The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

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The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
The-two-faces-of-dr jekyll-poster.jpg
UK theatrical release poster
Directed by Terence Fisher
Produced by Michael Carreras
Screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz
Starring Paul Massie
Dawn Addams
Christopher Lee
David Kossoff
Francis de Wolff
Music by David Heneker
John Hollingsworth
Monty Norman
Cinematography Jack Asher
Edited by Eric Boyd-Perkins
James Needs
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
24 October 1960 (UK)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £146,417[1]

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a 1960 horror film by Hammer Film Productions.[2] It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Paul Massie as Dr. Jekyll, and co-stars Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee and David Kossoff.[3] It was written by Wolf Mankowitz, based on the 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.[4]

In contrast to other film versions, Jekyll was portrayed as a rather bland and faceless person, while Hyde was presented as suave and handsome. This reflects director Fisher's belief in what critics (such as biographer Wheeler Winston Dixon) called "the charm of evil".[5] The film is also unusual in that it is one of the few where the Jekyll/Hyde character does not die in the story's conclusion.

The film was released in North America to theaters under the titles House of Fright and Jekyll's Inferno and on American TV under its original British title.

Plot[edit]

Dr. Henry Jekyll's wife, Kitty, cheats on him with his friend Paul Allen (who hounds money from Jekyll). Ignoring the warnings of his colleague and friend Dr. Ernst Littauer, Jekyll concocts a chemical potion which he hopes will help him learn the depths of the human mind.

By testing the potion on himself, he transforms into Mr. Edward Hyde, a young and handsome, but also murderous and lecherous man. Soon, Hyde becomes bored with conventional debauchery and when his eyes catch Kitty, he decides he must have her. When Kitty rejects him, Hyde rapes her and leaves her unconscious. When Kitty wakes up in the bed, she immediately notices that Hyde has scratched her neck in various places. Distressed, Kitty walks over to the table where she finds a note written to her. When Kitty goes into the other room looking for Paul, she looks in to find out that her lover has been bitten by a venomous snake. To Kitty's misfortune, Paul is dead. Kitty walks over to the patio, puts her leg over the balcony, covers her ears in response to the loud music playing from the party and allows herself to fall off the balcony and through the glass roof covering the party guests. Hyde frames his other self for these crimes.

The next day, Jekyll is horrified to learn of what Hyde has done. After speaking to his other half via a mirror, Jekyll turns into Hyde out of control. Hyde then kills a man by shooting him in the back and sets his body up on a desk. Hyde then sets fire to the laboratory as police show up at Jekyll's laboratory looking for him. Via a window, Hyde pretends that Jekyll is trying to kill him as the building burns. After escaping the building, Hyde claims Jekyll tried to kill Hyde and ended up shooting himself due to madness as the innocent man and Jekyll's lab burns.

A few hours later, Hyde is summoned to the police station where he and some officers discuss the crime. After declaring Dr. Jekyll responsible for the crimes, Hyde tries to leave the building, but at the last minute Jekyll fights him from the inside and takes over again. As Dr. Jekyll sits on a bench, looking as sickly as ever, he is surrounded by astonished people and arrested for his alleged crimes.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was to star Louis Jourdan.[6]

Reception[edit]

Reviews were mixed to negative. The Monthly Film Bulletin of the UK wrote that the film "may be forgiven for tampering with a classic, but not for doing so with such a depressing lack of either wit or competence ... Silliness, in fact, has got the better of the film to such an extent that even its most calculatedly vicious episodes appear only mildly grotesque. The production, which uses up colour film lavishly on such episodes as a cancan sequence, is otherwise hard-up for ideas."[7] Variety gave the film a good review, praising Paul Massie for an "interesting performance" and Jack Asher for "colorful and sure" camerawork.[8] Eugene Archer of The New York Times called the film "lurid", and Massie "frankly ridiculous."[9] Harrison's Reports graded the film as "Fair", adding, "Horror fans will hardly be scared by this well-mounted British import ... Paul Massie does the best he can in the poorly written twin role." [10]

The film lost Hammer an estimated ₤30,000.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marcus Hearn & Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films, Titan Books, 2007 p 49
  2. ^ "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)".
  3. ^ "Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) - Terence Fisher - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. ^ "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1961) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  5. ^ Wheeler Winston Dixon The Charm of Evil: The Films of Terence Fisher (with an introduction by John Carpenter).Metuchen N.J. and London: Scarecrow Press, 1991. 574 pages.
  6. ^ Entertainment Films Stage Music: Louis Jourdan Will Star in 'Mr. Jekyll' Los Angeles Times 15 Oct 1959: C12.
  7. ^ "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 27 (322): 153. November 1960.
  8. ^ "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll". Variety: 6. October 19, 1960.
  9. ^ Archer, Eugene (August 24, 1961). "New Jekyll and Hyde". The New York Times: 25.
  10. ^ "'House of Fright' with Paul Massie, Dawn Addams and Christopher Lee". Harrison's Reports: 100. June 24, 1961.
  11. ^ Marcus Hearn, The Hammer Vault, Titan Books, 2011 p38

External links[edit]