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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Free! Free at last!"
This DVD contains both the 1941 Spencer Tracy version and the 1932 Fredric March version. Believe me, the latter is far superior to the former. In fact, in viewing Tracy's film, the only reason I could find for maintaining my attention was the incredibly magnetic Ingrid Bergman. Basically, Spencer Tracy's acting is not up to scratch. He doesn't actually seem to change...
Published on 27 July 2006 by saltypepper

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good version and an exceptional version
OK, two very different versions of the same story.

The SPENCER TRACEY version (made 70 years ago), is a slower paced more thoughtful version. Certainly less use of special effects and make up. The most obvious difference between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the good and evil personalities. This was not everybodies cup of tea, at that time.

However, the...
Published on 12 Mar. 2012 by Red Rose


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Free! Free at last!", 27 July 2006
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
This DVD contains both the 1941 Spencer Tracy version and the 1932 Fredric March version. Believe me, the latter is far superior to the former. In fact, in viewing Tracy's film, the only reason I could find for maintaining my attention was the incredibly magnetic Ingrid Bergman. Basically, Spencer Tracy's acting is not up to scratch. He doesn't actually seem to change much when he becomes Mr. Hyde. He doesn't seem particularly threatening and the film plods along rather than sweeping you up and carrying you with intrigue, terror and delight. In addition, there are lots of irritating Freudian arty scenes which simply do not belong.

But flip the disc over and you'll find the brilliant Fredric March version, never bettered since 1931. Notice how inventively shot it is for the 1930s: Dr. Jekyll is shown from a first person view for the whole of the start of the film including a wondrous mirror shot when he prepares himself. This is later used again when he abuses the very substances that will bring about his transition. The film, too, was pre-censor and is far more daring. The prostitute that Mr. Hyde stalks practically strips off for Dr. Jekyll when he takes her home.

But the reason why the film is so good is that it has insight without ever tripping over itself because of it. Fredric March's interpretation of Mr. Hyde as being primitive and ape-like is incredible. There is simply no resemblance between himself and Dr. Jekyll. People comment on how the make-up looks silly to the modern viewer. But they fail to notice just how much like a primate Mr. Hyde is being depicted as. March's performance itself is astounding. The scene when he beats the waiter in the bar for asking for a tip and then mocking him is terrifying: Mr. Hyde is truly mankind unhinged, at its most dangerous.

The standout scene for myself, however, is when Mr. Hyde walks outside in the rain for the first time. March plays him brilliantly animal-like, absorbing the feeling of freedom, unashamadly gleeful where other Victorians would have fled for shelter. And, for the record, the effects when he changes were revolutionary and still look excellent. They really do.

The extras included are a Bugs Bunny cartoon based (very loosely) on the famous horror tale and a commentary by some American film historian whose calm, controlled voice might just grate with you. However, I believe it is testament to the brilliant 1932 flick that he only provided a commentary for that film and not the 1941 Tracy version.

It really is one of those films that you should see, especially if you are a fan of good horror movies. These people were writing the book that modern film-makers seem to have misplaced.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly the best version of famous novel., 15 Aug. 2006
By 
Mr. A. E. Ward Davies (Canterbury , England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
two versions of "dr. jekyll and mr. hyde" for the price of one. a very good deal.

on side a, the 1932 film (filming was actually completed in 1931) is by far the best adaptation of the novel, and certainly far better than the one with spencer tracy.

fredric march gives an outstanding performance in the title roles. slightly too theatrical at times, but great nevertheless - especially as hyde. his evil side really shows.

for the time, there was some remarkable camera work during the transformation scenes. they still hold up extremely well after all these years. different lighting filters were used to change the colours on fredric march's face by over-lapping them or something like that.

previous editions have been censored quite heavily. i once read that the only copy available ran for about 80 minutes. luckily, this is not the case now. when released on video back in the mid-90s, the cuts had been restored and that is the version that is on this d.v.d.; running time is 92 minutes. this is a true classic, both in the horror genre and in cinema history.

sadly, the 1941 film with spencer tracy lets the side down. he is simply not suitable for the part. he is too gruff an actor and too rough round the edges to bring any kind of conviction or impact. ingrid bergman is better as the luckless ivy.

i saw this film back in the early 90s, but i have forgotten how cheap looking this is. the film sets are too small and they also look rather flimsy. the running time on this one is rather shorter than i expected. this runs for 108 minutes, but the time for general release was 122 minutes. still, this film is rather slow and boring no matter how long. not a success as far as i'm concerned.

special features are slim; trailer for the '41 film, a rather pointless cartoon of bugs bunny based on the "jekyll and hyde" theme and audio commentary by a film historian. the latter is the best feature.

watch the version with fredric march and be thrilled, fascinated and entertained.it's worth five stars on its own. watch the spencer tracy film and be bored and disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirror images, 3 Oct. 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
It is so good to have these two famous versions of Stevenson's great story on one disc.
What surprised me, not having seen either for many years (they are seldom scheduled on TV) was just what a masterpiece the 1931 film is, with Fredric March excelling as the tortured scientist and his alter ego, with that almost forgotten actress Miriam Hopkins (a big star in her day) superb as the barmaid Hyde takes up with, and Rose Hobart (also a slightly bigger name back then, though, sadly, she fell foul of the Hollywood witch-hunts) excellent as Jekyll's fiancee. The acting overall is very good indeed, particularly for an early thirties horror film. Rouben Mamoulian's direction has an atmospheric, semi-expressionistic quality which gives the film even more of its ominous, fog-bound appeal.
Another plus is its (for the time) daring insistence on a major cause of Jekyll's impatient, mercurial nature being his sexual frustration. This is brought out intelligently and quite explicitly for early Hollywood. March and Hobart play these scenes to the hilt and they add immeasurably to the richness of this great film.
The later Tracy-Bergman-Turner version is interesting, and perfectly valid, with Tracy relying (as the better-cast Jack Palance did later still) on his own acting ability rather than the make-up man. (No sexism there, make-up always seemed to be done by a man, for some reason!)
Good to see Ingrid B playing a tart, since she so often tended to be cast as 'good girls', whereas she was obviously not all sweetness and light. (In fact the more proper she was, the more boring she usually became.)
This is an endlessly fascinating tale, still relevant, and in the earlier of these two versions you not only get a film fairly close to the spirit of the book, but a genuinely fine film in its own right.

Be transformed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good version and an exceptional version, 12 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
OK, two very different versions of the same story.

The SPENCER TRACEY version (made 70 years ago), is a slower paced more thoughtful version. Certainly less use of special effects and make up. The most obvious difference between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the good and evil personalities. This was not everybodies cup of tea, at that time.

However, the FREDERICK MARCH version (made 80 years ago) is, even now, considered the diffinitive version of the story, and there has been many. Visually, it is almost impossible to believe that the same actor played both parts. Jekyll is a kindly, thoughtful member of society. Hyde is a deranged monster that has newly been let loose. The censors cut out bits of this years ago, but this is the full version. Given the limited technology at the time, this is a masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Double Bill of Duality, 3 July 2013
By 
Princess Spider (Lancaster, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
1931 had been a big year for horror. Universal Pictures had enjoyed box office success with Dracula and Frankenstein, while Paramount desperately needed a hit to counter its depression fed financial troubles. The 1920 Jekyll & Hyde with John Barrymore had been a big financial success for the studio and the idea of a talking remake seemed a box office certainty. The studio wanted Barrymore to reprise his role, but the actor was contracted to MGM. They then chose Irving Pichel, but director Mamoulian was unimpressed and selected light comedian Frederic March, arguing he had the looks and voice for Jekyll, not to mention physical resemblance to John Barrymore.

Where March certainly did not resemble Barrymore was the depiction of Hyde; a frightening, Neanderthal brute who becomes more degenerate and animalistic with each appearance. The decision to portray Hyde as a primate was informed by Mamoulian's shifting the emphasis of Jekyll & Hyde's relationship from good/evil to spiritual/animal. Jekyll is set up as almost a saintly figure in his work with the destitute. Hyde, on the other hand, is not simply evil but represents the primitive within us. A newborn, unrestrained by the codes of social structure and engaging with the world on his terms (Hyde's first words are "Free! Free at last!"). During his first venture into the outside world, Hyde takes off his hat and lets the rain run over his face as if enjoying a new sensation... or a baptism. This Hyde may prove to be a brute, but he is a grotesquely funny one sticking two fingers up at Victorian society.

Mamoulian also deliberate used visual imagery to reflect the film's themes. It opens with Jekyll off camera and represented by voice only. The only glimpses of him shown are through his own reflection in mirrors, a precursor to his impending duality as Hyde, whose first appearance is in a mirror. Mamoulian also employs an unusual screen wipe to dissolve from one scene to another, emphasising the ongoing existence of a double world. Its first use, for example, links the transition from Jekyll comforting an elderly patient at the charity hospital to an opulent drawing room containing Jekyll's betrothed, Muriel. This duality is later reinforced when Hyde's blonde mistress briefly shares the screen with Jekyll's darker, upper class fiancee.

But it is Mamoulian's uncompromising approach to the film's sexual and violent overtones that help secure this version's status as the classic. Even by today's standards it is surprisingly frank both in its depiction of Hyde's violent brutality and the sexuality of his prostitute girlfriend cum victim, whom Hyde eventually strangles for secretly meeting Jekyll and offering herself as his slave. It is also significant that Jekyll's fiancee is something of a dullard compared with Hyde's mistress, just as Jekyll is a colourless figure next to his alter ego, Hyde. Given the suggestion that the lure of sexual availability is more natural behavior that the restraint of observed social convention, it is surprising this element did not run into trouble with the censors.

The censors did have Paramount remove a scene where Hyde drowns a kitten and another where he calls Ivy a "mucky wench." Interestingly, Paramount themselves deleted the child stomping scene from the original story before it even reached the camera. Given the sequence had appeared in the 1920 Barrymore version, the studio's hesitance is curious. Possibly, it was to avoid the accusations of child abuse that had been leveled at Frankenstein over the scene where the monster inadvertently drowns a little girl he had befriended. Nonetheless, the film proved a hit with the paying public. The scenes of Victorian poverty, charity hospitals and social degeneration possibly struck a chord with the depression hit audiences of the day. Frederic March's performance earned him an Oscar and changed his career from comedy to drama; itself a Jekyll & Hyde transformation.

Nine years later and a more ambitious version emerged from the studios of MGM. Victor Fleming, director of the studio's smash Gone with the Wind (1939), was ushered in to stage a classy version of Stevenson's tale that utilised the Roaring Lion's high standard of production values. Fleming eventually set up a prestigious cast that included Spencer Tracy as Jekyll/Hyde, Lana Turner as Jekyll's sugary girlfriend and Ingrid Bergman as Hyde's spice. This casting lent a further twist to the good/bad transformation theme, as Turner was associated with bad girl roles, while Bergman usually played the good.

It had been intended that this version would eschew the transforming "magic potion" and have Jekyll attaining personality change through addiction to alcohol and dope. The MGM heads ran scared of this approach, so they bought the 1931 Paramount script and had John Lee Mahin redraft it; in essence, a straight, efficient remake, but one that lacks the energy and daring of its predecessor. It's only really memorable sequence is the first transformation scene, where Jekyll experiences a hallucination in which he is savagely driving a horse pulled carriage, cracking a whip at the two animals who turn into Lana Turner and Ingrid Bergman; the women trussed to the carriage and at the mercy of Jekyll's whip. This blatant image of sado masochistic bondage stands as strangely out of step with the relative restraint of the rest of the film. If anything, it recalls the spirit of the 1931 version. It is also a wonder MGM front office allowed the sequence to stand.

What does make this version in interesting is Fleming's decision to hold back the make up box and go for a psychological changeover to distinguish the film from the other versions. This meant Spencer Tracy could not play Hyde as an animal figure but a sadistic man, relying on facial contortion to effect change. Though this was more in keeping with Stevenson's description, it earned Spencer Tracy his only bad reviews; it is also said that when Somerset Maugham visited the set he asked "Which one is he now, Jekyll or Hyde?" The promoters also did not share this sense of subtle daring and visual publicity featured Hyde in silhouette only to hide the lack of makeover. This marketing approach proved significant, for while the film is a gilt edged affair that stands as a companion piece to the 1932 production, it still remains somewhat in its shadow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read The Book!, 30 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
I do wish some of you 'critics' would go back to Stevenson's novella; compared with it ALL film versions are dross. The most original performance is without doubt that by John Barrymore - all his own work. March is splendid is a very melodramatic way, assisted by brilliant make-up - not his own - and fabulous camera trickery by Mamoulian and his team, most notably in removing a series of colour filters from the lens to produce the remarkable transformations.
However, with regard to fidelity to Stevenson's conception, it is Spencer Tracy's performance which comes closest and is most chilling. There is a suggestion of the simian in the novella, but Stevenson stresses that people can't quite say what's amiss with Hyde's appearance - he just looks wrong. He is also described as being younger and smaller, with his (Jekyll's) clothes hanging loosely on his frame. Within the travestied version of the tale that both the March and Tracy films tell, it is Tracy who comes closest to what the author intended. He should be given credit for that. Evil is often subtle - which is why it can bamboozle us.........Do we really need drooling zombies and gnashing werewolves to have any sense that malevolence is on the loose.......?
All that aside, it is my opinion that BOTH of these films are well worth watching and this DVD is fantastic value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Thirties Version Is Ideal, 16 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
The two versions, one starring Fredric March (1932), the other with Spencer Tracey (1941) could not be more different. One of the reasons is that the thirties March version came out just before the Hays Act that cut down what could be seen. The Tracey version reflects this, showing a very plastic Hollywood-type version. Spencer Tracey is just..... Spencer Tracey and does not really attempt to act.

Miriam Hopkins does an excellent performance as Ivy Pearson, who gives a very sexual performance, especially when Jekyll first treats her. It's well known that a lot of the 1932 movie ended on the cutting room floor. How wonderful it would have been to have those included in the film as well. The film also shows a lot of film terchnique. It starts with the viewpoint from Jekyll's eyes. There are also close-ups of the eyes, most noticable when Jekyll proposes to his love in the garden.

The films are presented on one disc, one one each side. It is rather annoying that the DVD jacket is colourised, then the films themself are black and white. Any person not having the pleasure of seeing the film before will get a surprise when they see it.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A double dose of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 6 Jun. 2005
By 
Miguel M. Santos "miguelmsantos" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
This is definitely a good value for money DVD. You get both the MGM 1941 (with Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner) and the Paramount 1932 (with Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins) versions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Both films have a very similar story line, closer to the stage version of the novel rather than the novel itself, adding love interests to both Jekyll and Hyde.
I am not sure if it helps to compare both versions but here it goes... I prefer the Spencer Tracy version as it flows better as film to me. It was because of this version I that got the DVD, with the Fredric March version as a blind buy. Despite its excess of uncalled for close-ups and other early 1930s techniques, the earlier version surprise me on how far more daring this pre-censorship film is. As for the cast, in my opinion, Tracy is better than March as the Jekyll and Hyde (although March actually won an Oscar for this), and Hopkins as the prostitute is much better than Bergman. Both Lana Turner and her 1932 counterpart look pretty and it seems that is all that is required of them.
The oldest film is shown in a restored copy, the best possible I'd say, which shows its age but for a film over 70 years old it's very good. The more recent one is presented in a very good copy. The extras are good enough - there's a commentary on the 1932 version, the trailer for the 1941 version and a great Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Chuck Jones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars in the change!, 15 Jan. 2015
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G. N. Farnell (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
Brillient old movie we just love these hammer house type movies because you can allow some younger age little people to watch as there not too scary but always descresion is ensured if it's a little too scary for them keep it until they are old enough to see
We bought this for are use not the kids although they are 35 yrs old now Spencer tracy version is what we wanted but there's an older second version on this disk too! So great value for money and what's more we haven't seen the 1932 version so we will enjoy this well advanced for the time movie
Here's hoping more of the oldies are put onto disk I would buy them all 😄
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Movie, 9 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931] (DVD)
I really love this movie.
Arrived on time and we got two movies in one package.
I highly recommend the 1932 one for everyone to see.
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