Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1941)

This incarnation of the Robert Lewis Stevenson story is the big budget Hollywood version of the tale.  First, bring in a great director, Victor Flemming, who already had huge successes with The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind.  This man knows how to do epic filmmaking and Dr Jekyll is no exception to the rule.  Everything about it feels big and grand.  The sets are impeccable.  The cinematography is flawless.  The choice of black and white is also perfect for this film.  I think color would have ruined it.
Secondly, add a little star power with the love triangle of Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner.  Spencer Tracy plays the conflicted Jekyll/Hyde character.  While I prefer John Barrymore's Hyde from the 1920 silent film, Tracy's Jekyll is a character of conflicted intensity and strong emotions.  His good side prefers that company of Ms. Turner who is sweet, radiantly beautiful and comes from high society.  His bad side prefers Ms. Bergman who is also sweet and radiantly beautiful but comes from the wrong side of the tracks.  To be honest, you couldn't make Ingrid Bergman look ugly if you tried.  She is one of my all-time favorite actresses and she outshines Turner every step of the way.  However, both women give great performances.  
Finally, step out of the way and let the magic happen...and it does.  While Dr Jekyll would be considered a horror film by most people's standards, it simply feels like an epic love story that happens to have a few horror elements in it.  [Think Twilight minus all the sappy romance.]  Don't look for this film to be scary.  Look for it to be a well acted, well crafted psychological thriller that reminds us what good filmmaking is all about.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

No comments:

Post a Comment