Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Top Billed Actors: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
IMDb Rating: 7.7
*Exclusive Award Winner*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Actor - Fredric March
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Writing (Adapted) - Percy Heath and Samuel Hoffenstein
Best Cinematography - Karl Struss
Plot: A doctor plays with a chemistry set, turns into evil incarnate, then rape.
Not only was the make up and visual effects superb, but so was March's acting. He contrasted his characters beautifully, albeit with a set of very annoying teeth in his Mr. Hyde form. Out of his and Wallace Beery's performance in The Champ (1931), in which they both tied for the Oscar, March's is much better. Although I watched this movie solely for March's acting (it was an Exclusive Award winner), I was floored by the cinematography. The movie drops the viewer into Dr. Jekyll's head as it starts in first person. The camera constantly moves throughout the movie and the picture never feels stale or stagey. Oftentimes, a character would act head on into the camera, with great effect. The next movie I watch for the project won Best Cinematography so I can't say which is the better, but it is hard to imagine a better shot movie from this time period.
A couple of issues bogged down the film. I did not particularly enjoy all of the supporting characters and the actors that played them. Rose Hobart's character could have used a much stronger presence as did Holmes Herbert's. March simply overshadows his colleagues in every scene. I also thought the movie was a tad long. The first transformation scene is awe inspiring to say the least, but by the sixth time, the audience gets the point. It clocks in at 98 minutes and I think 85 minutes would have suited the story better.
Overall, March is excellent and the cinematography was a breath of fresh air. However, the supporting characters and plodding plot brings the score down a tad.
My Score: 7/10