Saturday, January 08, 2005

Aargh! I'm Changing!

jek13We just watched Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931), directed by Robert Mamoulian and starring Frederic March, who won an Oscar for playing the outlaw chemist who shouldn't have tasted his own junk. I had no idea it was this good. Convincingly imagined, ambitiously shot, well acted, and dirty as anything.

Jekyll knocks back the monster juice out of sheer sexual frustration, because his fiancee's bloodless old dad won't let the wedding happen for another eight months. How do we know why the good doctor is in such a hurry to get married? We start to figure it out when a naked prostitute practically begs him for a physical and he comes this close to giving her one. I had no idea stuff like this went on in 1931, let alone in movies made in 1931. But it wasn't just a sweatfest; long first-person shots, populous and troublesome set-ups, split-screens, and dancy camera movement add up to a piece of storytelling that might well have enthralled a young Will Eisner. Before the weekend is out, we'll watch the 1942 Spencer Tracy version. I expect something tamer, and it certainly couldn't have been conceived, staged and photographed better.

Update: Couldn't finish the Tracy version. Script too close to its predecessor's, but slow and dull.


sapere aude said...

An insightful commentary. Great site!

El Duque said...


The Jekyll-Hyde transformation always served as metaphor for man's desire to achieve a higher, firmer sexuality.

Pfizer knew that when it made Viagra, which turns ninnies into yardmen.

Bayer knew that when it made Levitra, the official bonermaker of the National Football League.

The French knew that when they made Cialis, maker of erections that last longer than elections.

I thought you knew that.

I thought you knew.

El Duque

P.S. In honor of the tsunami victims, how about changing the spelling of your blog to "Tsuperfrankenstein!" It might catch on.

Superfrankenstein said...

El Duque,

Interesting observations about Jekyll, boners and help. I might have made them myself... IF I EVER NEEDED HELP.