Release Date: November 1st, 1971 (Sweden)
Directed by: Stephen Weeks
Written by: Milton Subotsky
Based on: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Music by: Carl Davis
Cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall, George Merritt, Kenneth J. Warren, Susan Jameson
Amicus Productions, British Lion Film Corporation, 75 Minutes, 81 Minutes (extended cut)
“The face of evil is ugly to look upon. And as the pleasures increase, the face becomes uglier.” – Dr. Charles Marlowe
Being that I like Jekyll & Hyde stories, Amicus Productions, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, I definitely thought I’d love the hell out of this film. Sadly, it was a bit underwhelming and kind of slow for only being a seventy-five minute movie.
Still, I do like the performances of horror icons Lee and Cushing and they really committed to the roles, as they always do.
Something about this production just seemed off and like it was all sloppily slapped together with the studio and director assuming it’d all just work because it had two great stars and utilized beloved source material.
This isn’t terrible but it’s a heck of a lost worse than it should have been.
I guess, on paper, I can see why they seemed to just dial it in from a production standpoint but the great Hammer films with Lee and Cushing still had to be solid from top-to-bottom at every level of the production.
Sure, these movies tend to look and feel cheap but even then, you still get so wrapped up in the magic that you don’t care and you believe what you see on the screen. This picture just lacked that magic.
I’m not sure why but it’s devoid of energy outside of a few good moments where Lee is experimenting on himself or raging as the movie’s monster.
I wouldn’t call this a waste of time, though. It’s still got moments to enjoy if you’re a fan of the two leads but they’ve been a part of much better productions and there are certainly better Jekyll & Hyde adaptations out there.
Pairs well with: other Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde film adaptations, as well as other movies starring both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.