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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Week

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931 poster

“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it; I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment.”

Thus one character fails to paint a picture of Edward Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson's novella "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." One of the most famous horror stories of the 19th Century, the novella has spawned countless adaptations in film, some direct (the three major Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde features made between 1920 and 1941), others not so much (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, The Nutty Professor). In literature, Valerie Martin gave an alternate viewpoint to Stevenson's original tale in "Mary Reilly", a novel longer than the work that inspired it. That book would also become a movie. The BBC is currently in the middle of their six-part miniseries "Jekyll", which brings the story to the modern day.

What is our fascination? Why have writers and filmmakers reexamined this same story again and again, often with wildly varying results? Is it our fascination with our own personal Hydes? Or is it simply a good story well told?

Classic-Horror honors the cinematic tradition of Jekyll and Hyde by presenting a new review of a Jekyll and Hyde movie every day this week, Monday through Friday.

Monday: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (John Barrymore, 1920)
Tuesday: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Fredric March, 1931)
Wednesday: Edge of Sanity (Anthony Perkins, 1989)
Thursday: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Spencer Tracy, 1941)
Friday: Mary Reilly (John Malkovich, 1996)

Other Jekyll and Hyde reviews already in our database:

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Boris Karloff/Eddie Parker, 1953)
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (Paul Massey, 1960)

If you want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's original work, you can find it at Project Gutenberg for free.