Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941 film)

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Jekyll-hyde 1941.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Victor Fleming
Produced by Victor Saville
Written by John Lee Mahin
Percy Heath
Samuel Hoffenstein
Based on Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Starring Spencer Tracy
Ingrid Bergman
Lana Turner
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by Harold F. Kress
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • August 12, 1941 (1941-08-12)
Running time 113 minutes
Language English
Budget $1,140,000[1]
Box office $1,279,000 (Domestic)[1]
$1,072,000 (Foreign)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1941 horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner. Rather than being a new film version of the novel, it is a direct remake of the 1931 film of the same title, which differs greatly from the novel. The movie was based on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and directed by Victor Fleming, director of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz two years earlier. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (where Fleming was based) acquired the rights to the 1931 film, originally released by Paramount Pictures, in order to keep the earlier film out of circulation. Every print of the 1931 film that could be located was destroyed[citation needed], making it essentially a "lost film" for decades except for clips until a full version was found and was restored.

The MGM version was produced by Victor Saville and adapted by John Lee Mahin from the screenplay of the earlier film by Percy Heath and Samuel Hoffenstein. The music score was composed by Franz Waxman with uncredited contributions by Daniele Amfitheatrof and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The cinematographer was Joseph Ruttenberg, the art director was Cedric Gibbons, and the costume designers were Adrian and Gile Steele. Jack Dawn created the make-up for the dissolute Mr. Hyde's appearance.

The film also features Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith and Sara Allgood.


Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Mr. Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy Pearson (Ingrid Bergman), who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll, and Sir Charles (Donald Crisp), Dr. Jekyll's fiancee's father. Over the course of the film, Hyde begins to abuse Ivy, until she can't take anymore. She goes to Jekyll and asks for his help to commit suicide.

Instead, he gives her money, and promises Hyde will never hurt her again. Jekyll feels happy not to take the formula, until he starts to change into Hyde. He goes over to Ivy's house and starts to strangle her. Now a wanted man, Hyde goes to Lanyon for help. Lanyon is shocked to find out that both Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. Lanyon promises to keep Jekyll's secret. Jekyll decides to leave Bea, in order to keep his secret. Hyde starts to assault Bea, causing him to kill her father.

Lanyon finds a piece of Jekyll's cane, and knows who did it. The police search his house, only to find Jekyll. He starts to transform into Hyde. At the end of the film, Dr. Jekyll's best friend Dr. Lanyon (Ian Hunter) shoots and kills Mr. Hyde, causing Jekyll to die as well. Poole, Dr. Jekyll's butler, begins to say a prayer for his late master, ending the film.



Despite having not yet met his later co-star Katharine Hepburn - they met when they made Woman of the Year (1942) - Spencer Tracy originally wanted Hepburn to play both Bergman's and Turner's roles as the 'bad' and 'good' woman, who would then turn out to be the same person.[citation needed]

Initial casting had Bergman playing the demure fiancée of Jekyll and Turner as 'bad girl' Ivy. However, Bergman, tired of playing saintly characters and fearing typecasting, requested that she and Turner switch roles, allowing her to play a darker role for the first time.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

The film was not the critical success that the 1931 version had been, although it eventually earned $2 million around the world. Fredric March famously sent his friend Tracy an amusing telegram thanking him for his biggest career boost, as Tracy's performance was routinely savaged when compared with March's version. Tracy was considered too bland as Jekyll, and not frightening as Hyde. Realizing that he was unsuited to playing an English doctor in Victorian London, Tracy had tried to back out of the film, but it was too late.

Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $2,351,000 resulting in a profit of $350,000.[1]


The movie was nominated for three Oscars, for Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), Best Film Editing & Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Other references[edit]

In the 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon Hare Remover, when Elmer Fudd is going through some bizarre side effects after drinking a potion he created, Bugs Bunny turns to the audience and remarks, "I think Spencer Tracy did it much better!".


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

External links[edit]