Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

Article 2882 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-29-2009
Posting Date: 7-4-2009
Directed by Charles Lamont
Featuring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff
Country: USA

Two American policemen are booted from the London police force for incompetence. They decide that if they can capture the monster that is terrorizing London, they can get back on the force.

I think one of the strengths of the Abbott and Costello horror comedies was that they were full of authentic horror atmosphere, and this one is no exception in that regard; with the good use of music and mist and a good performance from Boris Karloff, there’s enough here to keep horror fans satisfied. However, the comedy was often uneven, and most of the humor here involves slapstick or acting scared, neither of which really catch Bud and Lou at their best. There’s some fun moments and touches; I’ve always had a fondness for John Dierkes and his glowering craggy face, and he shows here that he can make for a memorable mad doctor’s assistant. A couple of the comic sequences do keep me amused, and these are the ones surrounding Lou’s accidental transformation into a giant mouse. A friend of mine argues that this movie gives us a Dr. Jekyll that is truer to the original story than the other versions, and though I have no real opinion about that, I do feel that Mr. Hyde here is more of a werewolf-style monster than anything having to do with the Robert Louis Stevenson story; he can’t even speak. And though I do find the comedy disappointing overall here, it does have one gag that has netted the biggest laugh from me from any of the Bud and Lou monster comedies; it involves a baby carriage and the line “Does he look like you?”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s