Friday, 8 June 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 164: Tue June 12

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Mamoulian, 1931): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm
This film is part of the Passport to Cinema season, will be introduced by Julian Petley and include a screening of the short 2001 version of the story directed by Paul Bush. Details here.

I finally got to see this film last year and was struck by its extraordinary opening, a virtuoso sequence in which the camera represents what Dr Jekyll witnesses and only "sees" the central character when he looks into a mirror. It is the best version of the story committed to celluloid and well worth seeking out.

Chicago Reader review:
'Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, this 1932 screen adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic is a remarkable achievement that deserves to be much better known. Fredric March won a well-deserved Oscar for his performance as the lead, and Miriam Hopkins and Rose Hobart play the two women who match the opposite sides of the hero's nature. The transformations of Jekyll are a notable achievement for March and Mamoulian alike, and the disturbing undercurrents of the story are given their full due (as they weren't in the much inferior 1941 Victor Fleming version with Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, and Lana Turner). Mamoulian was at his peak in the early 30s, as this film shows.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an excerpt from the film.

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