I, Monster (1971) Poster

(1971)

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8/10
The best screen adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde.
the red duchess24 April 2001
This is a version of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', although the credits ('based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson'), the name changes (only Utterson and Hyde's first name survive) and the opening 20 minutes (Marlowe's scientific experiments could belong to any similar Hammer film) seem to want to conceal the fact (presumably to make the familiar story unfamiliar again).

Having said that, 'I, Monster' is the most faithful of all adaptations of Stevenson's great novella. There is a little chronological tinkering with narrative, and the setting is moved forward by two decades; but the plot and characters are largely Stevenson's. The error made by most versions of making Jekyll good and Hyde bad is avoided - Jekyll/Marlowe is from the start morose, anti-social, sadistic, voyeuristic and scientifically dubious. There is no Hollywood love-interest, pucelle/putain story to simplify Marlowe's dilemma, retaining the claustrophobic, homosocial world evoked by Stevenson.

Instead of the usual Victorian, cod-Gothic fug, the novella's dream-like modernity is stretched, with effective use made of silence and an unnaturally depopulated urban labyrinth. The transformation scenes, usually an excuse for distracting effects-extravaganza, are brilliantly subtle here, usually off-screen. The 'revelatory' scene (when Blake reveals himself to a friend) is done in silhouette, which is more evocative and thematically appropriate. Christopher Lee's patrician adventurousness is effectively contrasted with Peter Cushing's dogged dullness.

Of course, when I say 'I, Monster' is more faithful than most, it's still not very faithful at all. The duality in Stevenson, whereby Jekyll and Hyde being the same person is concealed till the end, is ignored here. More pertinently, setting the novel in 1906 makes the story seem perversely anachronistic, where Victorian ideas and motifs (sexual repression, duality, mad science etc.) seem out of place in Edwardian England. There is a reason for this - Marlowe is a devotee of Freud, and Jekyll's attempt to isolate, and hence exterminate, the essence of evil, is given a psychoanalytical spin, where the duality is not between respectability and desire, but the ego/super-ego and the Id.

This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, Freud's ideas of the mind are transferred to the body, giving resonance to Marlowe's physical changes, the animal imagery throughout, and the violence he inflicts, as well as making more poignant the climactic 'melding', where Marlowe can no longer divorce his dark side at will. Secondly, Freud provides an explanatory framework for the story, most notably an Oedipal one. Blake runs riot with a cane that reminds Marlowe of the one his violent, 'respectable' father used; the absence of women in his social world, his horrifying violence to women, and some of the seemingly irrelevant asides (the photos that loom in his room like an invading army, etc.) all suggestively deepen our reaction to Marlowe's plight.

This Amicus production is reminiscent of the best Hammers - eg 'The Creeping Flesh' - where the emphasis is less on gore and sensation than suggestion, atmosphere, or slow menacing camerawork; a meaningful use of decor; dream-like sequences; elliptical editing; rich symbolism.

And as with those great Hammers, there are some searing set-pieces - the opening credits in Marlowe's laboratory, with its dead Siamese twin foetuses, its caged animals and images of fragmentary body parts; Marlowe's first injection and 'self-discovery' with the mirror (more Freud via Lacan) and 'new' point of view; the knife tussle at dawn in a narrow lane in a proletarian milieu; the voyeuristic scenes in his adopted hotel room, with its low-level, tilted camera; the social humiliation when he tries to pick up a prostitute, suggesting he hasn't quite overthrown the sensitive super-ego; the trampling of a young girl. Lee, usually so authoritarian and calm, gets a rare chance to be weak and is excellent; his hurt at having to kill his tabby is very moving. Also excellent is the score, ironic and commentating rather than underpinning or atmospheric; frequently comic, but never - ever - spoofy.
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6/10
Yet another Amicus production of Robert Stevenson's classic novel about a split-personality
ma-cortes22 January 2014
This is an enjoyable as well as lurid chiller , including a fine portrayal of the notorious double-identity , very authentic-seeming Victorian settings , savoir faire performances and results to be a pretty nice rendition . Dr Marlowe (Christopher Lee who tackles a double role of the title character , and gives one of his best acting) is obsessed with Freudian theories , the nature of the id , the ego and the superego and whether they can be separated within an individual . Marlowe uses his experiments with intravenous drugs that are supposed to release inner inhibitions , causing Pulfrich effect , it leads to his metamorphosis development , some good and evil sides to his personality . He transforms into Mr. Blake (Christopher Lee) who prowls the seedy slums of Victorian London -Soho- to satisfy his dark instincts and nasty desires . Then his friend Frederick Utterson (Peter Cushing) suspects when take place grisly killings .

This is a largely faithful reworking of Robert Stevenson's classic story , tiring at times , though . The character names may have changed but this is still ¨Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde¨. Although given the source novel, it is unclear why the names of the central character have been changed . Very good acting by Christopher Lee as Dr Marlowe who injects himself with his secret formula and is transformed into Mr Blake . Lee gives one of the best interpretations that the cinema of horror has offered him in a 60-year career . Frequent co-protagonist Peter Cushing is top-notch as usual , playing as his colleague and friend . Adequate and atmospheric cinematography , filmed in Shepperton studios , originally in 3D , some clever camera work and choreography that keeps the foreground moving to the right and the background moving left makes this possible. Thrilling and atmospheric musical score by Carl Davis . The film was efficiently produced by Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky from Amicus factory , they were usual producers of terror genre .

The motion picture was well directed by Stephen Weeks , though Peter Duffell refused the offer to direct this project . Weeks was one of two young British directors to emerge in the terror field in the late sixties , the other , Michael Reeves died at 25 . He began his professional film career at age 17, directing a series of short films . He made his film cinema short film, 'Moods of a Victorian Church' (1967) at age 19, and his first cinema drama, a film set in the First World War in France '1917' . Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was Stephen's second picture at age of 22 and he realized other horror films such as ¨Madhouse mansion¨ or ¨Ghost story¨(1979) and adventure movie such as ¨Gawain and the Green Knight¨ (1973) and its remake ¨Sword of the valiant¨ (1983) also with Peter Cushing . Rating : 6,5/10 . Well worth watching for Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing fans .

Other pictures based or inspired on ¨Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde¨ novel are the followings : 1920 silent retelling and first American one by John Robertson with John Barrymore ; 1932 retelling by Robert Mamoulian with Frederic March , Miriam Hopkins ; 1941 version by Victor Fleming with Spencer Tracy , Ingrid Bergman , Lana Turner , Donald Crisp ; 1968 TV take on by Charles Jarrott with Jack Palance , Denholm Elliott , Oscar Homolka ; 1973 adaptation by David Winters with Kirk Douglas , Donald Pleasence , Michael Redgrave , Susan George ; 1971 ¨Dr Jekyll and sister Hyde¨ by Roy Ward Baker with Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick ; 1971 ¨Dr Jekyll and Wolfman¨ by Leon Klimovsky with Paul Naschy , Shirley Corrigan , Jack Taylor ¨Edge of sanity¨(1989) by Gérard Kikoïne with Anthony Perkins , Glynis Barber and most latter-day recounting as 1995 ¨Dr Jekyll and Miss Hyde¨ by David Price with Timothy Daly , Sean Young , Lysette Anthony and ¨Mary Reilly¨ (1996) by Stephen Frears with John Malkovich , Julia Roberts , Michael Gambon . Furthermore , comical films such as ¨The Nutty Professor¨(1963) with Jerry Lewis and Stella Stevens ; ¨The nutty professor¨ (1996) by Tom Shadyac with Eddie Murphy and Jada Pinkett Smith and ¨Nutty Professor II: The Klumps¨(2000) by Peter Segal with Eddie Murphy and Janet Jackson .
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6/10
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Retold
claudio_carvalho28 May 2016
In the Nineteenth Century, in London, the psychologist Charles Marlowe (Christopher Lee) researches a new drug capable to release inhibitions and uses his patients as guinea pigs. He discusses the principles of Freud with his friend Dr. Lanyon (Richard Hurndall) and decides to experiment his drug in himself. He becomes the ugly and evil Edward Blake and his friend and lawyer Frederik Utterson (Peter Cuhsing) believes Blake is another person that might be blackmailing Charles. Meanwhile Charles loses control of his transformation.

"I, Monster" is another version of the classic story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The art direction is very beautiful and the great attractions are certainly Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Soro Maldito" ("The Damned Serum")
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6/10
Cushing and Lee in 3-D!
mark-25223 June 2001
This odd adaption of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was originally shot in a rare form of 3-D which depends on a complicated camera move, much to the annoyance of star Christopher Lee. But it was all worth it, Mr. Lee, because it stands now as your only 3-D movie for us to enjoy today! The 3-D only works when the camera is moving left to right or right to left and you need special glasses (with the right lens slightly darkened) to enjoy it. But in 3-D, the creeping camera moves and slow editing all make sense because the scenes spring to life with deep focussed 3-dimensional action. Now you know why Christopher Lee is always walking up and down his laboratory behind all the chemical glassware!
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A very entertaining film
GusF30 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were excellent as Charles Marlowe and Edward Blake, the renamed Jekyll and Hyde, and Frederick Utterson respectively. Richard Hurndall lent strong support as Dr. Lanyon while DJ Mike Raven was extremely good for someone who wasn't a professional actor. It was nice to see Susan Jameson, Michael Des Barres and Ian McCulloch pop up in small roles. Speaking of Marlowe and Blake, I'm not sure why the characters' names were changed as I'm fairly sure that the original story was in the public domain by then but that's only a minor thing.

The script wasn't as strong as "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll", Hammer's second of three Jekyll and Hyde films in which Lee also starred, but Lee makes an infinitely better leading man than that film's star Paul Massie, a mostly and justifiably forgotten Canadian actor with an undistinguished career.
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8/10
No Super Ego Here
BaronBl00d16 June 2006
Brilliant, clever, well-acted adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's great The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dramatized by Amicus producer Milton Subotsky, I, Monster follows the original tale about as closely as any other with some major deviations. The characters in this film are Dr. Marlowe and Mr. Blake(?). Maybe they wanted to separate themselves from the original source material as much as possible or perhaps had a Rights issue. At any rate, I, Monster is a movie that builds and builds as Dr. Marlowe(Christopher Lee) tinkers with this new serum he has created that eliminates one part of the three parts of the brain(according to Freud). The reaction for each individual is different. For Lee, it sheds his formal, authoritative persona of its superego which then allows him to act any way he wants without any moral, ethical, or logical constraints. Lee's transformation is simple, effective, and strong. He goes from the stiff upper lip to the wicked, lecherous, carefree smile of a man of no moral code whatsoever. His eyes dance from one thing to another as the strangely effective music of Carl Davis plays a tune of light madness. Lee gives a great performance in this one and makes the film work. Without his skills, I, Monster would have little else going for it. Yes, Peter Cushing is in it. He plays Marlowe's attorney and is as always very solid in his otherwise mundane role. The rest of the cast is really nothing to speak of either. I have always liked Amicus and most of their horror entries from the late 60's and the 70's. They have the Hammer look about them without Hammer production values: translated that means that they look like Hammer imitations. Nonetheless, they usually have good stories and frequently paired Cushing and Lee together or singly. Subotsky's screenplay is laced with several philosophical layers. Director Stephen Weeks does a solid job behind the camera. For my money, I, Monster is definitely one of the best screen adaptations of Stevenson's work.
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7/10
The best translation of 'Jekyll & Hyde' from book to film I've ever seen.
TheFinalAlias13 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Most analyse's of Stevenson's famous story 'Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde' mention the psycho-sexual undercurrents in the story, and argue that the book is nothing more than a condemnation of those who seek to slip below the scale of Victorian(Christian)morality. While it is true that Jekyll creates his alter-ego to carry out his baser instincts, it is often overlooked that Jekyll's real goal was to let his evil self die out by releasing it so that once he was purged of all remotely evil instincts; he would become the perfect man; a god. However, as everyone knows, his experiment did the exact opposite.

Using that point-of View; that makes this film from Amicus studios the most faithful adaption of DJ&MH. It attempts grandeur ie. Creating the most faithful adaption ever of the famous novel; in 3-D no less,; but ultimately destroys itself in the very area it could have succeeded. But, like Jekyll himself through of the results of his experiment; the results were indeed interesting.

This film had the perfect opportunity to remain faithful to the novel. For those who have not read the book; it is actually a mystery that sets itself up as a blackmail thriller, only in the last two chapters is it revealed that Jekyll & Hyde are the same man. Now, apart from the ending of 'The Empire Strikes Back'; this is probably the most well-known ending in history. So much that nearly all versions have dropped the mystery format altogether and instead substituted a romantic subplot that drives Jekyll insane and follows him from beginning to end. 'I, Monster' had the perfect opportunity to re-institute the original novel's mystery plot: It would change the names of Jekyll & Hyde; and since the majority of the books characters are never present in film adaptations, it wouldn't make audiences suspicious! And it would also keep people from learning the ending by not titling the film with either alter-ego's name; but with a generic(but cool)title.

Seems the perfect way to re-use the original plot without it becoming obvious, right? Yes, it was the perfect way. But instead; the film uses the traditional route of following Jekyll from beginning to end with no mystery. And the intent to film in 3-D was dropped.; making the film look washed out and dull with hazy characters cast in opposing red & blue filters.

Such a waste. But in spite of that, this still remains the most faithful adaption of the novel and still adds some new twists. Here, Marlowe(the Jekyll figure, played by Christopher Lee)tests his serum on animals and patients. The results are amusing: A suicidal, repressed young woman becomes a nymphomaniac and beds the Doctor, a short-fused businessman becomes a whimpering sissy and in a moving scene, Marlowe's cat attacks him and he kills it hesitantly. Mention is made of Freud and that gives the film an air of authenticity. The actions of Blake(the Hyde figure, also Lee)progress from simple vandalism to murder in a believable pattern. Lee hams it up as Blake, and his makeup is minimal; but it captures the description of Hyde in the novel as being an ugly, but normal man who simply gives the feel of being repulsive and deformed even though he isn't.

The film, apart from the already mentioned changes and the subplot of Marlowe/Jekyll first experimenting on patients, still follows the book quite well other than the climatic ending and elimination of the Carew murder in favor of the murder of a prostitute who mocks Blake. It even includes the infamous 'marked door', the trampling of the little girl, and even Utterson's nightmares. All the characters are here; Enfield, Lanyon, the Soho landlady. And all the actors do a great job. Lee is fantastic as Marlowe and even makes us feel some pity for Blake himself!!!! Peter Cushing is the first on screen portrayal of Utterson, and he fits the role well, particularly the character's 'radiant eyes'. The ending even leaves him in a position almost as tragic as Marlowe/Blakes.

Although very low-key, the film is definitely worth a watch; Second only to the Fredric March version('Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde' and the Jack Palance film are also good). It may seem slow paced, but it accurately matches the aura of despair and spiritual decay. Cushing is always watchable, most of the supporting actors are good; and Lee gives his second-best performance after De Richleau in 'The Devil Rides Out'.

It's definitely a treat to watch in light of his recent Knighthood. Three cheers for SIR Christopher Lee! I just KNOW that this film will look even better in light of that, and the upcoming Keanu Reeves film that I can just feel is going to be a travesty.~
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7/10
Effective and impressive retelling of Stevenson's warhorse
lemon_magic4 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
While I enjoyed Paul Massie and the Hammer version of the "Jekyll and Hyde" story ("The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll"), I admit that this version from Amicus Studios may actually be the better film. I suppose it depends on what you are looking for in your "Jekyll/Hyde" adaptation.

"I,Monster" is pretty subtle (for a horror film) in its approach to telling the story. The director lets events unfold in an unhurried, meticulous way that allows the viewer to gather all the details without ever being sensationalist or lurid. Everything is present - the debate about the true inner nature of man; the London surroundings; the increasingly violent and degenerate deeds of the good doctor's alter ego; and the sad end. (I won't say "tragic", because this doesn't have the "feel" of a tragedy to me - it feels like a cautionary tale, and the protagonist is hardly a hero undone by fate.)

Here's how good and solid the movie is: "Marlowe" (this movie's name for Jekyll) doesn't actually inject himself until nearly 30 minutes into the movie, and when he does...well, you haven't seen "unsettling" until you've seem post-transformation Christopher Lee puttering around his lab with a huge smile of malicious glee on his face, and then picking up a lab mouse with one hand and a scalpel in the other.

The copy I saw (on YouTube) was a bit blurry and smeared, but it wasn't bad enough to keep me from noting some really nice camera work, costumes and scenery that reinforced and sometimes foreshadowed the developments in the movie...especially the scene in the daffodil laden park when "Marlowe's" ugly alter ego reasserts itself without the drug.

Peter Cushing is a definite 2nd fiddle in this, but he's still a class act. And the rest of the cast keeps up nicely, especially the actor who play's Lee's mentor.

This was a fine, fine example of what Amicus could do at its best and would reward the time spent by anyone who has a taste for British horror from previous decades.
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6/10
A pretty solid Jekyll and Hyde adaption from Amicus
Red-Barracuda9 June 2014
I, Monster is a version of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' made by Amicus Studios, who were most famous as the horror anthology specialists of British horror. This is one of their standalone entries. Their bigger contemporaries Hammer Studios had in fact released their own version of the famous novella also in 1971, namely Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Even just going by the title of the latter it's obvious that Hammer were going off on a clearly different angle with their adaption. As far as Amicus version is concerned, it's seemingly one of the most faithful versions of the story ever made. Interestingly, despite the source novella being in the public domain, both the title and character names are quite different. But when you see it, it's pretty obviously the same story. It's not clear why they chose to do this, although it may have been to give the film a slightly fresher feel.

The story has a doctor called Marlowe developing a drug that releases his patient's inhibitions, for example, turning a sexually repressed woman into a nymphomaniac. To further test it he starts taking it himself. It turns him into Mr. Blake an evil man who grows increasingly more physically repulsive the more times he takes a dose. Marlowe is ordinarily a very inhibited and cold man, whereas Blake is libidinous and carefree. Needless to say he is also murderous too and soon there is a manhunt on to discover who is responsible for these crimes.

Amicus made a fairly commendably earnest adaption here it has to be said. The production benefits from some authentic Victorian England locations and like other costume horrors from Britain from the period, its low budget is hidden quite well by the sets and costuming. It also has the two British stalwarts of the genre at its disposal in Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Lee has a fair bit to sink his teeth into in this dual role as Marlowe/Blake and he puts in a very good performance. Cushing is solid as he ever is but his role is very run-of-the-mill for him really and he doesn't get to do much beyond what we've seen him do umpteen times. Despite being quite faithful to the original source there are some amendments that have been added to make it slightly more modern such as Freudian theory underpinning things or the fact that Marlowe uses an intravenous drug as opposed to drinking a potion. On the whole though, like lots of these Amicus/Hammer period horrors, this one is solid more than great. There consequently isn't anything too surprising but if you are a fan of the sub-genre then this is certainly a good enough example.
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6/10
Christopher Lee wearing a big smile? Now, that's scary!
Coventry13 January 2009
With this feature, Amicus Studios (a British production company founded merely to cash in on the huge success of contemporary competitor Hammer, though with lower budgets and mainly specializing in anthology films) attempted to present its very own adaptation of the legendary and numerously retold novel "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", by Robert Louis Stevenson. However, "I, Monster" turned out to be a rather curious movie and I honestly can't say for sure what it was that Amicus wanted to achieve and whether or not they succeeded in their effort. At first I assumed "I, Monster" was going to be only loosely inspired by the classic story, since there already are so many reminiscent versions available on the market and even more so because the screenplay changes the names of the protagonist from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into Dr. Marlowe and Mr. Blake. But then it rapidly becomes obvious that this is actually one of the faithful adaptations of Stevenson's story, so that can't be an option. On a slightly off-topic note, in case you are looking for an offbeat and extremely loose interpretation of the same story, you can turn to the aforementioned Hammer again and check out "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde". Maybe the original mission was to make the very first 3-D version of "Jekyll and Hyde", but that idea got abandoned in a fairly early stage as well and it's only still noticeable in some minor visual and cinematographic details. So, basically, all that remains is another redundant but nevertheless worthwhile re-enactment of a fantastic tale, once more pairing two of the greatest horror actors ever (Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) and competently directed by one of the youngest filmmakers of that time. Stephen Weeks was still in his early twenties in 1971. I bet it must be a truly unique experience to give Lee and Cushing instructions on a film set on that age...

Lee and Cushing don't deliver their greatest performances here (far from it actually), but even at their most mediocre they nonetheless remain a joy to behold. Lee stars as Dr. Marlowe, a successful psychiatrist and devoted disciple of Sigmund Freud's theories. He firmly believes that mental illnesses can be caused by the repression of the true human nature (which is vile, mean and aggressive) and that both sides of the personality can easily be separated. He develops a drug, experiments on himself and gradually turns into a more relentless and incurable monster after each injection. His friends, including Peter Cushing as his attorney, want to help Dr. Marlowe but they automatically assume this mysterious Mr. Blake is an entirely different persona. The overall story is commonly known and this version doesn't feature any noteworthy differences. The doctor's transformations - mentally as well as physically - grow more monstrous, but the remarkable thing is he is the scariest during the earliest phases! Near the film's climax, Christopher Lee looks unrecognizable and heavily deformed but after the first couple of drug dosages he simply puts on a menacing and genuinely unsettling Joker-type of smile. Can you imagine Christopher Lee with a big smile like that? Now, THAT is scary stuff!
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6/10
If you love Lee & Cushing, give it a look.
Hey_Sweden12 May 2016
"I, Monster" is a respectable adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale of Jekyll & Hyde, albeit with some unconventional touches by screenwriter Milton Subotsky. Sir Christopher Lee stars as Dr. Marlowe, a psychiatrist / researcher who experiments with drugs, trying to get his patients to release their inhibitions. But when he tests his serum on himself, the results are predictable enough. He becomes an unhinged alter ego named Edward Blake, who indulges in debauched and nasty acts for their own sake. Meanwhile, Marlowes' lawyer Utterson (Peter Cushing) believes Marlowe and Blake to be two different people and thinks that the Blake character is blackmailing Marlowe.

While this slight film doesn't have quite enough style or gravitas to rate as anything more than routine entertainment, it's still reasonably well done. Produced by horror greats Amicus, its period recreation is decent, and its atmosphere likewise effective. Subotsky's touches include having Marlowe be a follower of Freud, so there are Freudian overtones, and the topic of the role that drugs play - or shouldn't play - in the treatment of patients. It does have the time honored appeal of any story with a Frankenstein type mad doctor twist. The makeup by Harry and Peter Frampton is pretty good, but the amount used on Lee is increased bit by bit on screen rather than utilized all at once. The music by Carl Davis is good. As directed by Stephen Weeks, a 22 year old budding filmmaker hired by Amicus at Lees' suggestion, it's actually not terribly violent - or as sexy as the stuff churned out by Hammer during this period. Much of the budget went towards an unusual 3D process exploiting the Pulfrich effect (which explains the camera movement), one that wasn't exactly pleasant to film for Lee.

As can be expected, the consistent professionalism and commitment to character by the two stars makes it all worthwhile. They're ably supported by exemplary actors such as Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall, George Merritt, and Kenneth J. Warren. That's a young Michael Des Barres as the youth who accosts Blake in the alley.

Agreeable entertainment, overall, although the ending is rather abrupt.

Six out of 10.
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4/10
Rather unnecessary
MartinHafer8 July 2008
This film is the 7312th remake of the classic story "Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde" and frankly I was left asking myself if the whole thing was even necessary. After all, with so many versions out there, does this one merit yet another? Plus, the Frederic March version of the 1930s was awfully good--is this one any better? Well, in only one way does it seem perhaps better. Instead of the doctor doing his experiments for no clearly defined reason, here the doc is an analytic therapist and he finds the serum unleashes inhibitions--meaning some patients might become violent, some sexual and some infantile. This could have been interesting, but unfortunately it ultimately wasn't since it wasn't done all that well.

What wasn't all that good? Well, first, for some totally unknown reason, the names were all changed. Although it clearly is about Jeckyl and Hyde, these names were inexplicably changed. Also, mostly due to too many versions, this film manages to be rather dull--something that DOESN'T happen with Christopher Lee's vampire movies. Too bad--I was really hoping this wouldn't be just "same old, same old".
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4/10
Cushing's worst performance
bensonmum25 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • I, Monster is Amicus' take on the Jekyl and Hyde story. I won't go into details on the plot as most everyone is familiar with the story. From a couple different sources I've read that I, Monster may be the most faithful adaptation of Stevenson's book ever put to film. I don't know about that, I've never read the book. The biggest change from the book seems to be the names - instead of Jekyl and Hyde, we have Marlowe and Blake.


  • I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a while. Any movie with both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is high on my "to see" list. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. Usually, no matter how bad the material may be, you can usually count on Lee and Cushing to at least provide some degree of entertainment. Not here. This is the first movie I've ever seen with Cushing that I did not enjoy his performance. He acted as if he knew how bad things were. Much of the movie is an utter bore with everyone just sitting around spouting inane dialogue. I don't mind a slow moving story (for example, The Mummy (1933) is one of my favorites) but this is torture.


  • In I, Monster, Marlowe is allowed to slowly progress with each injection into a hideous monster. It is a progression into evil. It's a nice touch that I think improves on past versions of the story. But it brings up one of my major complaints about the movie. I do not understand how some of Marlowe's friends failed to realize he was Blake the first time they ran into him. Just ridiculous. The only physical change that Marlowe experienced at first was a grin on his face and messed up hair.


  • Next time I have a desire to see Lee and Cushing together, I'll pick something like Horror of Dracula or The Curse of Frankenstein.
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8/10
Best re-telling of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, yet
catfish-er20 May 2010
Throughout the mid 60s and early 70s Amicus Productions churned out a series of wonderful little horror anthologies including: DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965), TORTURE GARDEN (1967), THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1970), ASYLUM (1972), THE VAULT OF HORROR (1973, second best of the bunch), FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1973), and TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972, which is my all-time favorite horror anthology!)

Recently, with the Amicus Collection, I've discovered some full-length movies, like ASYLUM, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS; and, THE BEAST MUST DIE. While quite capable, I really enjoyed only the first two, as the third one seemed a bit out-of character for the production company.

However, as other reviews note, I, MONSTER has got to be the best re-telling of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde ever. If not the best, certainly the most faithful to the original story. I really liked the character of Dr. Marlow; and, the progression of experiments, with varying results. The scenes in the gentlemen's club provide a fitting narrative, without the need of a narrator.

Amicus really defined the horror anthology genre for me. But it is good to see they had some good feature films as well. Next up: THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE and THE DEADLY BEES.
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9/10
One of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing's best!
manchester_england200417 February 2010
I, MONSTER is a British horror movie adaptation of the novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, written by Robert Louis Stephenson. It was produced by Amicus - who along with its competitors - Hammer and Tigon - dominated the British horror movie industry in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Amicus are today best known for their excellent anthology horror movies. But they also made some non-portmanteau movies that were every bit as good - if not better - than their competitors were producing during this period. I, MONSTER is a great example of such a movie. Others include THE BEAST MUST DIE and MADHOUSE.

I, MONSTER is arguably the best adaptation of the movie as one reviewer has already suggested on this site. The only key difference is that the names of the characters have changed from Jekyll and Hyde to Marlowe and Blake. In my humble opinion, this magnificent piece of work falls just short of perfect.

The plot for those unaware of the story is as follows - a scientist experiments with drugs meant to release inhibitions. He witnesses a series of different effects - one patient behaves like a child and another craves for sexual attention. He decides to further his work by experimenting these drugs on himself. Initially he shows a hint of cruelty, preparing to use a scalpel on a mouse. But each time he injects himself, he becomes more monstrous, both in physical appearance and personality. This leads to murder and blackmail. The "split personality" theme is the main focus of the story and the movie is consistent with this.

The movie expands upon the original story by involving Sigmund Freud. It also removes the "hero and villain" mentality associated with previous adaptations by presenting the scientist as a curious and dedicated man who simply but gradually loses control of himself. The story revolves predominately around this psychological concept with one man as the focus and the supporting characters merely bystanders who either try to help or become affected in some way by the situation.

The reviewer who slated this movie for being a mere re-hash of the Hammer Dracula franchise couldn't be more wrong. The characters of Lee and Cushing are actually friends here - not adversaries as was the case in the aforementioned franchise. This movie is not about "good" versus "evil". It is instead a carefully crafted exploration into what causes "evil", how "evil" may be a necessary part of human nature, how the lines between "good" and "bad" can become blurred, and how science can have negative as well as positive consequences.

Sir Christopher Lee and the late great Peter Cushing - perhaps the top two horror actors Britain has ever known or will ever see - invest every ounce of talent they have in their characters. Their performances here are amongst the best they have done. This movie is definitely one of their best pairings. Christopher Lee's overly ambitious and open-minded scientist contrasts perfectly with Peter Cushing's overly cautious and skeptical scientist. One scene they share is particularly moving and this the true testament of their performances here.

Mike Raven seems to enjoy himself with a supporting role as yet another scientist. He held my attention in every scene he was in and I also enjoyed his performance in the movie, CRUCIBLE OF TERROR, a very unfairly maligned movie. He came across as a very professional actor despite the negative comments I have read about him. I was highly surprised to learn that he was in fact a DJ!

The producers have clearly used imagination here. As another reviewer has pointed out, the movie is not set in the foggy Gothic settings associated with Hammer horror. Instead, this Victorian setting looks realistically grim with drunken people, prostitutes, street thugs, run-down pubs and even empty cans lying on the cobbles! There is no "sugar-coating" here!

Direction by Stephen Weeks capitalises on the superbly atmospheric setting, excellent usage of camera-work, razor-sharp editing and the effectiveness of Christopher Lee's "Mr. Blake" characterisation to utilise some excellent horror. There is hardly any blood or gore here. This is a psychologically twisted situation that makes the viewer wonder who they should care about - Dr. Marlowe or the potential victims of Mr. Blake. The viewer can easily associate with the characters on the streets because Mr. Blake - with his wicked smile - was a truly scary creation - who anyone would quickly want to run away from. At the same time, the viewer can also relate to Dr. Marlowe - a scientist with good intentions who struggles to fight this inner demon known as Mr. Blake. Some great humour is also thrown in for good measure, helping to add more impact to the shocking moments, the details of which I will not spoil. Without revealing much, I can say that my favourite scene was the one where Mr. Blake visits a run-down inn to seek accommodation. Watch the movie and you'll soon find out what I mean.

I, MONSTER has only one flaw I could find - its running time is slightly too short. A few extra scenes could have gone further in exploring Dr. Marlowe's fight with the inner demon in the second half. Instead, the second half seemed a little rushed, and the ending was both too abrupt and simply too predictable. However, these factors do very little to detract from the highly entertaining viewing experience of the movie as a whole.

I, MONSTER is overall a magnificent movie by Amicus and certainly the best work they produced outside of the anthologies. I especially recommend it for all fans of movies made during the heyday of British horror movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Remember also to check out DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE, another excellent Jekyll and Hyde adaptation made by Amicus's rival, Hammer, just a few months later.
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fairly good horror
didi-54 April 2004
This movie is a version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as done in a full-on horror treatment by Amicus, in a decade when other versions of the tale appeared (Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype ...)

Christopher Lee plays the two-sided character with his usual manic energy, while Peter Cushing is his nemesis, sent to rid the world of the unwelcome evil spirit.

Set in dark corners and oppressive places, the story is given a welcome facelift with the new horror slant. The result is engrossing and enjoyable; this is a good film and a good version of a much-filmed piece.
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7/10
Great Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Carbon copy from Amicus!!
elo-equipamentos20 December 2019
Even with another names it was a new version of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with some variable slight changes, the psychologist Dr. Marlowe works in a drug that changes human behavior, he starts with animals, then with their own patients, that has been receiving many distinct feedbacks, he applys the drug on himself, changing his personality to worst, a nasty behavior, lack of remorse and including becomes distorted look neither, he changes his name as Mr. Black, indeed a very appropriate name, also he rents a room on a bad area of London, where will be a perfect place to commit his atrocities, Dr. Jekyll used to visit a Club's men where he shares with his fellows their thoughts about human behaviors, it's starts a bit interest from Mr. Utterson (Peter Cushing), Robert Lewis Stevenson's immortal novel evoked many filmmakers whose made a dozen versions on past century, it was one of them!!!

Resume:

First watch: 2019 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7.25
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8/10
It has it's moments
PhilPacker19 April 2018
I've been on a Jekyll and Hyde adaptation kick, so I thought I'd give this one a review too. Yes, it's really low-budget but if you are a fan of the novella, it has about a 30-minute section that follows it very closely , and that, I really like.

I actually bought this DVD and found out some interesting factoids. First, it was originally supposed to be a 3D movie but the budget was cut, so there are these weird moments in the movie where Christopher Lee is pointing things at the camera and it comes off as goofy.

For me, the Jekyll and Hyde benchmark has become FIGHT CLUB. Ultimately that is one of the best adaptations. I like when two actors are used to portray the characters as Stevenson writes them to be two different characters (both mentally and physically).

One of the funniest/goofiest/worse things about this movie though, is the transformation. Lee cowers into the shadows then rises as Hyde (called Mr. Blake here) and simply smiles really big and darts his eyes around. In the book, one of the most freeing elements for the characters is that Hyde is virtually unrecognizeable as Jekyll (who can be a passenger to his wrongdoings). In this version Lee's transformation from Jekyll (here called Marlow) to Hyde is comical. A big smile and crazy eyes apparently do the trick!

The setting is taken from Victorian England and put into the early Freudian-influenced 20th century and Marlow is a psychiatrist. This is fine as the Freudian rhetoric fits well with Marlow's attempts to break free from the reserved Victorian frame of mind.

Get over the budget concerns and this is a damn decent adaptation.
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7/10
Spoilers follow ...
parry_na13 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that revels in its very low budget: Doctor Marlowe's (Christopher Lee) quarters are cramped, tatty and cluttered, the location filming is frequented by only a handful of extras and the effective soundtrack is performed by a tiny ensemble. These are not complaints – such things enhance the intimacy of what is one of the most faithful and entertaining filmic adaption of RL Stephenson's 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' novella.

Two things marred any potential success this may have had upon release. To begin with, Stephen Week's production was intended as a 3D release, but the process was abandoned mid-filming. This lends many scenes a curiously fluid movement which again enhances its uniqueness. Secondly, the central character of Jekyll/Hyde was renamed Marlowe/Blake – although all other supporting characters have names taken from the book. Probably this was due to Amicus' concerns that audience confusion would otherwise arise between their film and Hammer's upcoming 'Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde'.

And yet, there is a top-notch cast. Peter Cushing joins Lee as Utterson, Richard Hurndall as Lanyon, Susan Jameson as patient Diane and Mike Raven provides his best horror performance as Enfield. Yet it is Lee as the kind but starchy Dr Marlowe who steals the show. His descent into the initially mischievous Blake, with the death's head grin and increasingly macabre sense of frivolity is terrific, despite the unconvincing hairpiece. He becomes frightened of the increasing power of his unsightly alter-ego in a tremendous scene in a leaf-strewn park. His earlier blurred-faced attack on a young girl in the street is surprisingly sinister. There is a finely balanced sense of sympathy/danger about Blake that is skilfully conveyed and carried through to the violent finale.
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8/10
I, Like It
Rainey-Dawn13 June 2016
This is definitely the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with only the names changed (Dr. Marlowe and Mr. Blake played by Christopher Lee). It's wonderful addition to the Amicus films.

Dr. Marlowe experiments with the good vs evil within man and unleashes a monster that calls himself Mr. Blake. This evil side of Dr. Marlowe grows more hideous with every transformation into Mr. Blake, both physically and in personality. He goes so far as to murder. Dr. Utterson (Peter Cushing) is Dr. Marlowe's best friend and colleague but can he put an end to Blake/Marlowe's reign of terror?

Great late night film with the fantastic duo: Lee and Cushing.

8/10
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1/10
I, Snooze
lordzedd-330 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I heard this this is one the most loyal versions of the Strange case of Doctor Jekyl and Mister Hyde ever made. First complaint, why not name the character Jekyl and Hyde if it's based on the story? Second, complaint, it's so damn dull, an hour into the movie and nothing was happening. Nothing, just lots of talking about evil. I hope the book isn't this dull. The performances were good and the make up effects worked. But it's so damn boring it was putting me to sleep. I had trouble keeping my eyes open. I know British films can be dull but this has to be slow even for a British flick. Not even Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee could save this movie, do not operate heavy machinery or drive while watching I, MONSTER. I must give the movie THE NOOSE!
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5/10
middling, somewhat faithful Jekyll/Hyde adaptation w/name changes, and some Freud added
FieCrier15 February 2005
I saw the Retromedia DVD of this, presented in widescreen. The picture quality left a lot to be desired - grainy and faded.

The movie is a fair adaptation of the original story. Parts of it seem to be almost verbatim, particularly the scene where the story of the young child being trampled is related. It's told rather than shown, as in the story, though it is partially depicted in a nightmare a character has. Why the Jeckyll/Hyde names were changed when the lesser characters' names were maintained is a mystery. If someone ever meets Lee at a convention, maybe they could ask him?

Some reviews play up the drug use and Freudian psychology angles. It's true the potion was injected rather than imbibed, but that didn't seem to be too significant. Freud gets some mentions in the first third or so of the film, and the Doctor does seem to be treating patients with some of his theories, possibly, but after that it isn't in the forefront.

Lee's transformation is one of the more minimalist ones. He gets a silly grin that keeps his upper teeth exposed, and a jaunty walk. In later transformations, his hair becomes more unkempt, thin, and gray; his walk becomes less jaunty and a little stooped; his skin becomes whiter and a little warty. At no point, however, could anyone mistake him for a different person. That makes the failure of his friends to recognize him after the injection, from either the front or back, rather bizarre.

If a potential viewer is interested in seeing some of the more faithful screen adaptations of this story, they might check this one out. Otherwise, there wouldn't be too much point - it's nothing exceptional.
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4/10
Charles Marlowe is I, Monster.
Spikeopath22 October 2013
I, Monster is directed by Stephen Weeks and written by Milton Subotsky. An interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall, George Merritt, Kenneth J. Warren, Susan Jameson and Marjie Lawrence. Music is by Carl Davis and cinematography by Moray Grant.

Kept By The Power Of God!

Stevenson's age old tale gets another make-over as Dr. Charles Marlowe (Lee) invents a drug that releases his patients' inhibitions. However, upon trying the drug himself, Marlowe finds that he turns into the monstrous Mr. Blake, who with each transformation becomes more cruel and debauched.

Dull and Hyde!

Amicus never quite made the mark on British Horror that they aspired to, a few films are enjoyable, certainly there's good value to be found with some of the segments in their portmanteau releases, but so many others just come off as weak attempts to create a niche in the market. Quite often there was good intentions on the writing table, such is the case with I, Monster, which has literary intentions that are honourable. The Eastman Color photography is lovely, the period design equally so, and the use of canted angles is a good move, but unfortunately the film is just too dull and beset with problems elsewhere.

First off is Cushing and Lee, two bona fide legends of British cinema and bastions of horror. Lee is miscast, never quite convincing in the Mr. Blake role, which isn't helped by the make up work which would look more at home in Carry On Screaming. With Cushing it's just a case of him being underused, which is unforgivable in a horror film aiming for literary smarts. Carl Davis' musical score is awful, at times I sounds like something that belongs in a silent movie farce.

Starting out as a 3-D venture, that idea was abandoned early in the production, it's hard to believe that the gimmick would have stopped this being the dreary film that it is. 4/10
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5/10
'The face of evil is ugly to look upon' Interesting & faithful Jekyll and Hyde adaptation but not brilliant.
poolandrews26 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I, Monster is set at the turn of the 20th Century in London as the well respected Dr. Charles Marlowe (Christopher Lee) has been studying the recent works of Freud & is convinced that every personality has two sides & Dr. Marlowe is just as convinced that they can be separated. In his laboratory at his home Dr. Marlowe has created a serum to be injected into a subject that he hopes will prove his theory & separate the two personalities allowing the dormant one to take control, Dr. Marlowe tries his serum on a shy woman who then strips in front of him & an angry man who then reverts back tot hat of a child. Dr. Marlowe decides to carry on his experiments using himself & injects the serum into his arm, soon after Marlowe turns into a cruel & brutal thug who takes pleasure in hurting people & adopts the alias Edward Blake. Soon Dr. Marlowe's friend & lawyer Frederick Utterson (Peter Cushing) begins to suspect Blake is blackmailing Marlowe but is shocked to discover they are the same person & Marlowe is no longer able to control Blake...

This British production was made by Amicus studios who were the main rivals to Hammer Studios during the glory days of the period Anglo horror cycle of the late 60's & 70's. Amicus were, & still are I suppose, best know for their cracking horror anthology films like Dr. Terror's House of Horror (1965), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), From Beyond the Grave (1974) & The Monster Club (1981) all of which are worthwhile watching. An obvious adaptation of the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson in all but the title & the central character's name which have both been changed for some mysterious reason despite Stevenson's novel even getting an 'Inspired by' opening credit, directed by Stephen Weeks apparently because all of the other regular director's used by Amicus turned it down I, Monster is a very faithful adaptation of it's source novel & is a pretty decent horror thriller that could have been a classic if it were not for a slightly sedate pace & a general lifeless feel to the direction. The script is solid enough, the character's & dialogue are all engaging enough & it tells a good story competently enough but that's my main problem, I was never engrossed or excited by it & while it's solid & competent like I said it never goes beyond it. At just under 80 odd minutes I, Monster surprisingly drags in a couple of places but it never becomes too boring & the story unfolds at a nice pace although anyone familiar with the Jekyll and Hyde story won't find many surprises here. It's also a mystery that none of Marlowe's friends recognise Blake as the same person, I mean he doesn't look that different in all honesty. The psychological aspect of double personalities is touched upon but never goes anywhere significant & I would have liked a little more incident.

Originally filmed using the Pulfrich effect to create a 3-D experience that apparently uses clever camera movement & choreography to keep the foreground moving right & the background moving left, to see the effect you apparently need to wear glasses with the right lens significantly darker than the other. I can't say I tried it or even want to but it's an odd little side-note & you can see the odd shot that looks as if it was filmed with 3-D in mind. I love all these 70's British period horror films & I, Monster is no exception with some great Victorian production design, sets & costumes. It's all very colourful & well made. There's not much blood, gore or horror here to be honest, there's a bit of blood when Blake kills a woman but other than that this is disappointingly dry. Legend has it that the money ran out during production & the makers simply had to put together what they had already shot, maybe this explains the sub 80 minute running time & the slightly rushed feel of certain scenes that seem to end rather abruptly.

Released into UK cinemas in November 1971 this didn't reach US shores until April 1973, filmed here in the UK in Shepperton Studios. The acting is good from a solid cast, it's always great to see great actor's such as Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing who manage to turn mundane material into something special. Since we can class I, Monster as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde film I think Christopher Lee has played all the classic monsters including the Frankenstein monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula in Dracula (1957) & the Mummy in The Mummy (1959) which were all made by Hammer to add to his performance as Jekyll and Hyde here.

I, Monster is almost a great a film, slightly lifeless direction & a lack of action doesn't help but the cast & solid script & story help balance it out. A good solid British horror effort from a golden era but I'm not surprised it hasn't gone down as a classic, well worth watching none the less.
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6/10
Does not star Charlize Theron
Spuzzlightyear17 March 2006
Interesting Jekyll and Hyde Hybrid updated to the 70's with a ridiculous 'Drugs are bad for you' underlying theme.

Christopher Lee plays a scientist who discovers a serum that digs into hidden or repressed emotions. After making a cat go berserk, a repressed woman go nympho, and a badgering old coot get babylike, he tries it on himself, which transforms him into Lon Chaney in 'London After Midnight' it seems. Yes, complete with top hat, cap and wild teeth, Lee goes nuts on the town, taking out whatever comes his way, and yes, that comes complete with stalking a woman of the night in the Empty Factory That Has No Employees But They Left The Machinery Running. Only Peter Cushing can solve this dastardly mystery for us (hint, the good Christopher Lee has his bad wig combed). Pretty soon though, Lee is hooked on the drug, and just goes completely nuts! So yeah, can you guess the drug symbolism here? Pretty obvious and wacky, but pretty fun watching all the same.
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