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My Favorite JEKYLL / HYDE Adaptation (but not the best).,
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This review is from: I, Monster - Amicus Classics [DVD] (DVD)
How is it, you may be asking yourself, that this is my favorite version of the Jekyll/Hyde story and yet I only give it three stars? It has nothing to do with the quality of the print. I have the Optimum Entertainment DVD and the print quality is glorious. I like this version because it is (in spirit) the most faithful cinematic rendering of the story, has one of Christopher Lee's very best performances, is beautifully photographed (originally in 3-D), and has a wonderful, atmospheric score from Carl Davis (yes, THE Carl Davis of Thames Silents movie scores). But just because I like it doesn't mean that others will. It is very slow moving, has no romantic interest, and features an astonishingly literate script considering it came from Milton Subotsky, co-founder of Amicus Productions who are better known for multi-story films like DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS. The title, I, MONSTER, is his. Think of it as the MASTERPIECE THEATRE version of DR.JEKYLL & MR HYDE. Not a strong selling point for your average horror movie fan but it definitely works for me.
Which brings us to the most curious aspect of this production. Why are the characters called Dr Marlowe and Mr Blake? Subotsky uses the other character names from the story correctly (Poole, Utterson, Lanyon) but not the principal ones. Known for his tight purse strings, my guess is that he would have had to pay extra to use them (copyright issues) so he just didn't. The production is obviously a low budget one which makes it even more remarkable that it looks as good as it does. The addition of Freudian psychology into the script works very well as does the fact that Jekyll/Marlowe injects himself rather than drinks a potion. Lee's transformations are restrained and his alter ego make-up is very believable. Peter Cushing gives his usual fine performance but this is really the Christopher Lee show and he makes the most of it. Hats off to director Stephen Weeks for crafting a quality adaptation with very little money. My vote for the best movie adaptation goes to the 1931 Frederic March version.