Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1920)

After dealing with some computer issues last night, I wanted to watch something older as I continue to play with a short film script. While the project I am working on is mostly silent with some brief narration, I felt that a true silent classic would be some good motivation. With that in mind, I decided on the 1920 version of the classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Plot/ Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll's enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll's affairs.

This amazing version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde stands the test of time and incredibly still remains possibly the most iconic version of this classic tale. John Barrymore stars as the well-to-do doctor who concocts a serum that allows his dark side to find a home in his alter ego and his performance may be one of the best and most memorable from the silent film era, not to mention the fine performances from the supporting cast as well. The atmosphere and the dialogue are tremendous. Director John S. Robertson did a masterful job at creating a nicely paced, thought-provoking film that is truly a masterpiece. However, in the end it is Barrymore's performance that will forever be remembered and make this a true piece of American and Cinematic History.

Watch it here!

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