The Two Faces of Dr. Jeckyll (1960)

Henry Jeckyll tirelessly strives to perfect a serum that can separate the "good" and "evil" inside each man. With no one else to test the drug on, he uses it on himself, unleashing the wicked Mr. Hyde. Hyde is driven by instinct and personal desire with no moral conscious, and he lashes out at Jeckyll's wife and friend who have been caught in a lover's affair. Paul Massie steps into the famed roles in this Hammer production, but while his portrayal of the debonair monster Mr. Hyde can be enjoyable at times, his Dr. Jeckyll is quite heavy-handed and often silly with his ridiculous make-up and voice-masking. Christopher Lee and Dawn Addams attempt to breath some life into the picture, but even they seem to struggle with the empty material they have been given. Many of the stronger points in the original story have been omitted to make room for this invented love triangle, and Mankowitz fills the script with a heightened sexuality and surprising language. The sordid tale of Jeckyll and Hyde is one that relies entirely on the strengths of its performers when adapted for the screen, and unfortunately Hammer's lackluster take on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella leaves much to be desired.

Rating: 6/10.
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  1. Is there a decent Jeckyll and Hyde film? I loved what The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did with the character, but only in print. I don't think I've seen a movie adaptation of it that I've liked.

  2. I dont mind the 1921 silent version, and Universal's original (1931?) is what I consider to be the definitive version of the film. Its not the most exciting story by any means, probably better left to Stevenson's novella.

  3. I'd nominate the 1971 Amicus Production I, MONSTER as perhaps the most faithful to Stevenson's text. I do like THE TWO FACES OF DR.JEKYLL though - Christopher Lee is superb in it, and it does try to do something slightly more radical with the material.

  4. Lee was the only enjoyable part of the film for me here, but I found Massie to be utterly ridiculous at times. I still havent seen I, MONSTER, thanks for the rec Shaun!

  5. I liked this one a lot and found it to be daring with the sexual subtext and found everyone to be pretty distasteful. Both Lee and Massie were great, imo. I honestly didn't think I was going to like the film having put it off for some time, but was pleasantly surprised with it. I've never been a huge fan of the story, but really enjoyed Hammer's handling of the material.

    I think I liked this one a little more than I, MONSTER mainly for the approach to the material.

  6. Well that's two votes for it, so I will definitely have to give this one a second shot in the coming years! =D