Saturday, 24 July 2010

Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from then to now.

and it was as an ordinary secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation

My relationship with the story of doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not bound in unconditional love, it's bound in unconditional fascination that have captured me in its net and have evolved to down right obsession which demands me to see everything that have to do with the franchise, and boy do I have my work cut out for me, I have seen so much doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and there keeps being more. both stuff that is long time lost and really difficult to dig up, or just pops up out of nowhere and there keeps being made more all over. how sweet is that!?
or not sweet, because if there is something most Jekyll and Hyde interpretations does, it's sucking. There are enormous amounts of suck in the history of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde interpretations, in fact only one tenth seems to be any good, luckily when it does work it is extraordinary good, sexy, dirty and so extremely fascinating. The movies I am going to pick out are the ones I personally find to be any good, which is probably also the most well known films anyhow. but let's have a look shall we.
Jekyll and Hyde is about the good man and honorable doctor, Doctor Jekyll who finds away to separate his bad side from the good by taking a drug, and then turns into a whole other person "Mr. Hyde" who ad the beginning is nothing but Jekyll's lustful side and just acts as a stupid bully, until it all eventually gets out of hand as Hyde gets out of controls and literately kills people, while Jekyll can do nothing about as he is now turning into Hyde without the drugs, and it all goes up in a point.

This book sucks, never in my life have I been more disappointed as when I read the original Jekyll and Hyde book or "the Strange case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" as the actual title is, as a fifteen year old. okay, the book is okay I guess, but it is just not what you would expect from this tale. Exactly like the original books of "the Scarlet Pimpernel," and "The Phantom of the opera" the novel is written as bloody mystery novel where we see everything from the point of view of the lawyer mr Utterson who tries to find the connection between doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, not before the very last page is it revealed that they are actually the same person, and so the book never ever deals why the Psychological aspect, nor the characters made journey from point a to be, boring boring disappointing book, and it saddens me. Robert Lewis Stevenson who wrote the book also wrote stuff as "treasure island" which is in fact a very good book. thank god for the adaptations, lest have a look at those.

Okay this might come as a surprise to you, as I guess no one is aware of its existence, it haven't even been released on DVD, but my experience regarding this movie is so unique and kind of awesome that it needs telling. "Den Skæbnesvangre opfindelse" or just English titled "Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a 22 minute long silent movie from 1910. it's probably the first movie adaptation ever made of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and it's Danish... hey I am Danish!? the fuck O.O
I so marveled when I found out about this, as I said earlier the movie haven't even been released on DVD anywhere, but the raw print still exists in the archives of the Danish movie institutes as a national piece of treasure, and I actually called the instituted and asked if there is somehow I way I could watch it? They were surprisingly happy that I seemed this interested and invited me over for a private screening, which I attended to, and I went to their private cinema in Copenhagen and watched the movie. So I am probably one out of around a hundred people to have even seen this movie. haha awesome story, beat that James Rolf.. the film is okay, it's what you would expect from such an early silent movie and the print was in a really bad shape, it's interesting how they at that early stage managed to shoot a scene where Jekyll and Hyde was in the same room, though actually being played by the same actor, in 1910 guys! I have bloody no idea, but extremely inventive for its time.
the experience was absolutely awesome, and the hunt was on to be the most knowledgeable Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fan in the world.. though my travels may be far from over.

The American silent hour long "Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" movie from 1920 is probably the silent version most people are familiar with. And it's also put legally up for free on several internet sites including youtube, plus have been released on DVD in numerous times.
Like all the classic silent movies I need to give my usual rant that you need to go and buy a prober version of this with a prober soundtrack if you are ever going to see it, don't see the free youtube version or any free internet versions. just find one with a good well balanced soundtrack, the experience will be completely different.
And with the right soundtrack, it's an awesome movie. So creepy and so dream like, like a nightmare.
There is no other Hyde who looks like this one, he is sort of indescribable, but he looks great, really creepy and scary and I can even trace and evolution throughout the movie that Hyde looks worse and worse every time he appears, he kind of goes bold actually.
One pretty cool transformation scene Jekyll is just laying in his bed sleeping, and a ginourmus spider crawls up in the bed and immerges with him as he transforms into Hyde, and that is probably the best way to describe this Hyde, he looks like a human spider. no really, he does. and very inhuman, which is great. absolutely a movie worth checking out.

The 1931 is differently my favorite version that tries and stay as true as possible to the book. this movie is really incredible awesome.
It's dark, edgy, sexy and does not compromise but carries out it's dark themes perfectly, plus it's entertaining.
Frederich March delivers a superb performance as both Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Jekyll as the young ideal doctor, but not mr goodie perfect as he is rather brash and is put down by his own class who tells he what he can't do, which is really the issue he wants to deal with. And Hyde unleashed which is a bundle of energy, he looks and moves like a freaking monkey, not ever trying to maintain any kind of dignity as he is just raging through the world doing whatever the hell he likes. that is bloody awesome.
As Hyde becomes a growing menace and eventually rapist and downright murderer Jekyll sinks deeper and deeper into hysteric and panic. this movie have no shame but at the same time maintains a sense of class. it is freaking great.
In 1941 the movie was remade with Spencer Tracy in the title role, and I mean that literately as dialogue, sets pieces and plot is exactly the same. only not nearly as daring, sexy. in other words, really boring and not worth checking out when you got the other much cooler version, which even predates it by ten years, sloppy work people, real sloppy.

The British horror company horror productions actually managed to make three different Jekyll and Hyde adaptations, all really unique and stands on their own. one is, "The two Faces of Doctor Jekyll " "Doctor Jekyll and sister Hyde" (no really, it is "sister" he turns into a blood thirsty woman, and no, it's not a comedy either but goes straight for dark horror feast) and "I'Monster"
My personal favorite of does are "I'monster" which I find to be a real good credible Jekyll and Hyde adaptation, in any case Christopher lee in the main character, you can't go all wrong. plus it follows the idea I have of doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde most closely, and have lots of unashamed horror.
"The two faces of Doctor Jekyll " is just such a weird movie, if not for anything else it is absolutely creative written and doesn't quite end as all other adaptations, plus handling the Jekyll and Hyde persona quite different then I have seen other places.
"Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde" is equally weird to watch, mostly because I keep expecting some kind of lame pun regarding Jekyll turning into a woman, but it never ever comes. Hyde just goes on a murderous rampage as in any other Jekyll and Hyde movie as Jekyll realizes how dangerous she is and decides to kill her.
one thing that is plainly obvious in this movie though, that kind of really bothers me regarding female villains is that they are never any fun. Hyde as a character is often really grotesquely funny as he is a rampage and a savage beast all in himself, but women are never allowed to act that way, for some reason women monsters must have beautiful grace and dignity, which was pretty cool the first couple of terms where it was in sharp contrast to their murderous actions, but now it's just boring, I see a woman villain and I now precisely what she is going to give, zero surprises there. and Mrs. Hyde is no different.

"Mary Reilly" from 1996 (get the anagram, Mary Reilley, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, anyway). I did not think I would like this movie, after all, it does not take the approach you would usually take for a Jekyll and Hyde movie, but we see everything from the perspective of his servant girl. that's right, Mary Reilley. it is a classic tale of Jekyll and Hyde, only we see all from her point of view as the plot develops. it's a surprisingly good and moody film, it actually manages to deal with the psychological of Jekyll and Hyde as a character, even though we don't spend to much time with them. the growing unsuddenty in the household leaves a mark at the viewer and a sense of claustrophobic helplessness is ever growing as the household is seeing their master slowly growing more and more insane as the manically Hyde appears more and more to terrorize them. The movie does not hide that they are the same person, and it seems like the staff all kind of suspects it, especially Mary, only they don't want to believe it, and so the truth is tearing them slowly down inside of their own mind. a really unique and special movie, but well worth checking out.

the 1997 musical.. I know I know, musicals. I'm sorry, but I just need to.
I have seen this musical three times in three different productions, plus the recorded version with David Hasselhoff.. and they were all tremendlessly different! It's four completely different musicals, even using very different music despite them all kind of being the same score and says its "Frank Wildhorn's" the man have just written so many alternative versions of it, so how the hell am I supposed to talk about this? I don't know, but I tell you something, and that is that I love this musical, again its one of the things I want to really make into a good movie. I own three different soundtracks and I listen to them and I see precisely how I want to make it. The score is great and the song is changing between being brutal and cruel to beautiful that again contrasts the savage murderous things that is going on. Frank Wildhorn the creator of the musical also wrote the Scarlet Pimpernel musical, which I just plainly love. so he is in my mind a very capable and good author and composer. songs like "This is the moment" and "Someone like you" are actually considered huge classics as standalone songs between classical singers, and even if the musical doesn't life on, does songs absolutely will.

in 2007 a six part British television series simply called Jekyll come out, written by Steven Moffat the current head writer of doctor who it's a modern interpretation of the classic stories. actually it only uses the idea of a man turning into a savage beast and uses the tale of Jekyll and Mr. Hyde more as a back grounds story than anything else, actually even the back ground story reminds me more of "Mary Reilley" than anything else related to doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the real story takes place in present day and is more of a psychological thriller with some hardcore action in it to.
Now, they are a lot of divided opinions about this, some people seems to hate it as they find it to complicated. I personally plainly love this!
It was such a treat for me as all modern interpretations of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I have seen so far other than this sucks. and this is just such an exciting hardcore disturbing thriller which is not afraid of really digging down and going deep in the psychological exploration of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and his two personalities, on the same time as being a adrenalin pumped ride Die heart still. Hyde as a character is a total show stealer and is as disturbing yet fascinating as any Hyde character I have ever seen, despite he doesn't have disturbing make, he simply doesn't need to as he is disturbing enough as it is, you just don't know where you have him, and keeps expecting him to do something truly horrible. he truly is a psychopath or largest degree.

Well, this must be this for new. as I said, new adaptation keeps popping up everywhere, right now I have two whole major adaptations to look forward to, one is set to be released in 2011 with Keanue reeves in the title character. I don't care much for him, I think he have the emotional equeliant of cardboard, but maybe we actually will see him being released in a mad rampage as Hyde! I would love to see that! I don't think I have ever seen Keanue reeves being unleashed in any emotional way, at all. neither in the Matrix movies.
The other one is that freaking Guillermo del Toro is going to make his version of the story.
I love Del Toro as a director, I love his art directing and his heavy emotional style, Pans Labyrinth is easely one of the most disturbing fantasy films I have ever seen. and Guillermo Del Toro and Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde seems like a match made in heaven for me, my heart is singing clear and loudly and I am crying tears of joy.

So, that is probably how it will keep on going with Jekyll and Hyde, lots and lots of crappy adaptation with great shinning lights in between. I would not want it in any other way.

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