DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920/II)
(with Sheldon Lewis)
Article #33 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-18-2001
Posting date: 8-31-2001
No, not the famous Barrymore version, but the almost forgotten Sheldon Lewis version of the story. With a running time of forty minutes, it’s more of a long short (how’s that for an oxymoron?) than a full length movie.
I actually don’t have a lot to say about this one; I watched several silent versions of this story in close proximity, and they tended to melt together in my mind. I don’t know exactly how many silent versions were done of this movie, but there may be anywhere from eleven to seventeen (my favorite title variation: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE DONE TO A FRAZZLE—unfortunately, this is one that didn’t survive). It must have been wildly popular back then; compare the relatively few silent versions of either DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN.
What I do remember of this particular version is not good. The story was updated to the present and moved to New York. The storyline at one point involves Mr. Hyde going to the electric chair.
This movie is also the first recipient of the DS RUBBER BRICK AWARD, for movies which are best watched while keeping a rubber brick handy, as the ending will most likely make you want to throw something at your television set.