20 April 2014

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941)
113 min.
Directed by Victor Fleming.
With Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith.
Tracy, Bergman, Turner? What a cast!

Of course, everyone knows the classic story from Robert Louis Stevenson: physician & scientist Henry Jekyll, experimenting with the good and evil duality of man, creates a potion that turns him into his hideous alter ego.

Soon, he is unable to control his transformations...and the results are tragic, deadly.

There have been many adaptations of the Jekyll and Hyde tale told over the years, but this one cannot be ignored.

Tracy, wearing much less Hyde make-up than is usual for the part, gives an utterly frightening performance.

Suave and handsome as the doctor one minute, heís all bug eyes and sadistic menace the next.

Bergman (as naughty Ivy) and super lovely Turner (as nice Beatrix) have never been more beautiful. Itís interesting to note that they originally had each otherís roles, until Bergman persuaded the powers that be to let her have the more challenging female lead.

It was a correct choice, for her Ivy is full of sexy energy, pathos and emotional depth.

Considered a failure at the time of its release, this 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll has grown in recognition with time, in large part because of Flemingís excellent and lush direction.

Simply wonderful. (But don't miss the excellent 1931 version starring Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins.)

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