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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

In Rouben Mamoulian's spine-tingling Pre-Code horror film from Paramount Pictures - it was the first sound version of the story, adapted from Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 Gothic literary novella "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." It was a story of transformative identity into bestiality and sexual deviancy.

It told about a kind but fatally-curious medical doctor named Dr. Henry Jekyll (Fredric March) (pronounced "Jee-kall") who adventured into the unknown by self-testing an experimental serum formula that released the uninhibited, subconscious evil in his soul, and caused him to develop a monstrous split personality, as Mr. Hyde.

The heavily-censored film featured themes of sexual abuse, man's dual nature, and repression. Subsequent reissues of the film in 1938 were heavily edited and cut, and the most controversial scenes were shot with different versions (some longer and in different states of undress).

Fredric March won the Best Actor Oscar (the first Oscar-winning horror performance) for his dual, split personality role as a respected doctor and as a fiendish mad-man; the film had ground-breaking transformative special effects as March changed from Jekyll into Hyde; the film was also remade by MGM as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), starring Spencer Tracy opposite Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner, and another familiar adaptation was Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor (1963):

  • in the film's long, subjective opening sequence (filmed from the protagonist's POV) set in the late 18th century, Victorian London physician Dr. Henry ("Harry") M. Jekyll (Fredric March) traveled in a horse-drawn carriage to an afternoon 3 pm university lecture at St. Simons; there in a packed auditorium with raised seating, he was highly-anticipated as "sensational - always indulging in spectacular theories" before he began to speak before a group of eager scientists and students
Dr. Jekyll's Lecture About the Two Natures in Man in a Packed University Auditorium

  • his talk began with a comparison between the London fog and people's clouded minds: ("London is so full of fog that it has penetrated our minds, set boundaries for our vision"); he challenged everyone to examine the two natures of man in the human soul or psyche: ("My analysis of this soul, the human psyche, Ieads me to believe that man is not truly one but truly two")
  • he described the two different souls or sides: (1) the good or noble, and (2) the impulsive, animalistic, or bad; he posited the notion that the two sides eternally struggled against each other, and if it was possible to separate, release, or 'unchain' them, it would liberate and free the good in us: ("Now, if these two selves could be separated from each other, how much freer the good in us would be. What heights it might scale. And the so-called evil, once liberated, would fulfill itself and trouble us no more")
  • Dr. Jekyll mentioned how he was experimenting in his laboratory with chemicals to accomplish the splitting of the two sides; his goal was to split the evil part off from the good, and then annihilate it; after the lecture was finished, various students dismissively commented with skepticism on the subject matter of Jekyll's talk; Jekyll told a friend of his: "It's the things one can't do that always tempt me"
  • afterwards while visiting indigent charity patients in the "Free Ward" of a nearby hospital, Dr. Jekyll believed he had demonstrated the power of the mind when he convinced a crippled girl to successfully walk without her crutches; he was also determined to operate on an elderly patient to cure her, ignoring how he would then be late to an important dinner engagement
  • Jekyll was romantically involved with his spoiled, wealthy fiancee Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart); after arriving at her house later that evening after he had missed dinner with her family, he told her in the garden that he wished to be married to her as soon as possible; he described his deep love for her that had superceded his work: "I love you so much that I could laugh and sing and...You've opened a gate for me into another world. Before that, my work was everything. I was drawn to the mysteries of science, to the unknown. But now, the unknown wears your face, Iooks back at me with your eyes"; the camera kept moving closer and closer to the two lovers - and ultimately focused on an alternating close-up of their eyes
Declarations of Love in the Garden Between Dr. Jekyll and His Fiancee Muriel
  • Jekyll was so in love with Muriel that he wanted to marry her immediately, but Muriel's stubborn father Brigadier-General Sir Danvers Carew (Halliwell Hobbes) refused permission to have their marriage eight months earlier than currently planned, and insisted that they keep their marriage date that matched his own anniversary
  • while leaving that evening with his upright colleague Dr. John Lanyon (Holmes Herbert), Jekyll was angry and called Carew an "old walrus"; Lanyon criticized Jekyll for not being patient and also for his "absurd" experiments: ("There are bounds beyond which one should not go"), but Jekyll responded: "You have no interest in science at all. You have no dreams, no curiosities"
  • the two men were interrupted by a disturbance down the street - a "big brute" was seen advancing on and striking a vulnerable female - a promiscuous, slutty Cockney named "Champagne" Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins) wearing a low-cut blouse; Dr. Jekyll rescued the woman from one of her brutal 'callers' and carried her up to her second floor room
  • Dr. Jekyll placed her on her bed, and insisted on a medical inspection of her bruised knee; after she pulled up her dress to expose her legs he told her suggestively: "By the way, you musn't wear so tight a garter. It's bad for you. It impedes the circulation"; she smiled at him and complimented him: ("Anybody can see now that you're a real gent, you are. Now you're the kind a woman would do something for")
  • the tempting prostitute then insisted that he check out her injured ribs, and prepared to undress to rest in her bed; she flirtatiously asked him to "turn your eyes away now." Facing the camera, she hiked up her dress, removed her shoe, stocking and garter from each leg, flung both garters at his feet and giggled
  • she then reclined back on her bed totally nude, covering herself with her bedspread and bedsheets; when he came over to her and asked: "How is the pain now?", she quickly embraced and kissed him
  • the two were interrupted by the appearance of Jekyll's colleague Lanyon barging in at the door who was appalled at Jekyll's behavior; Jekyll told Ivy as he was leaving: "I'm a doctor, you know, and I'll call that kiss your fee." As he exited, Ivy seductively and rhythmically swung her leg back and forth next to the bed (with her garter and bare leg seen in closeup) -- to further entice Dr. Jekyll, she entreated and invited him with whispered words to return quickly: "Come back soon, won't you?....Oh yes you can. Soon...Come back"
  • as he left, a superimposed overlay or dissolve transition of her swinging leg was seen over his descent of the stairs, as her entreaties were again repeated (in a whisper)
  • Dr. Jekyll was scolded by Lanyon to control his impulses: ("You ought to control those instincts"); he also reminded Jekyll of the fact that he was engaged to the virtuous Muriel Carew; the unapologetic Jekyll explained how he was only expressing his impulses within his "indecent self" - and how sex-starved he was: "Can a man dying of thirst forget water? Do you know what would happen to that thirst if it were denied water?" Jekyll repeated his "mad" theory of separating the two selves or natures in the human soul, in order to be cleansed of his evil persona
  • for days, Dr. Jekyll worked in his experimental basement laboratory (with bubbling vials, glass beakers, tubes, etc.) mixing chemicals, while foregoing meals and sleep as noted by his butler Poole (Edgar Norton); he locked his lab door, wrote a hasty "If I the name of science" note to Muriel, and then drank the potion in front of a mirror
  • during the film's first transformation scene (filmed in one-take) of Dr. Jekyll, he almost instantly grabbed at his throat as he was amazingly changed into the frightening Mr. Hyde - a bullying, jagged-toothed, beastly, hairy, sexually libidinous, Neanderthal-like, bedeviled creature; the laboratory room began to dizzingly spin around him, as he experienced brief flashback glimpses of bits of dialogue in recent events ("Marry me now...Your conduct was disgusting...Can a man dying of thirst forget water?...Come back soon, won't you?")
Dr. Jekyll's First Transformation Into Mr. Edward Hyde:
"Free - free at last!"
  • Jekyll (as Edward Hyde) grotesquely exclaimed in front of a mirror: "Free - free at last"; he boasted to his adversaries: "Mad, Lanyon? Carew? You hypocrites, deniers of life. If you could see me now,what would you think?" and then gave a maniacal laugh; his butler Poole worried if everything was alright after hearing strange voices, and Jekyll was forced to quickly prepare another potion to reverse the effects; after transforming back to Dr. Jekyll, he explained how he had been speaking to a friend named Mr. Hyde
  • soon after, Jekyll learned that his fiancee Muriel was leaving the next day with her father to visit Bath; Jekyll again became upset and impatient about having to wait to marry Muriel, but she assured him: "I'll try to change his mind while we're away...Do be patient, just a little while. I'm sure I can persuade him while we're gone"; when she wrote from Bath that she would be there another month, Dr. Jekyll decided to revert back to Mr. Hyde during a second stunning and torturous transformational sequence that included painful grimaces and grunts
  • the amoral, brutish, cackling and mean Mr. Hyde headed out in the darkness and rain for Ivy's apartment in Soho (Diadem Court), where he was told by the disgusted landlady Mrs. Hawkins (Tempe Pigott) that Ivy was working as a barmaid at the Variety Music Hall
  • inside the Music Hall at his table in a second-floor alcove, the bossy Hyde tripped the waiter (who had brought him a bottle of champagne) with his cane after he had complained about the lack of a tip and called him a "blighter"
  • he found her there singing "Champagne Ivy Is My Name," and coercively invited Ivy over for a drink of wine to toast her beauty, but then she was repulsed and shocked by his ugliness and crude approach; he mentioned that he knew where she lived and suggested that she should live in a better place: ("My pretty, you deserve better than that. You ought to live in a place worthy of you...You should have a place that would set off that fine body of yours, yellow hair and pale face"); he hinted that although he was not a gentleman with good looks, he was wealthy and could afford her charms: "How do you think you're going to get it, my bright little birdie? I am no gentleman, no, but I have money. Perhaps my looks don't please you"
  • when another male patron who was also interested in Ivy approached, Mr. Hyde intimidated him with the broken end of his champagne bottle, and then continued to taunt and brutally mishandle Ivy, and force his affections on her, to compel her to go with him back to her place: ("I hurt you because I love you. I want you, and what I want, I get! I grant you, I am no beauty, but under this exterior, you'll find a very flower of man")
  • with an extreme tracking close-up, the camera focused on Hyde's face as he came closer to Ivy's face, while enticingly ordering her to come with him ("You'll come with me") - before the image went out of focus and turned black
  • at Jekyll's home, meanwhile, Dr. Lanyon arrived to speak to Poole about how Jekyll was not answering Muriel's letters from Bath; Poole stated that Jekyll wasn't often home or available for days (he came in and out of the back door of his laboratory), and was not regularly attending to his patients
  • at Ivy's apartment, the boarding house landlady Mrs. Hawkins advised Ivy to stop visiting with Mr. Hyde in her boarding house: ("He's a brute, that's what he is"); presumably, Ivy had no choice and was being coercively abused by him (often raped and beaten); Hyde suddenly appeared and questioned Mrs. Hawkins about why she was there, causing her to scurry off in fear after answering that the rent was due
  • Hyde called Ivy his "little bird," and then also called her a "trull" (prostitute) - to express his self hatred and jealousy ("You hate me, don't you? I'm not good enough for you!") over her affectionate preference for gentlemen such as Dr. Jekyll; she refused to be ordered to tell Hyde that she hated him: ("Tell me that you hate me!"), and cowered as she was forced to scream out to Mr. Hyde that she loved him: ("How you must love me. I want to hear you say it. Say it. Come, my wench. Say it!")
Abusive Mr. Hyde With Ivy In Her Apartment
  • Hyde had just noticed a social item in the newspaper that his fiancee had returned to London from Bath with her father, and knew he couldn't visit with Ivy any more on a regular basis; he threatened her as she shrunk in fear from him, that he would be gone for a few days and might reappear at any time to check up on her: "You don't know when I'll be back.... Remember, you belong to me, do you hear? You belong to me! If you do one thing that I don't approve of while I'm gone, the least little thing, mind you, I'll show you what horror means"
  • to her horror, he explained how he would still be spending the evening with her: ("The last evening is always the sweetest, you know. And what a farewell this one will be. What a farewell! I don't know whether I shall be able to tear myself away from you"); he also forced her to sing her "Champagne Ivy" song and to submit to a kiss before the scene faded to black
  • back in his laboratory as Dr. Jekyll, the saner but guilt-ridden half of his soul considered ridding himself of Mr. Hyde (by tossing away his back door key and sending a note to Ivy, with 50 £ inside), now that Muriel was back in town; meanwhile when she received the funds, Ivy was explaining to Mrs. Hawkins how she was being terrorized and tormented; Ivy was surprised and relieved to receive the money from a doctor named Jekyll
  • with Muriel, Jekyll confessed how his soul had been ill and spirit was suffering, and he was attempting to cure himself; he implored her to help ("I've played with dangerous knowledge. I've walked a strange and terrible road. Help me to find my way back"); the two were finally able to convince her father to allow their marriage in a month's time, and Jekyll was overjoyed
  • shortly later, Ivy visited Dr. Jekyll at his home for consultation, and was surprised to see that he was her kindly benefactor; she returned his gift of money, fearing it would put her at risk; after she bared her back and showed him whip marks inflicted by Hyde, she became hysterical and implored him to help rescue her: "He ain't human, sir. He's a beast. He won't let me go, and I'm afraid to run away. I've tried to drown myself, but I can't! And if you don't help me, you as had the kindest heart in the world, sir, then give me poison so I can kill myself!...You don't know him, sir. He ain't a man. He's a devil. He knows what you're thinkin' about, he does. I'm afraid of him. I'm afraid of him now! If he knows that I've been here today, I don't know what he'll do! It won't be anything human, sir! Oh, save me, save me! Keep him off me! I'll do anything you ask! I'll be your slave. Oh, help me!"; tempted to kiss Ivy, he promised her that Mr. Hyde would never visit her again: ("I give you my word that you will never be troubled with Hyde again"), but she wasn't assured: "He'll come back and kill me, sir!"
  • a dinner was arranged at the Carew's home to formally announce the upcoming wedding; on his way to their home while walking through a park, Jekyll became disturbed after witnessing a cat killing a bird in a tree; it aroused him so much that he began to spontaneously revert back to Mr. Hyde - without the benefit of the potion; now, he felt pleased about the murder of the bird: ("But it is dead!"); he proceeded on to Ivy's place in Soho
In the Park, Jekyll Experienced Another Transformation - Without the Potion
  • once he arrived at Ivy's place, he jealously told her that he knew all about her relationship with Jekyll ("I know everything you do and everything you think!") - and accused her of only desiring Jekyll's love: ("You wanted him to love you, didn't you? I'll give you a lover now. His name is death!"); he then revealed that he and Jekyll were one and the same ("I AM JEKYLL") - before he strangled her in her bedroom; as she dropped to the floor, behind her was a sculpture of Cupid and Psyche
  • after killing her, Hyde was able to escape, but without his back-door lab key, Poole disallowed him from entering the front door of his home; meanwhile, General Carew was infuriated that Dr. Jekyll was absent from the dinner party and forbid his daughter Muriel to ever see or associate with Jekyll again: ("I forbid you to see this man again")
  • now desperate to revert back to Dr. Jekyll, the doctor sent a written note to his colleague Dr. Lanyon, instructing him to gather six phials of chemicals from his lab, take them back home, and give them to a courier (Mr. Hyde); when Hyde arrived at midnight, Dr. Lanyon became suspicious of him and reached for a gun and threatened to shoot him; Hyde decided to take the potion in front of Dr. Lanyon - but first swore him to secrecy: ("What you are about to see is a secret you are sworn not to reveal") and made the shocking transformation back to Dr. Jekyll; he then confessed to a crime: "I'm a murderer, Lanyon. Help me...Don't judge me. Help me. I'm at your mercy", but Lanyon had no sympathy for Jekyll who had rebelliously violated norms and traditions, had damned himself and was powerfully controlled by the monster that he had created: ("You cannot conquer it. lt has conquered you")
  • later back in his own home, Jekyll prayed to God for forgiveness: ("I have trespassed on your domain. I've gone further than man should go")
  • Jekyll arrived at the Carews' home to break his engagement to Muriel - he told her that he had come to set her free, because he was in a living hell, and had damned himself for life: ("I daren't even touch you ever again...I'm beyond help, Muriel! I'm in hell! I-I-I'm in hell. I must give you up!...I have no soul! I'm beyond the pale! I'm one of the living dead!"); his final words were: "I give you up because I love you so. This is my proof. This is my penance. (To the heavens) Do you hear, oh God?!"
  • after departing, he watched as Muriel sobbed, and uncontrollably began to turn back into Mr. Hyde; he reentered the house and threatened to assault Muriel; General Carew came to her rescue with his butler Hobson (G.L. McDonnell), but Hyde caned Muriel's father to death with his walking stick
  • the police (and Lanyon) chased Hyde back to Jekyll's laboratory, where behind his locked lab door, Hyde had hurriedly prepared a reverse potion and reverted back to Jekyll; when the authorities arrived, Dr. Jekyll claimed that Mr. Hyde had already left by the back door; but then, Dr. Lanyon explained how Jekyll and Hyde were one and the same, and accused Jekyll of murder: ("Your man has not escaped. There! There he is! There's your man!"); the stress of the confrontation and betrayal by Lanyon caused one final transformation of Jekyll back into the beastly Mr. Hyde

Jekyll's Final Transformation into Hyde After Lanyon Accused Him of Murder

Hyde's Death - And His Reversion Back to Dr. Jekyll
  • in the film's brief conclusion, a fierce struggle occurred and Hyde was shot and killed by the police when he grabbed a knife; as he died, he reverted from the forbidding Hyde back into Dr. Jekyll

First View of Dr. Jekyll - In a Mirror Reflection in His Home

Dr. Jekyll's Spoiled, Wealthy Fiancee Muriel (Rose Hobart) with Her Stubborn Father
Sir Danvers Carew (Halliwell Hobbes)

Dr. Jekyll's Rescue of Ivy

Dr. Jekyll Aiding Ivy in Her Bedroom

Dr. Jekyll Attending to Ivy's Bruised Knee

Sitting on the Edge of Her Bed, Hiking Up Her Dress, And Tossing Her Garters at Him

Caught Kissing Ivy by Dr. Lanyon

Dr. Jekyll Leaving Seductive Barmaid in Her Bedroom as She Entreated: "Come back soon, won't you?"

Ivy: "Oh yes you can. Soon...Come back!"

Butler Poole (Edgar Norton) Inquiring About Dr. Jekyll's Health

Dr. Jekyll Mixing Chemicals in His Laboratory

Jekyll's 'If I Die" Note to Fiancee Muriel

Jekyll's Second Transformation Into Mr. Hyde

Mr. Hyde at the Variety Music Hall Where Ivy Worked, Demanding A Drink

Jekyll With the Barmaid "Champagne Ivy" at the Music Hall

Hyde to Ivy: "You'll come with me"

Threats: "I'm going to spend the evening here with you"

Forcing Ivy to Sing For Him

Forcing a Kiss From Ivy

Dr. Jekyll Explaining His Sickness of His Soul to Muriel: "I've Walked a Strange and Dangerous Road"

Ivy Displayed Mr. Hyde's Whip Marks on Her Bare Back to Dr. Jekyll

Ivy Begged for Dr. Jekyll's Help to Save Her From the Devil - Mr. Hyde

Jekyll Tempted to Kiss Ivy

Hyde's Strangulation of Ivy: "I AM JEKYLL"

Hyde's Transformation Back To Dr. Jekyll, In Front of Dr. Lanyon

Mr. Hyde - Terrifying and Assaulting Muriel


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