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A few words about the two Dr. Jekyll's...


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#1 of 37 Robert Harris

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Posted December 14 2003 - 03:47 PM

I've had a chance to take examine Warner's new release of both the 1932 (Paramount) and 1941 M-G-M Jekyll and Hydes.

Both are beautifully rendered, but while I would fully expect this of the Tracy version, I would not of the Mamoulian as rights (and film materials) were transferred from one studio to another.

The 1932 version was unavailable for decades, and when available, only in the shorter 82 minute version. While still not completely uncut the 97 minute version presented here is the finest quality that I've seen on the title.

Of the two versions, I personally find the Mamoulian to be of more interest. A pioneer of both early sound and camera movement, this version, while not in the same league budgetarily of the later is the more cinematic of the two.

Fortunately, the decision has been made for those interested in adding either to their libraries, as for $14 the disc offers both.

One interesting comparison to be made is the '32 Jekyll vs. the '31 Dracula. While one, some seven decades later, still has a cinematic brilliance, the other, although a classic, seems ancient by comparison.

These were the talents of Mr. Mamoulian.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 37 Jon Robertson

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Posted December 14 2003 - 04:58 PM

Thank you for the reassuring words, Mr. Harris.

I once saw a beautiful print of the Mamoulian version on BBC2 in 1995 as part of their wonderful 'Forbidden Weekend' of notorious films, introduced by Alex Cox. Alas, I don't have the tape anymore, but all films screened were touted as being "the longest, most uncut versions that can be found".

Is the footage not on Warner's DVD available elsewhere or has it simply been lost to the ages?

#3 of 37 Robert Harris

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Posted December 14 2003 - 06:17 PM

The missing shot is apparently a nude scene with Miriam Hopkins--
just pre-code.

If I haven't searched for something personally, I prefer to make no representations regarding something being extant, as I have no viable information.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#4 of 37 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 14 2003 - 07:51 PM

The missing shot is apparently a nude scene with Miriam Hopkins--
just pre-code.
Yes, that scene has been discussed here and I know some of us including myself will be disapointed with its deletion from this dvd.Posted Image However, I can't wait until my copy arrives.





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#5 of 37 John Sparks

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Posted December 15 2003 - 12:57 AM

Just a little fun note I observed on my LD copy. At the beginning of the March version, when the camera is him going down the hallway and just as he reaches the mirror and walks into frame, look closely. You can see a man in a suit ducking under the camera, moving from your left to right. Posted Image
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#6 of 37 Roger Rollins

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Posted December 15 2003 - 02:07 AM

For years the 1932 DR. JEKYLL was surpressed by MGM in favor of their 1941 remake. They had purchased the earlier version from Paramount (as well as the 1920 Barrymore silent) in order to do their Spencer Tracy 1941 version.

MGM did not allow exhibition of the earlier versions, most notably the superior Mamoulian 1932 version, for which Fredric March had earned a Best Actor Oscar.

It wasn't until the early '70s that MGM finally rescued the
March version from oblivion, at the same time they had liberated other early film versions of properties they had remade (most notably ROBERTA and SHOW BOAT). At this time the only version of DR. JEKYLL that MGM distributed was a version edited by Paramount for theatrical reissue in the mid-thirties AFTER the enforcement of the "production code". It was this "short" version alone that circulated for nearly 20 years. The "long version" without the censor cuts was feared lost.

In 1989, MGM finally unearthed the "long version" for VHS, and eventual laserdisc release. However the film element used for this long version had damage, including splices during key scenes. It was also missing a few shots or scenes that were said to have been in the long version when it first premiered.

To add to the confusion, a shot of Miriam Hopkins obviously nude in bed which WASN'T in the long, original version, somehow ended up in the post-code reissue version! This defies logic, but is the truth.

According to several articles on the web, including some mentioned or linked earlier on this forum, what Warner has done is used the film elements from the short version to replace damaged sections of the long version element, inserted the shot of a more "nude" Hopkins that survived in the short version element, and finally restored the Paramount logo to the beginning of the feature.

Unlike Mr. Harris, I have not yet seen this release, but as a huge fan of the film, and of Mamoulian, I cannot wait.

Warner continues to astound with their superb treatment of classics, with an ever-increasing robust release schedule of them. This JEKYLL was an unexpected bonus, added to the '41 on a double feature as part of their promotion where they allowed consumers to vote as to which titles should be given a DVD release. Only the '41 was in voting contention, so imagine my delight when I heard they were adding the '32 version as well. 2 films for the price of 1, and quite a reasonable price at that. Now Mr. Harris advises that the transfers on both titles are quite formidable. I can't wait! Thank you, WB! Posted Image

Now, if they'd only get rid of those awful, flimsy snapper cases! :wink:

#7 of 37 Larry Sutliff

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Posted December 15 2003 - 02:44 AM

Quote:
Yes, that scene has been discussed here and I know some of us including myself will be disapointed with its deletion from this dvd



That shot isn't on the DVD? Then I'm cancelling my pre-order!Posted Image

Just kidding. This is probably my most anticipated DVD right now.

#8 of 37 Russell G

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Posted December 15 2003 - 08:23 AM

I was eager for this having not seen either of these versions, and being a fan of classic horor. RAH just put the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned!

Can't wait to get this in my hands now!
My wallet cries me to sleep!
 
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#9 of 37 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted December 15 2003 - 06:16 PM

Robert Harris said:

"The missing shot is apparently a nude scene with Miriam Hopkins--
just pre-code."

Roger Rollins said:

"In 1989, MGM finally unearthed the "long version" for VHS, and eventual laserdisc release. However the film element used for this long version had damage, including splices during key scenes. It was also missing a few shots or scenes that were said to have been in the long version when it first premiered.

To add to the confusion, a shot of Miriam Hopkins obviously nude in bed which WASN'T in the long, original version, somehow ended up in the post-code reissue version! This defies logic, but is the truth.

According to several articles on the web, including some mentioned or linked earlier on this forum, what Warner has done is used the film elements from the short version to replace damaged sections of the long version element, inserted the shot of a more "nude" Hopkins that survived in the short version element, and finally restored the Paramount logo to the beginning of the feature."

So...I'm a bit confused here. Is the nude shot there, or isn't it? According to Robert Harris, it isn't. The web articles must be wrong. Is there any footage in this new DVD that wasn't in the old VHS and laserdisc?

#10 of 37 Robert Harris

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Posted December 15 2003 - 06:21 PM

This is a correction to my earlier post.

While I had the time to sample the two Jekylls, and do a rudimentary search for the missing scene...

I missed it.

As far as I know, the version now released is complete and proper...

and beautiful.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#11 of 37 oscar_merkx

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Posted December 15 2003 - 10:59 PM

wow this is great news indeed and thanks for all the info.

This is another must buy for me.

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#12 of 37 Paul_Scott

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Posted December 15 2003 - 11:25 PM

Great news for fans of Miriam Hopkins!
Can't wait to see more of her Posted Image
although i owned the LD and don't recall any readily apparent nudity.
nothing even close to Tarzan And His Mate-style in-the-buff-ness.
the scenes with Ivy did have a nice pre-code suggestiveness though.

speaking of Miriam Hopkins,anyone know who owns the rights to These Three?

#13 of 37 Robert Harris

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Posted December 16 2003 - 03:07 AM

These Three was (as I recall) a Goldwyn production, which would make it the property of MGM.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#14 of 37 Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 16 2003 - 03:16 AM

Funny, this DVD just arrived at my doorstep today.

Now to figure out which version to watch first.

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#15 of 37 StevenA

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Posted December 16 2003 - 03:20 AM

Quote:
One interesting comparison to be made is the '32 Jekyll vs. the '31 Dracula. While one, some seven decades later, still has a cinematic brilliance, the other, although a classic, seems ancient by comparison.


A great observation. The '32 Jekyll and Hyde is one of the great horror films, and still seems remarkably fresh and "contemporary"! I can't wait to get hold of this, thanks for the good news!!

#16 of 37 StevenA

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Posted December 16 2003 - 03:22 AM

Quote:
Now to figure out which version to watch first.


Ron, just MHO, but I categorically recommend you watch the '32 version first! The Tracy version may pale in comparison by watching it afterwards, but the first film is so vivid I think you'll appreciate having that be the one you are exposed to first.

#17 of 37 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted December 16 2003 - 03:33 AM

Ron, go for the 1932 version first.
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#18 of 37 Christian Preischl

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Posted December 16 2003 - 06:23 AM

I completely forgot this was being released, so thank you for reminding me. I just ordered it and still can't believe the amazing price.

And yes, definitely watch the 1932 version first.

Chris

#19 of 37 Nick Graham

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Posted December 16 2003 - 07:04 AM

Hmm, I had honestly never heard of these films before (not a big student of pre-70s classic film) but you guys have piqued my interest. Might have to pick this up over the weekend.

#20 of 37 Jay E

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Posted December 16 2003 - 07:42 AM

Definitely watch the 1932 version first, I find it much superior to the 1941 version (And check out that amazing transformation effect...done in a single unedited take!)





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