31 Days Of Horror: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

10 Years of FearThere have been a lot of adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There are currently over 100 filmed versions and the best of the lot is the 1931 version.

I would hope that most folks would know at the least basic plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Good Dr. Jekyll has been experimenting trying to isolate the good and evil in all humans. His experiments bring out his inner evil side, Mr. Hyde who wrecks all sort of havoc.

Fredric March stars as the good doctor and the evil mister. Rouben Mamoulian directed the adaptation which is closer to the 1887 stage version by playwright Thomas Russell Sullivan. This version features a fiance for Dr. Jekyll, Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart) and a prostitute called Ivy Pierson (Miriam Hopkins) that Jekyll helps and Hyde becomes infatuated with.

The film was made in the pre code days and has some strong sexual content. After the code came into effect eight minutes had to be cut out. In 1941 MGM remade the film and tried to destroy all the copies of the 1931 film. Fortunately the film has survived and lives on home video, fully restored.

The transformation scenes are fantastic! They were achieved by using different layers of coloured make-up that were exposed to different lighting and lenses. Because of the black white photography the colour doesn’t show up. March won Best Actor at the Oscars for his performance making it the first horror movie to win an Academy Award. Here’s my original post.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

One thought on “31 Days Of Horror: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde”

  1. Agreed, this is the best filmed version, not only for the transformation but also Hyde’s athleticism (like the chimpanzee he resembles) and the way he grows more and more physically repulsive as the movie continues — a technique that Lon Chaney used in “The Phantom of the Opera”. If you’ve seen John Barrymore’s 1920 version, you might consider it for second place. As for scariest version, I’d say that goes to the TV miniseries “Jekyll” (2007).

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