100 Years of Horror: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1996)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
As the title suggests, this episode takes a look at the many versions of the Robert Lewis Stephenson novel. When you really think about it, as this film makes you, it's rather amazing how many legendary actors tackled this role. After many silent shorts, we got John Barrymore followed by Oscar-winner Fredric March and then Spencer Tracy in the big-budgeted MGM version. After the story went into the public domain we got all sorts of variations on the story including films such as the underrated HANDS OF DEATH, the charming THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON and even THE HAUNTED STRANGLER with Boris Karloff and I, MONSTER with Christopher Lee. We even get a look at the comic version in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, one of the duos most underrated.
This here is without question one of the more entertaining entries in the series as we're graced with some great interviews but also plenty of great clips. I really enjoyed seeing the trailer to the Spencer Tracy version and seeing how hard to studio tries pushing the film over by selling the director and stars "other" films. John Agar has some fun stories to tell about HANDS OF DEATH and even Lee gets to question the changes made to I, MONSTER. Donald Glut, Sara Karloff and Martine Beswick are on hand to offer up a couple nice stories and thankfully Fred Olen Ray is on hand to defend THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMONS, a film with an awful reputation even though it's rather fun. At just 23-minutes you're certainly not going to learn everything about Jekyll and Hyde as there are many films overlooked but in the end this will certainly help people new to the genre and this is coming from someone who doesn't consider this story one of his favorites.
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