-solver).  One of the first to take advantage of the improvements in technology was Rouben Mamoulian's DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.  As visually proficient as the greatest silent films, it also employed sound in newly creative ways to establish atmosphere and tone.  Though his Mr. Hyde may seem hammy today, Fredric March's portrayal of the title characters is astounding in its extremes.  It's been said many times, but it really is difficult to believe that the same actor is playing both roles.  Especially impressive is his interpretation of Dr. Jekyll, who comes off as a slightly off-putting blend of civility and cowardice.  A strong supporting cast also contributes to make this one of the strongest screen adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror tale. 4½ - JL


DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

"I'm... puttin' on my top hat... drinking up my potion..."

(1941)
With Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane
Directed by Victor Fleming
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

    This lavish MGM remake of JEKYLL AND HYDE is mostly a failure, but an interesting failure nonetheless.  Spencer Tracy, uncomfortable in a role he didn't want to do, delivers a performance the opposite of what one would expect from an actor heralded for his down-to-earth naturalness.  His portrayal of Dr. Jekyll is a bit wooden and emotionally distant, yet he revels in his scenery-chewing turn as Mr. Hyde. The best acting is provided by Ingrid Bergman, who steals the picture as the tragic dance-hall girl with whom Hyde becomes obsessed.  Perhaps the film's main flaw is that the evil undertone is stifled by the stately and extravagant MGM production.  But any film in which Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner appear as race horses in a dream sequence is worth checking out at least once. 3  - JL

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