Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

While this attempt on the classic Stevenson tale basks in rich Victorian sets, moody atmosphere, and crisp camera work, Spencer Tracy's complete detachment from the lead role makes this a rather dry and by-the-book effort. Unlike the monstrous make-up applied to Frederick March in the 1932 version, Tracy's incarnation of the sinister Mr. Hyde is a subtle extension of his own features, which is more frightening in the psychological sense, but doesn't amount to much on screen. Ingrid Bergman steals the scene as the barmaid Ivy, while none of the other players seem to be particularly excited in their roles. Victor Fleming does his best to keep the audience engaged with the same visual finesse he applied to GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ, which gives the film a great look that is bogged down by breathy dialogue and few chills. As a scientific thriller with a slow burn, it is an average watch, but I prefer the earlier renditions of the story over this one.

Rating: 7/10.
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3 comments:

  1. Never saw this version, actually. I like both the leads, so I may check it out eventually.

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  2. agreed. the older version is better. I just got the book on my Kindle for free. never read it but I'm looking forward to it.

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