Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
Watch it now
as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
as Millicent Carew
as Sir George Carew
as Dr. Richard Lanyon
as John Utterson
as Edward Enfield
as Emcee in Music Hall
News & Interviews for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Critic Reviews for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Stevenson story serves as the premise for an early (1921) appearance by John Barrymore, who plays the transformation scene -- very effectively -- without the aid of trick photography.
One of the first significant American horror movies, and an interesting contrast to the same year's other, more important genre milestone, Germany's 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.'
A wig, hairy prosthetic hands, and a slouched posture were all Barrymore needed to bring Stevenson's defining creation to life, and he did so with gusto.
The split persona at the center of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde hews intriguingly close to the personal foibles of star John Barrymore.
One of three 1920 adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic allegorical chiller, the Paramount Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is remembered primarily for John Barrymore's bravura performance as the title duo.
Audience Reviews for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
John Barrymore stars as the good scientist who develops a potion that unlocks his wicked side in this silent adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. As usual, Jekyll is a bore and Hyde is a blast---here, he looks like a hairy skeleton with a pin-head---and the scenes of Victorian depravity, with Hyde visiting prostitutes and opium dens and abusing the lost souls there for his amusement, are solid pre-Code fun. Holds its own against the talkie versions.
Not the first version and not the best either, if you know the story it's predictable and boring. The characters aren't very interesting, the main actor, Barrymore, is pretty good, but other than that, I didn't care for this version.
silent "dr. jekyll and mr. hyde" is the classic fable upon the irreconcible duality inside humanity, compounded by good and evil, a slight horror showcase for john barrymore to flaunt his daring trial of self-disfiguration, an applaud for the cosmetic department.
the only way to cope with our base nature, which is symbolized as left hand, is to yield to it but concession to evil would mar the immortal purity of soul. so how should we balance it on a even scale without damaging the harmonious perfection? thus virtuously saint-alike scientist dr. jekyll chooses to discriminate his darker self into another monstrous being_mr. hyde. this marvellous transformation is made possible thru his invention of magic potion. there're various metaphors behind this legendary fable about the schizopreniac reality of human nature, the greater repression of morality causes greater frightful seed of evil, also a tale with a doctrine to condemn human's god-trespassing pride by re-incarnating oneself thru the scientic human endevor, "a sacrilege to both god and devil"....
john barrymore's impersonation upon mr. hyde is ground-smashing, considering the phenomenon of cinematic art then, and barrymore had to compulse himself into a certain type of histrionic dramaticity to impress the audience with fierce exaggerations of movements and facial expressions. the seedy mr. hyde resembles the wretched elder witch in midieval dark age, especially when hyde in spider suit creepily crawls over jekyll on bed. that sort of bizarrely expressive method could only exist in the silent age.
as for the cameo of silent vamp actress nita naldi who has the oriental looks of geisha, she emanates enough sensuality with her full-cup bosom, her radiant ebony hair, and also her characteristic gothic features. she's one of the archetyped beauties in the 20s, the vamp type, with all her smoldering exotica and her voluptuous tigress allure, she's almost as oriental as any other authentic oriental beauty, but magnified with her fearless earthy lasciviousness.
Discuss Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on our Movie forum!