Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912)

02/21/2020 06:22

Film: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Year: 1912

Director: Lucius Henderson

Writer: George F. Fish, Luella Forepaugh and Thomas Russell Sullivan

Starring: James Cruze, Florence La Badie and Marie Eline



I stumbled upon this version when I was looking for all of the adaptations I could of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This was on a DVD that I picked up with 6 other short films from the era. I decided one night to give them all a viewing as well which at the time of writing this, this was the only one that was horror. The synopsis is Dr. Henry Jekyll (James Cruze) experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Now being this is a silent film that only runs 12 minutes, there’s not a lot here, but it is still pretty strategic in what it did. It starts off with a medical textbook stating that there’s a drug that can separate the good and evil within a man. Dr. Jekyll mixes up a tonic and drinks it turning him into Mr. Hyde. What I like here is that Dr. Jekyll has white hair and when he turns, some of his teeth blacken and his hair goes dark. The transformations are also pretty good for the era. We get a lot of stoic camera angles, mostly due to the technology of the time. They do hard edits for the change, but it could be worse.

Dr. Jekyll is also to be married, to Florence La Badie, but things take a turn though when they’re on a date and Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde, attacking another person. I just like that in this brief time, it is exploring that allowing the darkness of man out and you can be consumed by it.

I thought the acting was fine for the era, it is very stage play like which makes sense since the writers for this are all credited for the play. The score with it does give a sci-fi style vibe as well so it fit. I would say that this isn’t bad for the length that we get. My issue is that I know there’s more to the story that can be fleshed out, but being one of the earliest versions of it, I still dug it. I’m going to rate this slightly over average for a short version of this story.


My Rating: 6 out of 10