Made in 1931 - before the Hays Code imposed stricter censorship on Hollywood movie - this pioneering Freudian adap of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic horror tale sees Victorian London conjured up on a Paramount sound stage.
The intellectually arrogant but sexually frustrated Doctor Jekyll (Frederic March) is attracted to music- hall singer Ivy Pierson ( Miriam Hopkins); via a magic potion, his animalistic instincts are unleashed in the ape-like form of the sadistic, murderous Mr Hyde (also March).
Director Rouben Mamoulian imaginatively deploys special effects - including split-screens, diagonal wipes, and superimpositions - and symbolism (all those mirrors!) to convey the dual aspects of Jekyll’s personality.
Powerful performances from March and Hopkins and richly atmospheric cinematography help make for a memorable journey down Stevenson’s “strange and terrible road.”
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