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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941) - Blu-ray Review

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941)

Are there two sides to everyone? One good and simple. The other…bordering on evil perhaps. And does this “evil” side live in all of us just waiting to be unleashed?

While attending church one morning, Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) witnesses a man - once a good, upstanding citizen – turn manic with blasphemy in the middle of the priest’s sermon. The police want to lock the crazy man up, but Dr. Jekyll advises them to take the poor soul to a mental institution. A traumatic event has forced the man’s evil side to take hold of his life. This troubles the famous doctor. He wants to find a permanent solution to get rid of the evil side that has overtaken any and all of those unfortunate souls. However, Jekyll’s notion that everyone has an evil side does not sit well with his aristocratic colleagues. Such talk borders on blasphemy to them. But Jekyll is convinced, and he wants to start doing experiments on humans to test his theory. Other doctors find it unethical, but that won’t stop Jekyll from trying, even if it kills him. He must have an answer, “ethics or no ethics.”

"as challenging and well-executed as it gets"


With this obsession, we already start to see hints of Jekyll’s inner evil – his inner monster. We also see it in interactions with his fiancée Beatrix Emery (Lana Turner). His public displays of affection and playfulness do not fully live up to the approval of Bea’s father, Sir Charles Emery (Donald Crisp). This is 1887, after all. But, in all things, he means well seems like a nice enough fellow with a bright future. But one night, on the way home, he and fellow doctor John Lanyon (Ian Hunter) rescue barmaid Ivy Pearson (Ingrid Bergman) from a forceful fellow who wanted much more than to walk poor Ivy home. Jekyll and Lanyon escort her home, and Jekyll examines Ivy to make sure she isn’t injured, but Jekyll quickly succumbs to the enticing Ivy’s sensual demeanor. 

After this, there is no going back.

Dr. Jekyll quickly gets to work on his experiments with himself as the guinea pig. He concocts a serum that that brings a change not only to his mental state, but his physical looks as well. Mr. Hyde is born! With darker hair, busy eyebrows, a smile that is only frightening rather than disarming, and to top it all off: a grisly, deep voice that sends chills up the spine to whomever he encounters. No doubt, Tracy always impresses as the down-to-earth, respectable business man and husband, but this role, quite literally, shows another side to the legendary actor. He is completely evil, menacing, and perfectly unnerving. So much so that Bergman’s Ivy, who becomes the victim of the evil Hyde’s physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, refers to him as “the devil.” And there is no way to get rid of the devil so easily.Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941)

As Dr. Jekyll, Ivy pays him a visit and the doctor is forced to face all of the terrible truths of what he did to poor Ivy as Mr. Hyde. What he thought was a way to let his evil side have his fun turned out to actually be something worse than he imagined. He vows to Ivy that she will not see Hyde again, but it is not so easy. Even without the serum, one night, he turns into Hyde and commits acts that are unspeakable to those in that time. And in the end, there is only one way to get rid of the devil: kill him. There is no other cure.

With Victor Flemming heading the project, he delivered to us a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that is tough, but also really interesting. The duality of the role and the women who represent the two sides makes for a film that is not solely focused on plot, but rather a great character study, which is something really refreshing for films coming out of this time period. I cannot say much in how it compares to other adaptions of this film, but this one is as challenging and well-executed as it gets. It is well-paced, terrifying, has beautiful cinematography – especially stand-out in the night scenes where the layers of fog absolutely take over the landscape (done by Joseph Ruttenberg) – and it has all of your favorite Hollywood-classic-era actors giving great performances. What else could you has for. Don’t miss out on this REEL CLASSIC as the Warner Brothers Archive Collection as given us a beautiful new high-definition transfer that is the definitive restoration for the picture.

4/5 stars

 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros - Warner Archive Collection.
Available on Blu-ray
- May 17, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Laurence Olivier once observed that he “learned more about acting from watching [Spencer] Tracy than in any other way.” Undertaking the dual title role in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Victorian science-fiction thriller, Tracy justified that compliment by abandoning his characteristic down-to-earth image for the most terrifying portrayal of his career. Also cast against type are Lana Turner as Jekyll’s fiancée and Ingrid Bregman, who plays Hyde’s victimized Cockney mistress. Tracy and director Victor Fleming (Gone with the Wind) decided to break with convention by interpreting Hyde from a Freudian perspective instead of portraying him as the usual physically grotesque monster, and he emerges as a menacing distortion of the sexually frustrated Jekyll. To Tracy fans, this is an amazing piece of virtuosity will come as an unforgettable revelation.

Video

In this new 1080p restoration, everything about it is fantastic. The definition is so superb and sharp that even the dine details are able to be seen with a great clarity. The color contrast gives the shadows a great, deep starkness and the gray scale is balanced expertly. There are only a couple of instances of very small tears in the print, but there is virtually no dirt to be seen. Overall, a stunning transfer!

Audio

In this 2.0 monoaural track, everything is crisp and clear. All sounds are very well-balanced, and three are no signs of any clicks or pops, which is quite impressive considering the age of the print.

Supplements:

With nothing but a trailer to show for the supplements, special features are sadly, a big bust.

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
113 mins
Director
: Victor Fleming
Writer:
John Lee Mahin
Cast:
Spencer Tracy; Ingrid Bergman; Lana Turner
Genre
: Horror | Drama
Tagline:
A Good Woman! A Bad Woman - who needed the love of both!
Memorable Movie Quote: "With purity in our hearts, with right thinking in our minds, we arm ourselves with intolerance of all evil."
Theatrical Distributor:
MGM
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 1941
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Ma7 17, 2022.
Synopsis: Gentle Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) experiments with human nature, believing that each person has both good and evil sides that can be brought forth chemically. Jekyll tests a serum on himself, releasing his vicious alter ego, Mr. Hyde, on 19th-century London. Prowling the town, Hyde ventures to a music hall and encounters Ivy (Ingrid Bergman), whom he takes forcibly as his mistress. When the serum's effects wear off, Jekyll vows never to take it again. But Hyde is not gone for good

Art

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Warner Brothers Archive Collection (1941)

 

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