DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1973)
Article 4424 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by David Winters
Featuring Kirk Douglas, Susan George, Stanley Holloway
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Musical version of the Stevenson classic
Dr. Jekyll tests a drug (intended to cure lunatics) on himself, and turns into the depraved Mr. Hyde.
Had someone floated the idea of a musical version of the Jekyll and Hyde story a decade or two later, I probably wouldn’t have blinked; by that time, I was starting to get used to the fact that they’d make a musical out of anything. As it is, I’m surprised that they came up with a musical version of the story this early. I’m also surprised that they opted for an actor in the title roles who is not known for his musical chops (and his attempts at singing here don’t change that evaluation of his ability). However, when the roles rely on Kirk Douglas’s acting abilities, he does a fine job, and I quite like some of the qualities he gives to his Mr. Hyde here. It’s a pity I couldn’t catch him in a straight version of the story; in it’s current form, this version of the story doesn’t ring true, and some of the musical interludes seem rather inappropriate. For me, the biggest surprise musically is discovering that Donald Pleasence does have the musical chops to pull off his role; he has one song, and he does a fine job with it. Nevertheless, I just have to say that I wish this version of the story wasn’t a musical.