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

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Paul Massie in Edward Hyde mode
THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (1960). Director: Terence Fisher.

"That's what your kind of woman wants from a man -- complete and utter freedom from shame!"

In this excellent variation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Dr. Jekyll (Paul Massie) in 1874 London, seeking to isolate man's evil nature, takes a formula that transforms him into a man who is younger and handsomer [and sans beard] instead of the usual ugly Mr. Hyde. This, of course, only makes him more dangerous. Wolf Mankowitz' screenplay adds a love triangle consisting of Jekyll, his wife Kitty (Dawn Addams), and his friend and her lover Paul (Christopher Lee); this turns into a quadrangle when handsome Hyde enters the picture and tries to romance his own, unsuspecting wife. This very classy horror film is possibly the best film put out by Hammer studios and boasts one of Terence Fisher's very best directorial jobs. Massie is simply superb as the two sides of the hero, with excellent support from pretty Addams and the highly-striking Chris Lee. Fine romantic score by David Heneker and Monty Norman.One wishes the characterizations were a bit more finely-tuned but the actors make them come alive in spite of it. The under-rated Fisher also directed a very good version of The Hound of the Baskervilles and many other movies.

Verdict: Absorbing -- and done with fine acting and great flair. ***1/2.


CavedogRob said...

Thanks for remembering this interesting flick. It usually gets passed over these days!

William said...

Yeah, "Two Faces" is usually ignored in favor of all of Hammer's Dracula and Frankenstein movies, Glad you liked the post.

I like your blog, Movie Meltdown, and will add it to my blog roll. I used to watch the Bowery Boys religiously.

And thanks for your comments! Bill

CavedogRob said...

Thanks! There's a lot of good stuff in your blog!

William said...

Many thanks!