Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Dir. Rouben Mamoulian
USA 1931 | Black & white | 97 mins | Cert 12A
Cast: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
‘I’ve played with dangerous knowledge. I’ve walked a strange and terrible road …’
Robert Louis Stevenson’s celebrated tale of terror, first published in 1886, has inspired countless screen adaptations, but none has ever matched the achievement of the very first sound version: Rouben Mamoulian’s sensual and stylish masterpiece of 1931. Made shortly before the enforcement of the Hays Code which ushered in stricter censorship, Mamoulian’s adaptation is startlingly frank in its portrayal of Jekyll as a man tormented by sexual frustration.
A brilliant young doctor, he shocks the scientific community by claiming that man’s good self can be separated from his evil self, while his impatience to marry his fiancée — clearly motivated by sexual need — is condemned as ‘positively indecent’. Fredric March won an Academy Award for his virtuoso performance as the elegant, civilised doctor who transforms himself to terrifying effect. Steeped in the atmosphere of Victorian London, this great psychological horror film makes perfect Christmas viewing
Available on: 35mm
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