Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 film)
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''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' is a 1931 American
pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays Code in its dialogue but still featured sexualized imag ...
horror film A horror film is one that seeks to elicit fear Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, fee ...
, directed by
Rouben Mamoulian Rouben Zachary Mamoulian ( ; hy, Ռուբէն Մամուլեան; October 8, 1897 – December 4, 1987) was an Armenian-American film director, film producer and a theatre director. Mamoulian is widely regarded as one of the most influential ...
and starring
Fredric March Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s.Obituary ''Variety Variety may refer to: ...
, who plays a possessed doctor who tests his new formula that can unleash people's inner demons. The film is an adaptation of ''
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'' is a Gothic novella A novella is a short novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether n ...
'', the 1886
Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as ''Treasure Island ''Treasure Island'' (origi ...

Robert Louis Stevenson
tale of a man who takes a potion which turns him from a mild-mannered man of science into a
homicidal ''Homicidal'' is a 1961 American horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genr ...

homicidal
maniac. The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release. Nominated for three
Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., ...

Academy Awards
, March won the award for
Best Actor Best Actor is the name of an award which is presented by various film, television and theatre organizations, festivals, and people's awards to leading actors in a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a wo ...
, sharing the award with
Wallace Beery Wallace Fitzgerald Beery (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in ''Min and Bill ''Min and Bill'' is a 1930 American Pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature c ...
for '' The Champ''.


Plot

Dr. Henry Jekyll (
Fredric March Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s.Obituary ''Variety Variety may refer to: ...
), a kind English doctor in Victorian London, is certain that within each man lurks impulses for both good and evil. He is desperately in love with his fiancée Muriel Carew (
Rose Hobart Rose Hobart (born Rose Kefer; May 1, 1906 – August 29, 2000) was an American actress and a Screen Actors Guild The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American trade union, labor union which represented over 100,000 film and television a ...
) and wants to marry her immediately. But her father, Brigadier General Sir Danvers Carew (
Halliwell Hobbes Herbert Halliwell Hobbes (16 November 187720 February 1962) was an English actor. Early years The future actor was the son of William Albert Hobbes (1841-1909), a Warwickshire solicitor, and his wife, Marion Hobbes, née Dennis, (1838-1925). ...
), orders them to wait. One night, while walking home with his colleague, Dr. John Lanyon (
Holmes Herbert Holmes Herbert (born Horace Edward Jenner; 30 July 1882 – 26 December 1956) was an English character actor A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or Eccentricity (behavior), eccentric character (arts), ...
), Jekyll spots a bar singer, Ivy Pierson (
Miriam Hopkins Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American actress known for her versatility. She first signed with Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech ...

Miriam Hopkins
), being attacked by a man outside her boarding house. Jekyll drives the man away and carries Ivy up to her room to attend to her. Ivy tries to seduce Jekyll but, though he is tempted, he leaves with Lanyon. When Sir Danvers takes Muriel to Bath, Jekyll begins to experiment with drugs that he believes will unleash his evil side. After imbibing a concoction of these drugs, he transforms into Edward Hyde—an impulsive, violent, amoral man who indulges his every desire. Hyde finds Ivy in the
music hall Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they opera ...

music hall
where she works. He offers to financially support her in return for her company. They stay at her boarding house where Hyde sexually abuses and psychologically manipulates her. When Hyde reads in the paper that Sir Danvers and Muriel are planning to return to London, Hyde leaves Ivy but threatens her that he'll return when she least expects it. Overcome with guilt, Jekyll sends £50 to Ivy. On the advice of her landlady, Ivy goes to see Dr. Jekyll and recognizes him as the man who saved her from abuse that night. She tearfully tells him about her situation with Hyde, and Jekyll reassures her that she will never see Hyde again. But the next night, while walking to a party at Muriel's where the wedding date is to be announced, Jekyll spontaneously changes into Hyde. Rather than attend the party, Hyde goes to Ivy's room and murders her. Hyde returns to Jekyll's house but is refused admission by the butler. Desperate, Hyde writes a letter to Lanyon instructing him to take certain chemicals from Jekyll's laboratory and take them home. When Hyde arrives, Lanyon pulls a gun on him and demands that Hyde take him to Jekyll. With no other choice, Hyde drinks the formula and changes back into Jekyll before a shocked Lanyon. Aware that he cannot control the transformations, Jekyll goes to the Carew home and breaks off the engagement. After he leaves, he stands on the terrace and watches Muriel cry. This triggers another transformation and, as Hyde, he enters the house and assaults Muriel. Sir Danvers tries to stop him, but Hyde beats him to death with Jekyll's walking stick then flees back to Jekyll's laboratory where he takes the formula again and reverts to Jekyll. Lanyon recognizes the broken cane left at the crime scene and takes the police to Jekyll's home. Jekyll tells them that Hyde has already left, Lanyon insists that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same. The stress causes another transformation into Hyde and, after a fierce struggle, Hyde is shot by the police. Dying, he transforms back into Jekyll.


Cast

*
Fredric March Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s.Obituary ''Variety Variety may refer to: ...
as Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde *
Miriam Hopkins Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American actress known for her versatility. She first signed with Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech ...

Miriam Hopkins
as Ivy Pierson *
Rose Hobart Rose Hobart (born Rose Kefer; May 1, 1906 – August 29, 2000) was an American actress and a Screen Actors Guild The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American trade union, labor union which represented over 100,000 film and television a ...
as Muriel Carew *
Holmes Herbert Holmes Herbert (born Horace Edward Jenner; 30 July 1882 – 26 December 1956) was an English character actor A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or Eccentricity (behavior), eccentric character (arts), ...
as Dr. John Lanyon *
Halliwell Hobbes Herbert Halliwell Hobbes (16 November 187720 February 1962) was an English actor. Early years The future actor was the son of William Albert Hobbes (1841-1909), a Warwickshire solicitor, and his wife, Marion Hobbes, née Dennis, (1838-1925). ...
as Brigadier-General Danvers Carew *
Edgar Norton Edgar Norton (born Harry Edgar Mills; August 11, 1868 – February 6, 1953) was an English-born American character actor. Early years Norton was born in Islington Islington () is a district in Greater London, England, and part of the Londo ...
as Poole * Tempe Pigott as Mrs. Hawkins *
Arnold Lucy Arnold Lucy (born Walter George Campbell, 8 August 1865 – 15 December 1945) was a British theatre and film actor, best known as Professor Kantorek in ''All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 film), All Quiet on the Western Front'' (1930). Life an ...
as Utterson ''(uncredited)'' * Colonel McDonnell as Hobson ''(uncredited)'' Source:


Production

The film was made prior to the full enforcement of the
Production Code The Motion Picture Production Code was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conve ...
and is remembered today for its strong sexual content, embodied mostly in the character of the bar singer, Ivy Pierson, played by
Miriam Hopkins Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American actress known for her versatility. She first signed with Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech ...

Miriam Hopkins
. When it was re-released in 1936, the Code required 8 minutes to be removed before the film could be distributed to theaters. This footage was restored for the
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object ...

VHS
and
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital elect ...

DVD
releases. The secret of the transformation scenes was not revealed for decades (Mamoulian himself revealed it in a volume of interviews with Hollywood directors published under the title ''The Celluloid Muse''). Make-up was applied in contrasting colors. A series of colored filters that matched the make-up was then used which enabled the make-up to be gradually exposed or made invisible. The change in color was not visible on the
black-and-white Black-and-white (B/W or B&W) images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is ...
film.Miller, Fran
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)" (article)
TCM.com Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is an American movie-oriented pay-TV Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscri ...
Wally Westmore Walter 'Wally' James Westmore (February 13, 1906 – July 3, 1973) was a make-up artist for Hollywood films. Westmore was one of Westmore family, six brothers; all became notable film make-up artists. They were Monte Westmore, Monte, Perc Westmore ...
's make-up for Hyde — simian and hairy with large
canine teeth In mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to shar ...
— influenced greatly the popular image of Hyde in media and comic books. In part this reflected the novella's implication of Hyde as embodying repressed evil, and hence being semi-evolved or simian in appearance. The characters of Muriel Carew and Ivy Pierson do not appear in Stevenson's original story; Ivy Pierson's character is original to the film, while Muriel gnesCarew does appear in the 1887 stage version by playwright
Thomas Russell Sullivan Thomas Russell Sullivan (November 21, 1849 – June 28, 1916) was an American writer. He is best known for '' Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'', an 1887 stage adaptation of ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyd ...
.
John Barrymore John Barrymore (born John Sidney Blyth; February 14 or 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942) was an American actor on stage, screen and radio. A member of the Drew and Barrymore theatrical families, he initially tried to avoid the stage, and briefly att ...

John Barrymore
was originally asked by Paramount to play the lead role, in an attempt to recreate his role from the 1920 version of Jekyll and Hyde, but he was already under a new contract with
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California ...
. Paramount then gave the part to March, who was under contract and who bore a physical resemblance to Barrymore. March had played a John Barrymore-like character in the Paramount film ''
The Royal Family of Broadway ''The Royal Family of Broadway'' is a 1930 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code comedy film directed by George Cukor and Cyril Gardner and released by Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was adapted by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Gertrude Purcell f ...
'' (1930), a story about an acting family similar to the Barrymores. March, following stage tradition, overplayed both Jekyll and Hyde to emphasize their contrasts and would go on to win the
Academy Award for Best Actor The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Pictu ...
for his performance of the role. When
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California ...
remade Bas-Lag is the fictional world in which several of English author China Miéville's novels are set. Bas-Lag is a world where both magic (paranormal), magic (referred to as "thaumaturgy") and steampunk technology exist, and is home to many intelligen ...
the
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
10 years later with
Spencer Tracy Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (April 5, 1900 – June 10, 1967) was an American actor, known for his natural performing style and versatility. One of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy was the first actor to win two consecutive ...

Spencer Tracy
in the lead, the studio bought the negative and the rights to both the Mamoulian version and the earlier 1920 silent version, paying $1,250,000. Every print of the 1931 film that could be located was recalled and destroyed, and for decades, the film was believed lost. The Tracy version was much less well received and March jokingly sent Tracy a telegram thanking him for the greatest boost to his reputation of his entire career. The opening credits use ''
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, BWV 565, is a piece of organ repertoire, organ music written, according to its oldest extant sources, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). The piece opens with a toccata section, follow ...
'' by
Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque music, Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suites and ''Brandenburg Concertos''; keyboard ...

Johann Sebastian Bach
.


Reception


Box office

''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' premiered in Los Angeles on December 24, 1931. Grossing $1.3 million in domestic rentals, the film was a box office hit on par with the of the era, even considering that its $535,000 budget was high for a horror film at the time.


Critical reception

''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' received mostly positive reviews upon its release.
Mordaunt Hall Mordaunt Hall (1 November 1878 – 2 July 1973) was the first regularly assigned motion picture critic for ''The New York Times'', working from October 1924 to September 1934.The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' wrote an enthusiastic review, comparing it favorably to the John Barrymore version as a "far more tense and shuddering affair" than that film. Hall called March "the stellar performer" in the title role while praising the acting of the entire supporting cast as well, and called the old-fashioned atmosphere created by the costumes and set designs "quite pleasing". Film critic
Leonard Maltin Leonard Michael Maltin (born December 18, 1950) is an American Film criticism, film critic and History of film, film historian, as well as an author of several mainstream books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives. He is best k ...
gave the film 3 out of a possible 4 stars, calling it "exciting", and "floridly cinematic", also praising March's and Hopkins performances. ''
Variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hor ...
'' ran a somewhat less favorable but still positive review. Alfred Rushford Greason wrote that "the picture doesn't build to an effective climax" because it was too slow and labored in getting there, and that while the initial transformation sequence "carries a terrific punch", its effect became lessened with successive uses. However, Greason credited March with "an outstanding bit of theatrical acting", declared the makeup "a triumph", and said that the sets and lighting alone made the film worth seeing "as models of atmospheric surroundings." John Mosher of ''
The New Yorker ''The New Yorker'' is an American weekly magazine featuring journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that pr ...

The New Yorker
'' reported that the film "has its full storage of horror" and was "well acted". March, he wrote, "gives us a Mr. Hyde as athletic and exuberant as might have been that of Douglas Fairbanks, Senior." ''
Film Daily ''The Film Daily'' was a daily publication that existed from 1918 to 1970 in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primari ...
'' declared: "Gripping performance by Fredric March is highlight of strong drama, ace supporting cast and direction". Film review aggregator
Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley ...

Rotten Tomatoes
reported an approval rating of 90%, based on , with a rating average of 8.27/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A classic. The definitive version of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella from 1931, with innovative special effects, atmospheric cinematography and deranged overacting."


Awards and honors

Wins *
Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., ...

Academy Awards
: Oscar;
Best Actor in a Leading Role The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a Leading actor, leading role while workin ...
, Fredric March; tied with
Wallace Beery Wallace Fitzgerald Beery (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in ''Min and Bill ''Min and Bill'' is a 1930 American Pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature c ...
for '' The Champ''; 1932. *
Venice Film Festival The Venice Film Festival or Venice International Film Festival ( it, Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, "International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art of the Venice Biennale") is the world's oldest film fes ...
: Audience Referendum; Most Favorite Actor, Fredric March; Most Original Fantasy Story, Rouben Mamoulian; 1932. * ''
Film Daily ''The Film Daily'' was a daily publication that existed from 1918 to 1970 in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primari ...
'': 10 Best Films * ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'': 10 Best Films Nominations *
Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., ...

Academy Awards
: Oscar; Best Adaptation Writing, Percy Heath and Samuel Hoffenstein; 1932; Best Cinematography, Karl Struss. :* Source: Other honors The film is recognized by
American Film Institute The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applyin ...
in these lists: * 2001: AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills – Nominated * 2003: AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains: ** Mr. Hyde – Nominated Villain


Remake

''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' (1941) is a remake of this film.


See also

*
Gothic film The Gothic film is a film that is based on Gothic fiction Gothic fiction, sometimes called Gothic horror in the 20th century, is a genre of literature and film that covers horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres * ...
*''
The House That Shadows Built ''The House That Shadows Built'' (1931) is a Feature film, feature compilation film from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912. The film was a promotional film for exhibitors and never had a r ...
'' (1931 promotional film by Paramount)


References


External links

* * . * *
''Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde''
a Review by Walter Albert.

at the Walter Film Poster and Photo Museum Streaming audio
''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde''
on Favorite Story: January 10, 1948
''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde''
on
Theater Guild on the Air ''The United States Steel Hour'' is an anthology series which brought hour long dramas to television from 1953 to 1963. The television series and the radio program that preceded it were both sponsored by the U.S. Steel, United States Steel Corpora ...
: November 19, 1950. Radio drama starring
Fredric March Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s.Obituary ''Variety Variety may refer to: ...
.
''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde''
on Theatre Royal: January 30, 1954 {{DEFAULTSORT:Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 film) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde films 1930s historical films 1931 horror films 1931 films American science fiction horror films American films American film remakes American black-and-white films American historical horror films American films based on plays Censored films 1930s English-language films Films based on horror novels Films directed by Rouben Mamoulian Films featuring a Best Actor Academy Award-winning performance Films set in London Films set in the 19th century Films shot from the first-person perspective Paramount Pictures films Sound film remakes of silent films