Cast & Crew
In the late eighteenth century, London physician Dr. Henry Jekyll addresses a group of scientists on the duality of the human psyche, convinced that man lives with an eternal struggle between his noble and impulsive sides. In his laboratory, Jekyll develops a potion meant to separate the two selves, so that the evil persona can be brought forth and annihilated. Meanwhile, Jekyll asks Brigadier-General Carew for permission to marry his daughter Muriel earlier than they originally had planned, but Carew refuses. Later, Jekyll returns to his laboratory and takes the potion, and his now-freed evil persona turns him into a beast. Jekyll then visits Ivy Pierson, a music hall singer from Soho whom he had rescued earlier from the advances of a brutish man. As the evil and ugly "Mr. Hyde," Jekyll now tries to seduce Ivy. She is repulsed by Hyde, but when he promises her wealth, she gives herself to him. Jealous of the affection Ivy has for the kind Dr. Jekyll, Hyde beats and rapes her until she believes that he is the Devil. Later, when a composed Jekyll realizes he has terrorized Ivy, he anonymously sends her £50. When she visits her benefactor to thank him, she realizes he is Jekyll, and begs him to save her from Hyde, and he gives his word that she will never see him again. Later, however, on his way to the Carews', Jekyll turns into Hyde again without the impetus of the potion and goes to Soho and strangles Ivy. Jekyll, trying desperately to emerge from inside Hyde, sends word to his colleague, Dr. Lanyon, ordering him to rush more of the needed drugs to him. At midnight, Lanyon watches Hyde turn back into Jekyll, who swears him to secrecy. Jekyll then promises never to mix the potion again. Believing that giving up Muriel is his penance, Jekyll goes to the Carews' to break his engagement. As he arrives, however, he again turns into Hyde and attacks Muriel, who is saved by Carew. The police arrive and chase Hyde back to Jekyll's lab. There Lanyon accuses his friend of murder, and when Jekyll again becomes Hyde, he is shot. The dead beast then reverts back to the kindly Jekyll.
Robert Louis Stevenson
M. M. Paggi
Best Writing, Screenplay
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
Although Fredric March had attracted attention in leading roles on the stage and in films, including a critically acclaimed characterization based on John Barrymore in The Royal Family of Broadway (1930), he finally attained stardom when he took on the role of the tormented doctor with a split personality. March, aided by a makeup job that rendered him hideous, and a sympathetic director who wanted to explore the emotional depths of the character, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) became a golden opportunity for March to showcase his talents.
March would star opposite Miriam Hopkins, who became a fixture of 1930's dramas. She found herself cast against her wishes as Ivy, the saucy caberet singer who bears the brunt of Mr. Hyde's attentions. Mamoulian had to personally convince Hopkins to take the role of Ivy, the sadomaschistic caberet singer, rather than that the role of "good girl" Muriel, Jekyll's fiancé. Hopkins must have later thanked her director for insisting she take the part- her performance shared the rave reviews March received for the film.
The transformation that March underwent before the camera was a source of fascination for both audiences and critics. Karl Struss, a talented cameraman created the 'transformation' scenes by using red filters that when removed, "revealed" the actor's makeup when seen in the black and white film stock, a technique he had devised for Ben-Hur (1926). His cinematography would result in one of the three Oscar nominations the film received, but Struss was unhappy with some of the results of the evolution of Jekyll into Hyde. In his autobiography, he lamented that the makeup made March look like "a monkey" and he felt that the scene should have focused on the psychological, not physical, change of the mad doctor.
Fredric March, however, saw a reason behind the balanced portrayal of both the doctor and his deranged alter ego. In an interview published in 1932 in Screen Book, March recalled, "I conceived Mr. Hyde as more than just Dr. Jekyll's inhibited evil nature, I saw the beast as a separate entity- one who could, and almost did, little by little, overpower and annihilate Dr. Jekyll. And I tried to show the devastating results in Dr. Jekyll as well. To me, those repeated appearances of the beast within him were more than just a mental strain on Jekyll- they crushed him physically as well. I tried to bring this out by increasing lines and shadows of Jekyll's makeup as the picture progressed, until, in the last scenes, he looked as though he already had one foot in the grave. Hyde was killing Jekyll physically as well as mentally."
The unbridled violence and sexual undertones of the story retain an impact even today. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was released two years prior to the inception of the Hays Office, which was responsible for enforcing a rigid code of standards that defined later films of the era. The stressful nature of March's performance was the focus of press, one writer declared that "(March's) strenuous screen characterizations are consuming his vitality and undermining his health. Worn out by the difficult dual roles in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde... March barely escaped a physical collapse.... He spent days in a Hollywood clinic, having a rigid check-up. 'Nerves shot,' came the verdict."
Risks aside, March found himself praised unanimously by not only critics, but his peers, who nominated him for his first Academy Award. His nomination resulted in an unusual piece of Oscar® trivia. According to the original rules of the academy, any contenders that came within three votes of a winner would share the award. Wallace Beery, nominated for The Champ (1931) squeaked by with one less vote than March. Coincidentally, both Beery and March had adopted children shortly before the Oscar® ceremony and March quipped, "Under the circumstances, it seems a little odd that Wally and I were both given awards for the best male performance of the year." The trajectory of March's career was in little doubt, however, foreshadowed by the comments of James R. Quirk in the fan magazine Photoplay, who wrote, "No player in pictures or on the stage could surpass his performance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Any man who can handle this heavily dramatic role with such finesse, and also put over an entirely different personality, such as he did... (in) The Royal Family is a first-class, all around journeyman actor."
Producer: Rouben Mamoulian, Adolph Zukor
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Percy Heath, based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cinematography: Karl Struss
Film Editing: William Shea
Costume Design: Travis Banton
Art Direction: Hans Dreier
Cast: Fredric March (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde), Miriam Hopkins (Ivy Pearson), Rose Hobart (Muriel Carew), Holmes Herbert (Dr. Lanyon), Halliwell Hobbes (Brigadier General Danver Carew), Edgar Norton (Poole).
BW-96m. Closed captioning.
by Frank Miller
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - two versions - A Double Dose of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
With its racy dialogue, partial nudity, strong sense of eroticism, and intense creepiness, the 1932 Jekyll is very much a pre-Code movie. Technically it was ahead of its time, with startling make-up and innovative lighting and camera techniques, including a famous subjective-shot opening. Both its cinematography and screenplay, in fact, were Oscar®-nominated. Director Rouben Mamoulian's mastery of technique was on full display. (Mamoulian's versatility is also visible in another recently released DVD - the 1932 Love Me Tonight, which is one of the most memorable and influential musicals of the 1930s.) March as Hyde is a hideous monster - menacing, unpredictable and very cruel. Dr. Jekyll is anxious to marry his fiancee (Rose Hobart), but her father wants them to wait. As Hyde, he is able to release his sexual energy on a tawdry showgirl/prostitute named Champagne Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) - and she's not exactly willing. Who could be? March throws his whole body into his amazing performance as Hyde. His physicality is terrifying, making it easy for us to share Hopkins' utter fear of him.
It should be noted that while this is the fullest existing version of this film, it's not completely restored. The opening tracking shot, a striptease by Hopkins, and other sexual overtones scattered throughout the picture were excised for a 1935 Hays Code-era reissue; most, but not all, of these items have been found and put back. Film historian Greg Mank, on his excellent commentary track, indicates precisely where footage was cut and replaced, and also what remains lost.
The 1942 edition directed by Victor Fleming and starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner, is not bad, but both Tracy and the movie pale in comparison to the earlier version. It's a straight copy of the March film. MGM actually bought the 1932 film from Paramount and withdrew it for many years in order to avoid negative comparisons, which is one reason it was thought lost for a time. (The studio also buried the 1920 silent version starring John Barrymore.) These two versions make for an interesting evaluation of the Hays Code. Next to the shock value of the original, the remake is much slicker, but it's also staid and rather lifeless. It contains barely an ounce of the sexual tension that makes the March version so compelling. One of the weirdest things about this movie is how alike Jekyll and Hyde look; you'd think Jekyll's friends would recognize him as Hyde! The print used here is beautiful, however, and MGM's grade-A production values are shown off to fine effect. This is especially good for Ingrid Bergman, who, appearing a year before Casablanca, is breathtakingly beautiful - not a bad reason in the least to enjoy this film. Moreover, her performance as Ivy is one of the remake's strongest selling points.
Extras, aside from the commentary track already mentioned, include a trailer for the 1941 version and a 1955 Bugs Bunny cartoon spoof, Hyde and Hare.
For more information about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, visit Warner Video. To order Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, go to TCM Shopping.
by Jeremy Arnold
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - two versions - A Double Dose of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
You should go out, sir. London offers many amusements for a gentlemen like you, sir.- Poole
Yes, but gentlemen like me daren't take advantage of them, Poole. Gentlemen like me have to be very careful of what we do or say.- Dr. Jekyll
Perhaps you're forgetting, you're engaged to Muriel.- Dr. Lanyon
Forgotten it? Can a man dying of thirst forget water? And do you know what would happen to that thirst if it were to be denied water?- Dr. Jekyll
If I understand you correctly, you sound almost indecent.- Dr. Lanyon
What names you give things!- Dr. Jekyll
Perhaps you prefer a gentleman. One of those fine-mannered and honorable gentlemen. Those panting hypocrites who like your legs but talk about your garters.- Mr. Hyde
You're a rebel, and see what it has done for you. You're in the power of this monster that you have created.- Dr. Lanyon
I'll never take that drug again!- Dr. Jekyll
Yes, but you told me you became that monster tonight not of your own accord. It will happen again.- Dr. Lanyon
It never will. I'm sure of it. I'll conquer it!- Dr. Jekyll
Too late. You cannot conquer it. It has conquered you!- Dr. Lanyon
Oh, God. This I did not intend. I saw a light but did not know where it was headed. I have tresspassed on your domain. I've gone further than man should go. Forgive me. Help me!- Dr. Jekyll
The remarkable Jekyll-to-Hyde transition scenes in this film were accomplished by manipulating a series of filters in front of the camera lens, filters which alternately revealed and obscured portions of Frederic March's Hyde makeup. During the first transformation scene, the accompanying noises on the soundtrack included portions of Bach, a gong being played backwards, painting on the track, and, reportedly, a recording of director Rouben Mamoulian's own heart.
According to Film Daily, Robert Lee relinquished his position as Paramount director and became assistant director to Rouben Mamoulian for this single production, due to its lengthy and difficult shooting schedule. According to the pressbook, Mamoulian had thirty-five historically-correct sets built for the film's 216 scenes, including eight adjoining scenic sets. He directed eighty-one actors and five hundred extras. According to New York Times, Robert Louis Stevenson, the nephew of the author, appeared in the film as an extra, reportedly because he could speak with a cockney accent. According to files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Hays Office cautioned Paramount studio chief B. P. Schulberg against the line in which Ivy tells Hyde, "Take me!" and Hyde's line, "I am going to take you." John V. Wilson, acting in the absence of Colonel Jason S. Joy, the Director of the Studio Relations Office of the AMPP, wrote to Schulberg on August 10, 1931, stating that the dialogue was "overly brutal" and "too suggestive." Additional caution was advised for the scene in which Hyde snaps Ivy's garter; in the original dialogue, Hyde said, "Look, my darling, how tight your garter is. You mustn't wear it so tight. It will bruise your pretty tender flesh." The Hays Office also opposed a reference to Ivy's "customers." In a letter to Schulberg dated December 1, 1931, Joy objected to the scene in which Ivy undresses in front of Jekyll when he first comes to her room because it was too long, stating that it should not drag "simply to titillate the audience." Although Joy agreed that Jekyll's attraction to Ivy in the scene "necessarily must be saved," he opposed the action of Jekyll watching Ivy undress. Joy also stated, "Because [the film] is based on so well established a literary classic the public and the censors May overlook the horrors which result from the realism of the Hyde make-up." On December 5, 1931, Joy wrote a memo to Will H. Hays, head of the MPPDA, in reference to a group of "gruesome" pictures, including Dracula and Frankenstein, positing, "Is this the beginning of a cycle which ought to be retarded or killed?" Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was approved by the PCA for re-issue in June 1935, after Paramount agreed to delete the undressing scene and the line in which Jekyll tells Ivy he "wants her."
Modern sources credit Hans Dreier as art director and William Shea as editor. As reported in Hollywood Reporter on November 19, 1932 (the day after the Academy Award banquet), Fredric March won the 1931-32 Academy Award for Best Actor for this film along with Wallace Beery (for The Champ), who was one vote behind March. According to Academy rules, if two nominees came within two votes of each other, both received an award. Karl Struss was nominated for Cinematography, and Samuel Hoffenstein and Percy Heath were nominated for Writing (Adaptation). The many adaptations of Stevenson's novel include a stage play starring Richard Mansfield (Boston, 9 May 1887); a silent film starring John Barrymore made by Paramount in 1920, directed by John Stewart Robertson (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.1063); the 1920 German film Der Januskopf, starring Conrad Veidt and directed by F. W. Murnau; a 1941 M-G-M film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner; the 1959 French film Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier, starring Jean-Louis Barrault and directed by Jean Renoir; and the 1963 Paramount release The Nutty Professor, starring and directed by Jerry Lewis (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.3501).
Released in United States 1932
Released in United States April 1981
Released in United States 1932
Released in United States April 1981 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (A Tribute to the Art of Cinematography) April 2-23, 1981.)