Daughter of Dr Jekyll, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1957). Film Ventures/Allied Artists. Produced by Aubrey Wiseberg and Jack Pollexfen. Directed by Edgar G Ulmer. Written by Pollexfen, loosely based on Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Cast includes John Agar, Arthur Shields, Gloria Talbot and Ken Terrel. 70 minutes. Black and white.

On her twenty-first birthday, Janet Smith (Talbot) arrives at her late father's estate in Ireland with her American fiancé George Hastings (Agar), to claim her inheritance. From her guardian, Dr Loomis (Shields), she learns to her horror that she is the daughter of the infamous Dr Jekyll. After a cold welcome from the townspeople, Janet begins to fear she may have inherited her father's evil side, especially when she has nightmares of stalking and slaying villagers. A rash of brutal murders has indeed begun in the area; discovering blood on her torn nightgown does nothing to lessen Janet's fears. After a climactic fight in the Jekyll crypts, the actual culprit is revealed to be Dr Loomis, who recreated Jekyll's formula transformed himself into a new Hyde. His plan was either to frame Janet or to drive her insane and collect the estate for himself; but all ends well.

The Daughter of Dr Jekyll is a minor effort, but with some good touches by Ulmer, who could work effectively on a low budget; his nightmare sequences are especially eerie. The script takes liberties with Stevenson's story in giving Jekyll a daughter and a significant estate, but retains interest despite the tired Victorian-melodrama motive of the real Monster. The film was double-billed in the US with Talbot's The Cyclops (1957). [GFi]

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