Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)


SPECIAL SCREENING FILM REVIEW || Director John S. Robertson | Writers Thomas Russell Sullivan and Clara Beranger (based on the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson) | Cinematographer Roy F. Overbaugh | Starring John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Nita Naldi | Length 80 minutes | Seen at Barts Pathology Museum, London, Wednesday 29 January 2014 || My Rating 2.5 stars likeable


© Paramount Pictures

There were a fair few adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famed horror story the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the early years of cinema, probably because it was written only a few decades earlier and was well known to most cinemagoers. This 1920 version is not the most well-regarded adaptation (that probably goes to Rouben Mamoulian’s 1931 version) or the earliest (that was in 1908), but it does have the benefit of a performance from John Barrymore, an early scion of that famous acting dynasty. The screening I attended was in the atmospheric surrounds of the Barts Pathology Museum on the grounds of the ancient St Bartholomew’s hospital in London, whose walls filled with many jars of preserved anatomical specimens certainly added a potent atmosphere to this Victorian story.

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