Il mio amico Jekyll (1960)

aka My Friend, Dr, Jekyll
Article 2461 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-28-2008
Posting Date: 5-8-2008
Directed by Marino Girolami
Featuring Ugo Tognazzi, Carlo Croccolo, Raimondo Vianello
Country: Italy

An ugly mad scientist (who scares women away) develops a method to transfer personalities between two creatures for a limited period of time. He uses this method to transfer his own personality to that of the popular teacher at a girl’s school in the hopes of scoring with women.

If I thought I was going to be able to use the fact that the name of Jekyll indicated that this was based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story to help me sort out another movie in unsubtitled Italian, I was out of luck; other than having a scientist named Jekyll, it doesn’t touch the story. Nevertheless, this was one of the easiest to follow for movies I’m watching in another language; from a plot perspective, it’s fairly easy to figure out what’s going on with the visual clues. The slightly comic touch to the title led me to suspect that this my be a comedy, and though it starts out looking serious enough, the minute I saw the scene where Jekyll tries to quiet a barking dog in his house, and it turns out not to be a dog, but a goose, I knew this was going for laughs. The basic premise is simple; the teacher is kidnapped by Jekyll, his body gets Jekyll’s personality, Jekyll goes out in the teacher’s body and makes passes at woman (attracting them and infuriating their husbands), and then when the Jekyll’s personality leaves the teacher’s body, the teacher has to deal with the complications that arose, including fighting an amusing duel at one point. I may not know what they’re saying, and there are a few plot points that are a little obscure, but the motivations and story arc are fairly obvious. Overall, I found it quite amusing and enjoyable. Once again, I hope I can find a dubbed or subtitled version of this one in the future.


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