Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941 film)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941 film)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Theatrical poster
Directed by Victor Fleming
Produced by Victor Saville
Written by John Lee Mahin
Percy Heath
Samuel Hoffenstein
Robert Louis Stevenson (novel)
Starring Spencer Tracy
Ingrid Bergman
Lana Turner
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Editing by Harold F. Kress
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) August 12, 1941 (1941-08-12)
Running time 113 minutes
Language English
Budget $1,140,000
Box office $1,279,000 (Domestic earnings)
$1,072,000 (Foreign earnings)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1941 horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner. Rather than being a new film version of the novel, it is a direct remake of the 1931 film of the same title, which differs greatly from the novel. The movie was based on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and directed by Victor Fleming, director of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz two years earlier. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (where Fleming was based) acquired the rights to the 1931 film, originally released by Paramount Pictures, in order to keep the earlier film out of circulation.

The MGM version was produced by Victor Saville and adapted by John Lee Mahin from the screenplay of the earlier film by Percy Heath and Samuel Hoffenstein. The music score was composed by Franz Waxman with uncredited contributions by Daniele Amfitheatrof and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The cinematographer was Joseph Ruttenberg, the art director was Cedric Gibbons, and the costume designers were Adrian and Gile Steele. Jack Dawn created the make-up for the dissolute Mr. Hyde's appearance.

The film also features Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith and Sara Allgood.



Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Mr. Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy (Ingrid Bergman), who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll, and Sir Charles (Donald Crisp), Dr. Jekyll's fiancee's father. At the end of the film, Dr. Jekyll's best friend Dr. Lanyon (Ian Hunter) shoots and kills Mr. Hyde, causing Jekyll to die as well. Poole, Dr. Jekyll's butler, begins to say a prayer for his late master, ending the film.




Despite having not yet met his later co-star Katharine Hepburn - they met when they made Woman of the Year (1942) - Spencer Tracy originally wanted Hepburn to play both Bergman's and Turner's roles as the 'bad' and 'good' woman, who would then turn out to be the same person (coincidentally Hepburn had hoped to get Tracy for the part that James Stewart ultimately played in The Philadelphia Story (1940)).

Initial casting had Bergman playing the demure fiancée of Jekyll and Turner as 'bad girl' Ivy. However, Bergman, tired of playing saintly characters and fearing typecasting, requested that she and Turner switch roles, allowing her to play a darker role for the first time.


The movie was nominated for three Oscars, for Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), Best Film Editing & Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Critical reception

The film was not the critical and commercial success that the 1931 version had been. Fredric March famously sent his friend Tracy an amusing telegram thanking him for his biggest career boost, as Tracy's performance was routinely savaged when compared with March's version. Tracy was considered too bland as Jekyll, and not frightening as Hyde.

Other references

In the 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon Hare Remover, when Elmer Fudd is going through some bizarre side effects after drinking a potion he created, Bugs Bunny turns to the audience and remarks, "I think Spencer Tracy did it much better!".

External links

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