Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (DVD)

What Is It?

This is the monster movie classic from 1941. It has a cast of big stars that your kids (and maybe you) will not recognize. The “Father of the Bride” Spencer Tracy plays the good doctor and the monster that haunts Ingrid Bergman & Lana Turner. It was directed by Victor Flemming after his 1939 hits “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With The Wind.” Shot in black and white, this film looks and sounds wonderful on the new “re-release” DVD that also includes the 1930’s version.

How Was It?

This was a good film, but I think I would have been more impressed in 1941. The story was strong and interesting. Unfortunately the pacing of the film is just a bit slow. Mr. Hyde becomes more “monstrous” as the film goes on. Each time he changes, it’s uglier. This is a poetic choice, but at the beginning, it’s hard to understand why Dr. Jekyll’s friends don’t see the amazing resemblance between him and Mr. Hyde.

Is It Good For Kids?

First of all, it is in Black and White. Most kids today have not been exposed to “good” black and white films, so most are turned off by it. Secondly, it is not as fast as most are used to. Finally, the issues are very heady. As “Mr Hyde”, he has weird fantasies that are decidedly adult in there symbolism. Then it is a monster move with murder, ugly creators, and screaming women.

http://www.ScreenIt.com does not have a break down for this film.

How about Spiritual Issues?

This is one of the most exciting parts of the film. The film starts in a church and ends with a Psalm being recited. Dr. Jekyll is trying to control the sin nature of the human soul with chemicals instead of God. (This is clearly stated at the beginning of the film.) When the Doctor realizes that he has an evil nature that he can not control, he dedicates all his time to breaking the bond in his soul to separate out his warring factions. The result is the personification of both halves. He names his evil side Hyde (or Flesh) and becomes him to indulge in sin. The sin starts at fantasies and watching “daring” shows, but then escalates to full consummation of evil.  The problem of the soul is truly revealed when the Doctor decides to stop becoming Mr. Hyde, but then finds himself changing without the chemicals. He has not suppressed his evil, he has fed it, and now it is literally a Monster he can not control.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you are willing to come back in film history, it is an interesting and fun movie. Here we see that trying to live your life separate from God produces monsters, and the monsters may be us.

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One Response to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (DVD)”

  1. Movie Recommendations « Questionentertainment’s Weblog Says:

    […] Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)(d) (nf) (pe) […]

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