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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

A subversive and psychologically rigorous take on RL Stevenson’s tale of severed souls, ‘Dr Jekyll’ combines gothic horror, aristocratic romance and madcap Freudian psychodrama into a dizzying, exhilirating brew.

Fredric March’s Jekyll exists in a state of unhappy Victorian reppression, unable to lay a finger on his bride-to-be until their wedding night and sorely tempted by Miriam Hopkins’ buxom harlot Champagne Ivy. Drinking his serum allows him to throw off the shackles of polite society, to get in touch with the unrestrained, wilfully brutish animal within.

But Mamoulian’s 1931 film is no voyeuristic fantasy: through a strikingly modern combination of subjective camerawork (by Karl Struss) and still-astounding visual effects, he makes it clear that Jekyll is no fiction: he is all of us, all the time. When, in the final scene, a police sergeant turns to the audience with an accusatory finger and a cry of ‘that’s the man!’, it’ll be a stalwart soul who doesn’t flinch back in his cinema seat.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday December 12 2008
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Screenwriter: Samuel Hoffenstein, Percy Heath
Cast: Fredric March
Miriam Hopkins
Rose Hobart
Holmes Herbert
Halliwell Hobbes
Edgar Norton
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