Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

(1920) - B&W - 65 min
Starring - John Barrymore as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Martha Mansfield as Millicent Carew, Brandon Hurst as Sir George Carew, George Stevens as Dr. Jekyll's butler Poole, Charles Lane as Dr. Richard Lanyon, J. Malcom Dunn as John Utterson, Nita Naldi as Miss Gina the nightclub dancer, Cecil Clovelly as Edward Ensfield, Louis Wolheim as the music hall proprietor
Directed by - John S. Robertson

In this earliest film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's literary classic, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the 1920 silent film stars the legendary John Barrymore (Drew Barrymore's grandfather) in the duel role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Simply put - his performance is amazing.

Unlike many other movie versions of this classic tale about man's duel nature and his inclinations toward both good and evil, this film does not go overboard in making Dr. Jekyll a complete physically horrible monster. Yes, he becomes very ugly and he is upsetting to look at, however his disfigurement appears more a result of bad choices in life, rather than a product of the potion he drinks to go in and out of his other self. The film has many wonderful quirky moments especially the scene with the juggler followed by the text plate about marriage.

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