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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for the 1932 Version
This is a two-sided DVD that contains two versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. As many other reviewers here have said, the 1932 Frederick March version is far superior to the 1941 Spencer Tracy version. The older version, directed by a 34-year-old Rouben Mamoulian, is a masterpiece and part of movie history. The later version, directed by Gone With the Wind...
Published on February 8, 2004 by Louis Barbarelli

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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is Evil Necessary?
In the horror films of the 30s and 40s, a common thread was often the question of the limits of knowledge. Was there truly an area that man was supposed to not go? The novel DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE and the various filmed versions have each attempted to answer, however imperfectly, that question. The 1941 version with Spencer Tracy as Dr. Jekyll sidesteps this issue,...
Published on July 28, 2002 by Martin Asiner


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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for the 1932 Version, February 8, 2004
By 
Louis Barbarelli (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a two-sided DVD that contains two versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. As many other reviewers here have said, the 1932 Frederick March version is far superior to the 1941 Spencer Tracy version. The older version, directed by a 34-year-old Rouben Mamoulian, is a masterpiece and part of movie history. The later version, directed by Gone With the Wind and Wizard of Oz director Victor Fleming, seems like an uninspired copy of the earlier one. Frederick March understood the role and seemed to revel in it. But, oddly, while he overacts a bit as Jeykyll, he seems totally believable as the monstrous Hyde. Tracy seemed uncomfortable with both personalities, playing Jekyll as too much of a saint and Hyde as too much of a leering sadist. March conveys the personality of Hyde as joyfully enervated by the full release of Jeykll's baser instincts. His Hyde has fun with his own badness. Tracy's just drowns in it.
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.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC VINTAGE HORROR....., November 9, 2003
There's the silent 1920 version with John Barrymore, there's the lamentable 1941 version with Spencer Tracy (and an excellent Ingrid Bergman), and then there's Rouben Mamoulian's classic 1931 version which brought Fredric March an Oscar as Jekyll/Hyde. This, to me, is the best. Not only is March's Hyde a hideous monster but the carnality between Jekyll/Hyde and the Cockney bar wench Champagne Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) is more explicit. This was Pre-Code Hollywood. Rather faithful to Stevenson's story, the film is brilliantly cast and directed. The atmosphere of 1800's London is thick with Victorian attitudes on one end and soaked with sex and sin on the other. It is between these two worlds that Dr. Henry Jekyll finds himself torn after experimenting with mind (and personality) altering drugs that bring out the bestial Mr.Hyde. The transformation scenes are well done for 1931. London's tawdry side of town is where Hyde seeks out the lustful Ivy and takes her forcibly as his mistress. Jekyll had already met her while "slumming" with a friend. Her image stuck with him as her bare garter-clad leg dangled seductively in his mind while her voice purred, "You'll come back, won't you?" But it's Hyde who goes back and dooms the helpless Ivy to a life of hell. In one of the scarier moments, Hyde hisses at the terrified Ivy "I'll show you what horror is!" And proceeds to do so. March deserved the Oscar for his masterful portrayal of the dual personality that is Jekyll/Hyde and Hopkins is perfect as Ivy. Rose Hobart is Jekyll's wealthy fiancee and the rest of the cast is grand. The classic organ score adds the right creepiness and morbid tone for this beautiful b&w melodrama. A welcome addition to DVD and a collector's dream, 1931's "Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde" is a horror classic and not to be missed by afficianados.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd make just one change..., July 4, 2009
This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Horror (House of Wax 1953 / The Haunting 1963 / Freaks / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941) (DVD)
... and that would be the deletion of the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and replacing it with the 1932 version of the same film. The 1932 version was made before the production code went into effect and allowed you to see Mr. Hyde in all his debauchery along with Miriam Hopkins as the girl of the street caught in his grasp. The two are available as a double feature in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Double Feature (1932/1941).

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.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true horror masterpiece, April 17, 2002
By 
Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This film without a doubt is the very best version of the many that have been made of the classic horror story by Robert Louis Stevenson.
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!!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of Its' Time, October 6, 2005
By 
Randy Keehn (Williston, ND United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I watched Fredric March in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" last night and I was impressed by the quality of this 1931 movie. From the opening scene that takes us from the perspective through the eyes of the main character and then transfers us via a mirror to the camera's perspective, I knew there was talent behind this production. There were a number of other noteworthy scenes including some fantastic shadow imagery during a chase scene and the impressive on-screen transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. I looked up the director, Rouben Mamoulian, and discovered that he has some other noteworthy films to his credit. They include "Laura", "Blood and Sand", and "The Mark of Zorro" but I confess, I hadn't heard of him before. In addition to Mamoulian, a lot of credit goes to the Academy Award-winning preformance of Fredric March. He does well playing the dual roles and giving each one its' own seperate characterization.

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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triple-Feature Delight!, July 3, 2005
By 
James Lopez (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of my favorite stories, and this DVD contains two excellent film versions-- three, if one counts the Bugs Bunny Jekyll-Hyde animated short, which is definitely a bonus! The Audio Commentary is also an excellent feature, as it delivers a lot of fascinating information regarding both versions featured on this DVD as well as the John Barrymore version from the 1920's. Now for the main features:

The 1930's version with Fredric March is highly entertaining, and although it certainly fits the mold of a "creature feature," it carries with it an intelligence that distinguishes it from a typical monster flick. Fredric March himself is excellent in the dual role of the saint-like (and eventually tortured) Dr. Jekyll and the initially humorous, but ultimately horrifically sadistic Mr. Hyde. The ape-like Hyde make-up in this film is excellent, especially for its time, but the transformation sequence is even more impressive, as it is done fairly realistically. Also, the film sticks to the basic storyline, and the use of the fiance/dancer dichotomy adds an interesting twist to the "strange case." This is a must-see for all fans of horror movies, especially those who enjoy classic horror films.

The 1940's version of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy is also a highly entertaining and excellent film. There are those who do not consider this a horror film-- I would have to disagree with them completely. Although this film is a rather lush production of the Jekyll/Hyde story, Spencer Tracy's Hyde ends up being rather horrific in his character, all because of an effective portrayal by a more-than-capable actor. He (Tracy) manages to add a more humorous touch to both personalities (Jekyll and Hyde), and his Jekyll seems genuinely exhausted from the numerous misdeeds of his alter ego. As for the Hyde make-up, it is considerably more human-looking than the Fredric March version, but this does not make it any less effective. In keeping with the tradition of the 1930's version, Tracy's Hyde begins as a somewhat more brutish-looking man who bears relatively little resemblance to the actor, but gets increasingly hideous as the film progresses; as his deeds get worse and worse, this Mr. Hyde becomes exactly what he's meant to be: a monster, both in character and appearance. True, Mr. Hyde may not be a typical role for actor Spencer Tracy, but his excellent performance shows that he is far from miscast. Also, this version follows the basic story format as well, which qualifies it as a good adaptation of the original story.

This DVD is an excellent buy, and any purchaser will definitely get more bang for his or her buck!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same discs as individual releases, September 10, 2009
This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Horror (House of Wax 1953 / The Haunting 1963 / Freaks / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941) (DVD)
For those hoping this new package set would contain remastered prints or new material, look elsewhere. These seem to be the exact same content as the previously released individual editions of each film, except rendered on 2 double-sided discs (This means that the 1933 film Mystery in the Wax Museum, which originally appeared on the flip-side of House of Wax, is not found here, even though they forgot to remove reference to the film from the House of Wax menu screen!)

All films are presented in original aspect ratios (meaning only The Haunting is widescreen). Trailers, commentary tracks and supplemental material from the initial releases of The Haunting, House of Wax and Freaks are carried over here.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror classic tale on ultimate double feature DVD..., December 27, 2004
Anyone interested in cinema's depiction of the diabolic dynamic duo of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde would do themselves a favor by purchasing this disc.

To today's generation of movie-goers: FORGET the recent "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and "Van Helsing". Dr. Jekyll was not so confused and Mr. Hyde was not the Sasquatchesque CGI lightshow that these flicks have palmed off to the movie-going public.

The 1931 version may be the ultimate film adaptation of R. L. Stevenson's novella. While liberties were taken with Stevenson's tale, the atmosphere and imagery make up for the differences. (According to the commentary, Stevenson's own niece wrote director Rouben Mamoulian a letter praising the film, regretting only that her uncle was not alive to see the film.) Fredric March well deserved the Academy-Award he won for the duelling egos. It is to March's credit that he does not phone-in the Jekyll performance and save the juice for Hyde. His Dr. Jekyll is a compassionate (and passionate) scientist/philanthropist whose vitality slowly disintegrates as "Mr. Hyde" overtakes him. March goes from a charming, vigorous gentleman to a trembling, tortured soul whose final good-bye to his fiance (Rose Hobart) is heartbreaking to watch. When he does change to Mr. Hyde, March again impresses, as he does not let the troglodytic makeup do the acting for him. His Mr. Hyde is a liberated, uninhibited creature - played from within - whose appetites and desires bring terrifying and tragic results. Both performances are tour-de-forces of nature.

The 1941 film does not fare as well, although it is a respectable version. Spencer Tracy is not in his element, although he performs decently. His Mr. Hyde is actually closer to Stevenson's version (having a raspy voice and displeasing smile.) It would have been interesting to see what Robert Donat - MGM's original choice - would have done with the two characters. While the 1931 film was a compact atmospheric frightfest, the 1941 film is an "Illustrated Classics" movie - sumptuous sets, high production values, and comely leading ladies (Lana Turner and Ingrid Bergman), and is hampered by not being frightening. In spite of this, it is still well-worth seeing. (Trivia note: March himself liked Tracy's performance very much.)

Also on this disc are the hilarious Bugs Bunny short "Hyde and Hare," a commentary to the 1931 film, and the trailer for the 1941 film.

The musical "Jekyll and Hyde" has the tagline - "its such a fine line between a good man and a bad man." The same can be said of cinema. This double sided dvd is on the side of the line of good cinema...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful, economically efficient set from TCM/Warner, November 20, 2010
This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Horror (House of Wax 1953 / The Haunting 1963 / Freaks / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941) (DVD)
Four great movies for the price of about one. Can't beat that. I think most people are familiar with the content here, with the possible exception of Tod Browning's "Freaks", which may be the best of the lot. I do prefer the Frederic March ('32) version of "Hyde", but the '41 Spencer Tracey version has the benefit of getting to enjoy the considerable assets of Lana Turner & Ingrid Bergman. The Haunting is a classic that I seem to watch every year around Halloween w/o it getting "stale". And House of Wax, a classic Vincent Price performance. Its amazing how many people think Price just made horror films, but I've been noticing more & more here lately what a fine dramatic actor he was in non-horror roles, although he usually portrays a villainous character. Now , for all of the people that left 3 or less stars and whined about these movies being already available. Do you really think everybody bought these DVDs when they first came out? I think its pretty clear that the target buyer is the classic movie newcomer and people that couldn't afford to buy the individual movies. You gripe about WB just wanting to make money. Uh, isn't that a priority in running a successful business. Ever hear of capitalism? Four movies at this price is a bargain. I only wish that I didn't already own 3 of the 4 included here.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop and realize what it took to make these films 70 or 80 years ago, December 28, 2010
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This video combo features a Classic, and a Classic that is a remake of the Classic. That having been said, if you can keep your perspective balanced by what it took to make these films that long ago, what you have here are both masterpieces in their own right. If you're too young to know who Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, or Lana Turner are, then you're not going to care about Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins, or Rose Hobart, either. I saw both of these when I was knee-high to a grass hopper, and will never tire of viewing either version. I recommend this to anybody who likes films from yesteryear, and to anybody who wants to see what the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" story is all about. Robert Louis Stevenson published this story in a book back in 1885, and it has been popular ever since, as a great portrayal of human nature. There are of course, many, many versions of this story out on film, but it is my own humble opinion that these versions are the top two, and will stand the tests of time. Try to figure out between these two which version is your favorite. I'm still deciding.
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