Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920)

Discussion in 'Classic' started by Horrorfan, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. Horrorfan

    Horrorfan New Member

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    Are there any fans of this film here?
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I'll tell you after I buy it :D

    What is the best version? I've only ever seen this on cheapo discs I'd never invest in.
     
  3. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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  4. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    I remember not being all that impressed by it, but I'd have to give it another spin as it's been at least 4 years since I saw it (I have the Image version).

    Much better, in my opinion, is the 1932 Fredric March version.

    Incidentally, I just watched Svengali (1931) with John Barrymore the other night, which did impress me. John is a downright rat bastard in that one. :)
     
  5. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I loved this film one of the most underrated silent horror films IMO.
     
  6. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    Just watched the Barrymore version again yesterday, and I think I liked it a little better this time; towards the end, Hyde gets more sinister than I remember, and the murder scene is worth the price of admission alone. Still, I dig the March version more.
     
  7. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Member

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    I like this version. It's a good length (about an hour) for the story and Barrymore is very menacing in it. It also contains a very memorable, disturbing image of a (symbolic) giant spider overcoming Jekyll. Better than the genteel Spncer Tracy version.
     
  8. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    Oh yeah, the spider was freaky. I forgot to give it props for that. Good point, Renn.
     
  9. Horrorfan

    Horrorfan New Member

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    Well I got my copy of this today and from what I saw I am quite impressed. Kino put out a fantastic dvd that should be in every horror fans collection.
     
  10. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    So I started the evening with some classic cinema from the days when they didn't really know there was going to be films known as classics - 1920's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    I've been familiar with this film, like many people, through old stills in horror books many moons ago. John Barrymore's performance had been noted as being extraordinary, and certainly the pictures I had seen of him stalking the ladies were impressive.

    As usual in the my household, there was an air of trepidation in putting the disc in the player - it was quite a big moment when it finally came on the screen. And, of course, it didn't disapoint. The film is a swift run through at around 75 minutes, and it never has time to get boring.

    The story is familiar, and things are generally more interesting when the sharp headed Hyde is on the screen. With fingers like talons, a hunched back, and a leering manner, he steals every scene he's in. Wonderful stuff, and so great to finally see those stills tatooed into my brain come to life on the screen.

    The Kino disc is good, other than the usual few scratches, the quality is nice indeed. The orchestral (well, I think there are seven players) soundtrack is good too - hell, I was even humming along to some parts. Nice to get away from a purely synth score though.

    There are plentiful extras in the form of an essay and some slent shorts. One short of note is "Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pride", a funny 20 minute silent piece from none other than Stan Laurel! That actually gave me a couple laughs, brilliant!

    Bad news? Well, yeah. There's five minutes of footage missing here. The footage can be found in Public Domain issues of the title, so it's a shame the nice print Kino found didn't have these frames included. There is some footoage of Millicent (love interest) and her fsther gone, and some footage of Jekyll helping the poor in his clinic. A shame, but one has to say - this IS the recommended edition of the film given its quality, and the missing footage doesn't incredibly hurt the narrative.

    So that's it - another classic silent on the screen and looking great. I'm so glad to have finally seen this, and even happier to own it. Wonderful stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  11. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Tonight I had the pleasure of watching this a second time, this time with the good wife. For my wife this was a first experience, and she was much impressed. For me, watching it ten days or so after the first time, I can confirm that you are rewarded for multiple viewings.

    The pacing is pretty good here, the spider scene is great, and the subtle performances from supporting characters can be better appreciated. I also better appreciated how Hyde deteroriates as the film goes on.

    We also went through all the extras this time:

    "Audio Recording: The Tranformation Scene"
    Runs about 3 minutes, and is a recording released on a 78 back in 1909. Interesting to here the thing play out.

    "Dr Pyckle and Mr. Pride"
    21 minutes or so. Stan Laurel doing his thing, very funny this, even if the final frames are lost.

    "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde -1920 - Sheldon Lewis"
    Ten minutes of a knock off version released as a cheap alternative to the Paramount film. Lots of liberties taken, but the tranformation is pretty good. Corners cut means it's set in "modern" times, and there's stock footage of a fire included. Nice to see.

    "The Many Faces of Jeckyll/Hyde"
    A longish article about the release of the Barrymore version, which extracts from newspaper reports at the time, along with some historical information. A good read.

    "About the Score"
    Text pages about the music.

    Sad there's no commentary, it's crying out for one. But again - this is a brilliant film, and a nice DVD.
     
  12. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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