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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941 movie poster
Directed by Victor Fleming
Produced by Victor Saville
Written by Robert Louis Stevenson (novel)
John Lee Mahin
Percy Heath
Samuel Hoffenstein
Starring Spencer Tracy
Ingrid Bergman
Lana Turner
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Editing by Harold F. Kress
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) United States 12 August 1941
Running time 113 min.
Language English

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) is a horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, and Lana Turner. Rather than being a new film version of the novel, it is a direct remake of the 1931 film of the same title, which differs greatly from the novel (as most film versions do). The movie was based on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and directed by Victor Fleming, director of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz two years earlier. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the rights to the 1931 film, originally released by Paramount Pictures, in order to keep the earlier film out of circulation.

The MGM version was produced by Victor Saville and adapted by John Lee Mahin from the screenplay of the earlier film by Percy Heath and Samuel Hoffenstein. The music score was composed by Franz Waxman with uncredited contributions by Daniele Amfitheatrof and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The cinematographer was Joseph Ruttenberg, the art director was Cedric Gibbons, and the costume designers were Adrian and Gile Steele. Jack Dawn created the make-up for the dissolute Mr. Hyde's appearance.

The film also features Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith and Sara Allgood.



Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy (Ingrid Bergman), who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll, and Sir Charles (Donald Crisp), Jekyll's fiancee's father. At the end of the film, Jekyll's best friend Dr. Lanyon (Ian Hunter) shoots and kills Hyde, causing Jekyll to die as well.


Despite having not yet met his later co-star Katharine Hepburn -- they met when they made Woman of the Year (1942) - Spencer Tracy originally wanted Hepburn to play both Bergman's and Turner's roles as the "bad" woman and "good" woman, who would then turn out to be the same woman.

Initial casting had Ingrid Bergman typically cast as the demure fiancée of Jekyll and Lana Turner as the "bad girl" Ivy. However Bergman, tired of playing saintly characters and fearing typecasting, requested that she and Turner switch roles, allowing her to play a darker role for the first time.


The movie was nominated for three Oscars, for Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), Best Film Editing & Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Critical reception

The film was not the critical and commercial success that the 1931 version had been. Fredric March famously sent his friend Tracy an amusing telegram thanking him for his biggest career boost, as Tracy's performance was routinely savaged when compared with March's version. Tracy was considered too bland as Jekyll, and not frightening as Hyde.


Other references

In the 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon Hare Remover, when Elmer Fudd is going through some bizarre side effects after drinking a potion he created, Bugs Bunny turns to the audience and remarks, "I think Spencer Tracy did it much better!".

External links



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