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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL


DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL (1957). Director: Edgar G. Ulmer.

On her 21st birthday Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott) brings her fiance George (John Agar) to meet her guardian Dr. Lomas (Arthur Shields) on the latter's spooky estate. There Lomas tells the woman that she is not only a wealthy heiress, but that her father was the notorious Dr. Jekyll (the film takes place in the early part of the 20th century). The film, via Dr. Lomas, posits the theory that Mr. Hyde was actually a werewolf. Does the tendency for lycanthropy exist in Jekyll's daughter? Soon she's having dreams of attacking young women in the woods, waking up bloodied and dirty only to discover that the maid or somebody else got slaughtered. Daughter of Dr. Jekyll seems to have borrowed its basic premise from She-Wolf of London, but on its own terms it's creepy and atmospheric, bolstered by very good performances from Talbott and Shields, who strikes just the right note as the doctor. Even stalwart John Agar isn't bad and Martha Wentworth is memorable as the housekeeper, Mrs. Merchant. One of the murder scenes, of a sexy blond in her home, is inventively staged.

Verdict: Good, absorbing fun. ***.

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