Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE

Martine Beswick & Ralph Bates
DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE (1971). Director: Roy Ward Baker.

"I take it all back about Dr. Jekyll being impervious to women -- and he is busy tonight!"

This interesting movie starts with Robert Louis Stevenson's story, adds a sex twist, and throws in murderers and grave robbers Burke and Hare, and even the Jack the Ripper killings -- and pretty much muffs it. Dr. Jekyll (Ralph Bates) hopes to discover the secret of immortality, and he thinks he's found it in the glands of females, but when he can't get enough of the ladies' corpses he improvises. In other words, the movie hardly examines the differences between good and evil when Henry Jekyll is pretty much a rotter even before he turns into "Sister" Hyde. Jekyll's formula has him growing breasts and turning into a woman (Martine Beswick) who masquerades as Jekyll's sister. "My brother isn't quite himself of late," she says. A brother and sister (Lewis Fiander; Susan Brodrick) who live downstairs are each intrigued by the siblings on the floor above. Bates and Beswick are fine -- the latter doesn't get nearly enough to do, however -- but while the movie is entertaining, it doesn't fulfill its potential at all. Beswick played a good gal in Thunderball while Bates made a splendid Victor Frankenstein in Horror of Frankenstein (1970). Baker directed everything from A Night to Remember about the Titanic to Bette Davis in The Anniversary.

Verdict: An intriguing disappointment with a great idea. **1/2.

3 comments:

dj Buddy Beaverhausen said...

I saw this in a drive-in, while home from college, in NJ. Loved the premise; solid acting. But it really could have been much better executed.

Usemeplz said...

I've heard about it, but didn't watch yet. Now I'll watch it immediately.

William said...

Thanks for your comments, guys!