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Jekyll & Hyde

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Jekyll & Hyde (1990) starring Michael Caine, Cheryl Ladd
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Jekyll & Hyde (1990) starring Michael Caine, Cheryl Ladd

Jekyll & Hyde is a very different take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale. It adds a romance with his sister-in-law, that has unexpected consequences for both.

Review

Amazon’s description of Jekyll & Hyde says: “one of the most faithful adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale”. That’s blatantly false. The acting’s very good, and the story tries to add some additional conflict by having the widowed Dr. Jekyll fall in love with his sister-in-law. His father-in-law, however, blames Jekyll for the death of Jekyll’s wife from pneumonia, and wants his remaining daughter to having nothing to do with him.

Notes

  • The introduction of Mr. Hyde is very good. He’s large, threatening, powerful, and ruthless.
  • The transformation scene is bad.
  • What is Jekyll’s motivation for continuing to use his formula? He’s been using it for months before Sara re-entered his life. In that time, he’s committed numerous crimes, including rape & murder. Why continue to do this?
  • Calling this a faithful adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is more than stretching the truth. Remember in the novel where Hyde raped his sister-in-law? Me neither.
  • The “surprise” ending isn’t a surprise at all.
  • A truly faithful adaptation would have Henry Jekyll as an elderly man. Part of the reason for his continued use of his serum is that Hyde is young. Since Jekyll’s rarely given into temptations over his long life, his dark side hasn’t lived as long. Likewise, Hyde begins weak and sickly. But steadily grows more powerful as he gives into temptation, sin, debauchery, assaults, and murder.

Cast of characters

  • Michael Caine (Secondhand Lions) … Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde
  • Cheryl Ladd (Charlie’s Angels) … Sara Crawford. Henry’s sister-in-law, preparing to go overseas to be with her husband. Whom she doesn’t love. She married her husband, despite loving another man — Jekyll.
  • Joss Ackland (Shadowlands) … Dr. Charles Lanyon. The father of the two women in Jekyll’s wife. He blames Jekyll for the death of Jekyll’s wife. He throws Sara out of his house, suspecting her to be unfaithful with Jekyll.
  • Ronald PickupJeffrey Utterson, Esquire.
  • Diane KeenAnnabel
  • Kim ThomsonLucy Harris. The prostitute who informs the police about Hyde. After’s he’s hurt her savagely.
  • Kevin McNallySergeant Hornby
  • David SchofieldSnape. The reporter who’s glad to stoke the feud between Lanyon and Jekyll …. If it will sell newspapers.
  • Lee MontagueInspector Palmer
  • Miriam KarlinMrs. Hackett. The lady who runs the “rooming house” (bordello) where Hyde lives. She knows who’s paid for Hyde’s room.
  • Lance PercivalBeresford Mount, Prince’s Private Secretary
  • Joan Heal (Happy Go Lovely) … Mrs. Clark
  • Frank BarriePoole the Butler
  • Lionel Jeffries (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Call Me Bwana) … Jekyll’s Father

Editorial review of Jekyll & Hyde courtesy of Amazon.com

In one of the most faithful adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, Michael Caine stars as the doctor who throws himself headfirst into experiments concerning a personality-splitting drug, with monstrous effects.

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