Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

Article 3236 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-29-2010
Posting Date: 6-24-2010
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Featuring Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick, Gerald Sim
Country: UK
What it is: Jekyll/Hyde variation

Dr. Jekyll is searching for the elixir of life and finds it in female hormones. However, the hormones have a side effect of changing the sex of the user. And his methods of acquiring materials for his experiments requires some drastic means…

This was another of Hammer’s attempts at the Jekyll and Hyde story, and is perhaps the most gimmicky film they put out. The gimmick itself is captured in the title, and the promise in the ads that “the sexual transformation of a man into a woman will actually take place before your very eyes” was destined to be disappointing when you consider the movie’s PG rating in the states. For good measure, writer Brian Clemens throws in the Burke and Hare story and the Jack the Ripper story into the mix; of course, they make hash of the original novel (Jekyll is hardly less evil than Hyde here), but we should probably be grateful that the movie doesn’t fall apart at the seams; it’s actually a fairly entertaining Hammer film. Still, this is one of the dimmer Dr. Jekylls I’ve ever encountered; he apparently can’t remember that there are simply times when one must wash ones bloody hands and lock ones door. Ralph Bates gives one of his better performances here; in fact the whole cast is fairly strong. Not the best Dr. Jekyll movie out there by a long shot, but far from an embarrassment.

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