You guys! If you like old (and I mean really old) cinema, I’ve got a treat for you! I found the full 1920 horror silent film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on YouTube so I immediately thought I have to share if with you! The film is available there completely legally, as it is not part of the public domain. Must-see for old cinema enthusiasts!
The film is based upon Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It was directed by John S. Robertson, produced by Adolph Zukor, written by Thomas Russell Sullivan, Clara Beranger and Robert Louis Stevenson (novel), and the film was starring John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Charles Lane and Nita Naldi.
The scientist Dr. Jekyll discovers that there is a second, evil personality residing in every human being. With a potion invented by himself, he releases his own personality, turning into a monster. With each passing day, this second persona takes control of his life, leading him toward the inevitable fall.
Production Trivia (from Wikipedia)
- The early part of Jekyll’s initial transformation into Hyde was achieved with no makeup, instead relying solely on Barrymore’s ability to contort his face.
- In one scene, as Hyde reverts to Jekyll, one of Hyde’s prosthetic fingers can be seen to fly across the screen, having been shaken loose by Barrymore’s convulsions.
- In the short Renaissance flashback memory sequence, where Hyde is explaining to Gina about the poisonous mysteries of his secret ring, set pieces and costumes were brought from “The Jest”. That was a hit play in which John Barrymore had starred with brother Lionel Barrymore on Broadway in 1919 before shooting this picture.
- John Barrymore hauled many of his prized potted plants from his apartment to the set to appear in scenery in the movie.