31 Days of Horror: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) is the finest version of the oft told Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Everyone should know the story by now. The good Dr. Jekyll invents a serum that separates man's good and evil selves. He experiments on himself creating the evil Mr. Hyde.

Directed with style by Rouben Mamoulian, who would later direct the excellent The Mark of Zorro (1940), and starring Fredric March as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. March would win an Oscar for best actor for this film. March's make-up for Hyde is extremely effective and the transformation scenes are amazing. In 1941 the movie was remade with Spencer Tracy who just messed his hair up to play Hyde. The movie is extremely weak, especially when compared to this film.

Made during the Pre-Code days, the film deals with sex a little more frankly than films made from the later Production Code days. In fact Miriam Hopkins plays a prostitute that the good doctor helps out in a scene that was later cut down in re-releases due to its sexiness. In fact eight minutes where cut out of the 1936 re-release and when MGM remade the movie in 1941 - they bought and shelved every version of the film they could get their hands on. They didn't want it competing with their version. The film has finally been restored and released on DVD by Warner Brothers in a set that contains the 1941 version as well.

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