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Poster for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Director: Rouben Mamoulian Run Time: 98 min. Format: Digital Rating: NR Release Year: 1931

Starring: Frederic March, Holmes Herbert, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart

The two-faced nature of man transforms a scientist into a beast in Rouben Mamoulian’s DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.

It’s not the first or only cinematic re-telling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but this 1931 film by Rouben Mamoulian is most certainly the meanest. It’s Pre-Code which means that all of Mr. Hyde’s brutality and all of the film’s sexual overtones can play out on screen in a suggestively shocking manner. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde blends scientific methods and philosophical theories by tapping into the idea that inside everyman is a latent animal. So we see a respectable, mannered young doctor, Dr. Jekyll, obsessed with accessing his true inner self by drinking a potion and then turning into Mr. Hyde, a cruel, hairy beast. Ultimately, his messing with nature causes him to come undone and unable to control himself in all manners of being.

Part of Nitehawk’s October SCIENCE! midnite and brunch series.