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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

4.3 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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$5.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield. One of the first great American horror films, this adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale is still considered the definitive version. Silent with original music score. 1920/b&w/96 min/NR/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: John Barrymore, Malcolm J. Dunn, Brandon Hurst, Sheldon Lewis, Martha Mansfield
  • Directors: John S. Robertson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 2002
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006II5D
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,624 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
One of the great classics of silent films. The Kino edition has better overall picture quality and more special features, but is missing over 5 minutes of footage that is on the Image edition. This footage is missing from here and there during the film. I have both editions and have to prefer the Image disc since it is more complete with only a little less quality. Completeness and originality should always be the major factor. The Kino disc features an orchestral score and the Image disc features an organ score.
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Format: DVD
Robert Louis Stevenson cranked out finely plotted, freshly original stories like clockwork. He was the Stephen King of his time and, like King, excelled at horror. John Barrymore was perhaps the most famous stage performer of his time. Known more today as Drew's grandfather and at the end of his short life, a sad alcoholic reflection of his former charisma. In this terrific 1920 version of "DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE," Barrymore's early brilliance is showcased in this first great American horror film that holds its own in the 21st century. In fact, it even has an enhanced, eerie period feel that amps up the dangerous and ill-fated experiment by the curios doctor who discoverz the shadow side of civilization and self. The Mont Alto Orchestra delivers a fine score and the DVD bonus material features a rare 1909 audio recording of the transformation scene, a 1925 one-reel parody starring a goofy Stan Laurel, an excerpt from a rival 1920 version and more.
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Format: DVD
Directed by John S. Robertson and starring matinee idol John Barrymore in the dual title role, 1920's DR. JECKYLL & MR. HYDE is sometimes described as the "first American horror film." That description is more than a little problematic, but whether it was or it wasn't, DR. JECKYLL AND MR. HYDE certainly put the horror genre on the Hollywood map.

Whether or not you happen to like this particular version of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson tale will depend a great deal upon your tolerance for the change in acting styles that has occurred between the silent and the modern era. Some silent stars--Lillian Gish, Ramon Novarro, and Louise Brooks leap to mind--were remarkably subtle and worked to create a new style of acting appropriate to the screen, but most actors played very broadly. John Barrymore, considered one of the greatest actors of his day, is among the latter, and was noted for his larger-than-life performances on stage. He brings that same expansiveness to the screen, where it inevitably feels "too big" to the modern viewer.

At the time, Barrymore's transformation into the evil Mr. Hyde was considered shocking in its realism, but today these celebrated scenes are more likely to induce snickers than thrills--as will much of Hyde's make-up, which seems excessive to the modern sensibility. Even so, there are aspects of the film which survive quite well, scenes in which one is permitted a glimpse into the power this film once had. For Barrymore's Hyde is, for all his bizarre ugliness, a remarkably seductive creature--and Barrymore uses his hands and eyes in a remarkable way. One feels the sexual pull as much as one feels the revulsion.

The 1920 DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE is available in several VHS and DVD releases.
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Format: DVD
1920 saw two further film versions of Jekyll & Hyde that could not have contrasted more; one polished, thoughtful and kept in period setting; the other a cheap, rushed derivative set in modern America to save money on sets and costumes. The economy class quickie was produced by Louis B. Mayer and featured Sheldon Lewis, best known as the Clutching Hand in many a movie serial such as The Perils of Pauline (1915). Sheldon's Hyde was described in the film's sub titles as "An Apostle of Hell" who begins his life of debauchery by snatching a passing lady's purse. Hyde's dastardly doings do get a little more ambitious, eventually earning him a date with the electric chair. But, as he fries, the trusty Thank-God-it-was-a-Dream cop out kicks in and Jekyll wakes up declaring "I believe in God! I have a soul..." The film closes with Jekyll safely escorting his fiancee to the opera

The audiences of 1920 could only be thankful for Paramount Pictures and their more seminal adaptation starring John Barrymore as both noble Jekyll and a very spider like Hyde. Screenwriter Clara Beranger expanded the romantic element by doubling Jekyll's sweetheart, Millicent, with a lust interest for Hyde; a sultry Italian temptress called Miss Gina whom Hyde shacks up in a Soho apartment and slowly sucks dry of all vigour - the spider and the fly. This externalisation allowed the sexual themes of the story to come more into the foreground and placed the hero between two woman who present different lures. On the one hand, there is the upper class virgin who is only sexually obtainable through the propriety of marriage. She is mirrored by the the lower class woman of easy virtue who exists in the dark underbelly of society; an area which a man like Jekyll would be seen to eschew, but in which Hyde positively revels.
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Format: DVD
This Kino edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with John Barrymore is the first US horror film. One of his very best. The sets are wonderful and the time period costumes make this a very realistic looking film. This Kino version is by far the best quality print (35mm) and the picture quality is excellent, not dark and sharp and clear. However, this version on Kino seems to be edited. Some scenes seem to stop short before they are finished. Perhaps some of the footage was either missing or was so deteriorated that Kino chose not to include it. I previously owned the Image version of this film, and while the picture quality is no where near the Kino version, I seem to remember that the footage that is missing on the Kino version, is on the Image version. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this. Oh well, considering that this film is over 85 years old, I am happy that a very satisfying version is now available on dvd. Thanks Kino, for a job very well done. I also appreciate the bonus materials at the end of the film. In particular the 1909 audio recording of the transformation of Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Also the Stan Laurel spoof is nice (but not particularly funny). This is a must dvd for any collection, silent or sound.
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