Son of Dr Jekyll, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1951). Columbia Pictures Corporation. Directed by Seymour Friedman. Written by Mortimer Braus, Jack Pollexfen and Edward Huebsch (uncredited); loosely based on Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Cast includes Louis Hayward, Alexander Know, Jody Lawrence and Lester Matthews. 78 minutes. Black and white.

In the prologue, we see the infamous Mr Hyde chased by an angry mob into a house which is set ablaze; he falls to his death from an upper window. Around thirty years later, Edward Hyde (Hayward) has been raised as the son of Sir John Utterson (Matthews) He learns of his true heritage from attorney Dr Curtis Lanyon (Knox), and shortly begins setting about trying to duplicate the formula which turned his father into Mr Hyde. He does this in order to try and clear the family name, but a series of brutal murders begins around this same time. The press is quick to blame Edward as the killer although no real proof of this exists. Finally it is revealed that Lanyon hopes to claim Edward's estate (although he does not seem ever to have been his legal guardian), and is actually the killer. Lanyon has disguised himself as a Monster to carry out the murders; he is pursued for some distance and finally cornered on the ledge of a burning building from which he falls to his death. As the film ends, it seems that Edward and Lynn Utterson (Lawrence) may be starting a romantic relationship .

This film takes considerable liberties with Stevenson's Jekyll, giving him both a son and a substantial estate. Featuring only one early transformation scene – which may be hallucination – it is more a crime thriller with horror overtones than an sf film proper. The similar The Daughter of Dr Jekyll (1957) is better. [GSt]

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