Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Oh dear, what a mess! A decidedly lack-lustre and misconceived version of the classic tale. The script by Wolf Mankowitz is no great shakes to start with and Terence Fisher's direction does nothing to help. It's pretty hard to ring the changes on Stevenson's novella and the best versions have been those which were more or less content to tell the story straight. Of course, we find ourselves with a Hammer production without a monster which is always bad news and although Christopher Lee plays his supporting role well enough the central performance by Paul Massie is really not up to scratch as either dull Jekyll or his other half. The depiction of the supposedly depraved London night life is laughable. There are some interesting faces from the Hammer call sheet including a young Oliver Reed and Francis DeWolff - and the legendary Denis Shaw as a mugger. Denis was one of the great Soho characters of the 1960s and fondly remembered by all who knew him (including yours truly) except for the many pub landlords who barred him from their establishments. Poor David Kossoff looks like he'd rather be somewhere else. Rating *


Cerpts said...

Ugh. I couldn't agree more. This movie is an exercise in boredom and requires superhuman stamina to make it to the end. Film versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have never been my favourite cup of potion but I do agree that the ones that depart from the original story (which I DO like) usually fail miserably -- like this movie. I recall I, MONSTER was also a hot mess. But then again, so is the Spencer Tracy version. The best film version will always be the Fredric March one for me.

Weaverman said...

Ahh, the Spencer Tracy version! Was ever a film so miscast ? Spence in a horror film is odd enough but whose idea was it to cast Swede Ingrid Bergman as a cockney. Obvious casting?

Cerpts said...

My favourite story about the Spencer Tracy version is when Somerset Maugham was visiting the set and had it explained to him that Tracy was playing the lead in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Maugham quipped "Which one is he now?"