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Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Versions 1932 & 1941) (Std Sub) [Import USA Zone 1]
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Un giorno passeggiando con un amico, l'avvocato Utterson si sente raccontare un episodio che ha per protagonista un malvagio individuo di nome Edward Hyde. La cosa che inquieta di più l'avvocato è che, a quanto pare, Hyde ha la fiducia e la protezione del suo amico Henry Jekyll, medico conosciutissimo nonché di bell'aspetto. Non capendo cosa possa avere in comune Jekyll con una persona brutta e brutale come Hyde e sospettando che Hyde lo tenga in pugno con il ricatto, Utterson decide di indagare personalmente a fondo in quella faccenda... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition DVD.
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The special effects in the older version are also superior, and there is lyrical Freudian symbolism in the sets, statues, paintings, etc, that really adds to the drama and continually reminds us of Mamoulian's power as a visual director. The newer version attempts some symbolism (for example, the two whipped horses transform into the two leading ladies) but its symbolism is so heavy handed that it makes the earlier film seem profoundly subtle by comparison.
Even the makeup in the older version is superior. In the Tracy version, Mr. Hyde's appearance seems inconsistent from cut to cut within the same scene. And the use of a masked double for Tracy, even in non-stunt scenes in the London fog, is painfully obvious. You don't even need to pause the DVD to see it.
The earlier version is so technically dazzling, it's hard to believe it was filmed only a couple of years after the silent Lon Chaney classic, Phantom of the Opera. I've never seen an early 30's film that looked so crisp and sounded so good. And no review of this version should leave out the excellent and sexy performance of Miriam Hopkins. She's convincing as a love-starved hooker and even more convincing as the terrified victim of a depraved client. In many ways, her performance seems less theatrical, and therefore more contemporary, than March's.
The Greg Mank commentary on the 1932 version is entertaining and informative, in a gossipy as well as scholarly style. Through his commentary, you find out things about the film and crew that really do add to your insight and enjoyment of the film. There is no commentary on the 1941 version, but Mank does disciss it a little (in too forgiving a way, I think) near the close of the 1932 version. Overall, I think this is a great collector's DVD, and will be one of the most treasured in my collection.
Frea ks (1932) was misunderstood at the time of its release, but is now highly regarded as a horror classic. Director Tod Browning really had a vacuum to fill after Lon Chaney's death ended their successful partnership. This film is an example of his finest work post-Chaney. It is about Hans, a little person in a circus attracted to a beautiful but evil woman who marries Hans for his money and plans to murder him. When the other circus "frea ks" find out about Hans' bride's plans, they extract a cruel but fitting revenge. This film is available in a more deluxe edition that includes commentary. Audiences were troubled by this one when it came out because people with actual disabilities were used rather than actors and actresses in makeup.
The Haunting (1963) is more effective in this version than in the 1999 version with all of the special effects. You actually never see anything in this film - you just hear the sounds and experience the horror of Julie Harris' character as she stays in a haunted house along with a group of people as part of an experiment framed by a psychiatrist. This is currently available separately as The Haunting
House of Wax (1953) is a remake of a precode version of this same film made in 1933. This 1950's version has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to the precode version. The 1950's version has the advantage of Vincent Price as the mad sculptor and a very young Charles Bronson as his brutish assistant. However, the 1930's version had Glenda Farrell as the brassy newspaper woman trying to solve the case of a bunch of disappearances with Fay Wray as the damsel in distress that the mad doctor has his eye upon. The 1950's version has the damsel in distress as the female lead, with no equivalent to Glenda Farrell in sight. You can compare the two yourself by purchasing House of Wax, which is a double feature including both versions of the film. The color on the 1953 version of this film was very "runny" on the original DVD. Let's hope it's been cleaned up some.
If you're really curious about Warner Horror and can stand to spend just a little bit more, I highly suggest Hollywood's Legends of Horror Collection (Doctor X / The Return of Doctor X / Mad Love / The Devil Doll / Mark of the Vampire / The Mask of Fu Manchu). Most of the films have commentary in that collection.
Fredric March has the great distinction of being the only actor to win an academy award for best actor for a performanc ein a horror film.
I find this film a real viewing experience, from the superb cast ..Miriam Hopkins yet again proving what a truly wonderful actress she was especially in the scenes when she is literally a prisoner of Hyde's, through to the superb sets and period atmosphere. Although filmed entirely in Hollwood the film reeks with Victorian London atmosphere, from the costumns to the gas lamps, fog etc. I love the film for its look alone but the whole tragic story is brought vividly to life in March's towering potrayal of the dedicated Doctor who interfers in the creation of life. For the time the transformation scenes when he turns into Mr. Hyde are truly remarkable and the look and manner of My Hyde is very scary and quite confronting. March's version is far superior to the Spencer tracey version, fine film that that is as well. March's Hyde has a far more vicious, almost animal quality to it and his physical appearance is much more dramatci as well.
Knowing what a refined actor Fredric March was, his performance as Hyde is incredible and its a very energetic performance as well.
I couldn't fault this fine production, superb in every department. One of the best horror films ever created and with a knockout performance by one of Hollywood's greatest actors Fredric March. Watch this late at night with the curtains pulled shut for extra effect!!
Frankly, I got more out of this version of "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" than any other version I'd seen. I confess that I never read the book but I think I got the purpose of Robert Louis Steveson's novel. Dr. Jekyll is focussed on the idealistic theory that, if we could but chemically seperate the good nature of man from his evil one, the society that would emerge would truly be heaven on Earth. What we discover, along with Dr. Jekyll, is that man speaks of the greatness within but succumbs to the earthly obsessions. The scene in which Jekyll is tempted by a loose woman (played quite ably by Miriam Hopkins) is quite provacative for 1931. In being that provacative, Mamoulian captures our essence as well as Jekyll's and we spend the rest of the movie torn between sympathizing with and rebelling against the good Dr.'s negative transformations.
What kept this movie, for me, a notch below greatness, was the physical makeup of Mr. Hyde. He was certainly hideous in appearance but his hair looked like some sort of bad joke. If it was meant to convey the image of an ape, it succeeded. However, the director had already reached us on a more personal level so I felt that the ape-like crown of Hyde's was contradictory to the message; we have our ugly side but it is still human in nature. Perhaps a minor point but it distracted me every time Hyde emerged.
This movie was truly ahead of its' time. It didn't scare me but it did make me think about a number of things.