This particular version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) is the first Jekyll and Hyde movie I’ve seen (there are several). I chose this one because it stars two of my favourite classic movie actors: Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman
Note: I’m a classic movie fan. This is the first of what I hope will be many classic movie reviews on The Daleisphere.
Tracy plays Dr. Jekyll, a medical researcher forced to test a potion on himself when the hospital he works for refuses to allow him to test it on his patients. Jekyll’s potion is designed to separate the soul’s evil from the good.
I dislike horror movies intensely. While billed as a horror movie, it pale’s by today’s horror movie standards and comes across as more cruel than scary. Spencer Tracy’s performance as Mr. Hyde was difficult to watch. In the dozen or two Tracy film’s I’ve seen, he’s always played the good guy.
The subject of Hyde’s cruelty is Ingrid Bergman a less-than innocent barmaid. Ingrid played one of my most beloved screen characters – Ilsa in Casablanca. Her natural beauty shines through once again in a sometimes nuanced, sometimes over-the-top performance (common in that era).
Lana Turner rounds out the top of the marque as Jekyll’s overly innocent girl-friend. This is the first I can recall really taking notice of Turner in a movie. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
Jekyll’s transitions into Mr. Hyde and back again were considered ground-breaking special effects for its day. Tracy’s make-up as Hyde was also notable for its day. The movie pushes the credibility-envelope too far, pretending that Jekyll’s closest friends and lovers can’t tell that he and Mr. Hyde are one in the same. The make-up wasn’t that good.
While reasonably satisfying, in that its always nice to watch Tracy and Bergman perform. I can’t recommend this movie to anyone other than the true classic movie fan.
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