Directed by Terence Fisher, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a 1960 horror film by Hammer Film Productions. Starring Paul Massie, Dawn Addams and Christopher Lee it is based on the 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
One of the more interesting things about The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is that Jekyll is portrayed as a bland & uninteresting looking person. While Hyde is suave and handsome in complete contrast to most other versions.
The story sees Dr. Jekyll (Massie) trying to live a quiet life while experimenting in the hope that he will learn the depths of the human mind. He is withdrawn & defensive something that has seen his wife, Kitty (Addams) take a lover known as Paul Allen (Lee). He is Jekyll’s supposed friend but uses his influence over the man to get money from him.
During Jekyll’s experimentation he decides to test a potion on himself which transforms him into Mr Hyde (Massie also). A completely different person to Jekyll, Hyde is charming, young & attractive. Unfortunately he is also a bit insane & has no qualms about murdering those who get in his way.
Hyde knows that he doesn’t have full control over the body & that Jekyll is fighting him constantly. So he sets about destroying his life & taking everything he wants.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a slow movie, one that may not go down as the best Hammer have to offer but it’s a thoroughly entertaining film with some great acting. Paul Massie does an excellent job of portraying the emotionally wrought Jekyll & the psychotic yet charming Hyde. The latter of the two gets more screen time but for good reason, he lights it up. Turning heads in every room he walks into, his suaveness is matched only by his intensity.
Massie isn’t the only actor to get your attention though. Christopher Lee has a blast playing the cheeky & deplorable Paul Allen. A man only really interested in sex and money. His interactions with Dawn Addams’s Kitty is hilarious, her also holding her own against two impressive leads.
The movie has the Hammer Horror look & feel about it even if the locations aren’t exactly varied or memorable. The final 20 minutes or so get a little silly especially when a venomous snake is introduced but considering the subject matter it’s not a massive problem. The ending is also a bit disappointing, choosing to peter out rather than go out with a bang.
Those complaints aside, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a good movie that relies heavily on its cast to prop up a simple story. Thankfully they don’t let the movie or us as viewers down.
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The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll