The plot really shouldn't work should it? Jekyll turning into a woman? Pfft. Yet it works wonderfully, giving us one of Hammers very best. Its played mostly straight as we follow not only Stevenson's famous literary character murdering his/her way across Victorian London, but we get Burke and Hare and even Jack the Ripper all thrown in for good measure.
Ralph Bates and in particular Martine Beswick are cracking, not only looking eerily similar but really selling the duality of the roles and the inner fight between them both. Beswick especially is both terrifying and sexy and the performances, together with some really rather clever sleight of hand and in-camera effects work over the transformations, and we get this duo that shouldn't work, but does. The script also cleverly touches on a number of bigger themes - instead of repressing the inner savage which was Stevenson's theme, this suggests repressing sexuality as the key issue. But as well as these bigger ideas, the script maintains a certain sense of inner logic - as an example, the rather easy way Hyde ingratiates her way into the affections of the good Professor is very nicely set up by a throw away line of dialogue at the very beginning (also hinting at a number of rather fruity sexual predilections shall we say that the film also sets up!), as well as the wonderful way the lines between Jekyll and Hyde are blurred from the outset - which one is the animal here?
It looks wonderful, with the Victorian streets shrouded in thick fog enhancing the gothic mood of the whole thing, and it sounds wonderful, with an overwrought score that covers the ground from jaunty musical number (the opening credits) to Herrmann-esque Psycho stings very effectively. I loved this and its an easy recommendation for fans of Hammer's gothic output - it really is up there with their best.
The disc is another belter from SC - the thick fog clouds the transfer somewhat and it comes across as not being quite as pin sharp as the previous SC remasters, but that's not the transfer's fault. It has some lovely fine detail, easily showing the detail in the outfits and on faces, together with a fine layer of organic looking grain. Print damage is completely absent and its another humdinger of a picture. The lossless mono track is just as pleasing and the disc is rounded out by another nice 20 min look back at the film from a panel of Hammer experts and the delightful Ms Beswick herself (76 years of age and that twinkle in her eye is still there, the minx!).
Summary - the best of these recent Hammer re-masters and one of the very best of their films, it had all the great Hammer gothic-ness of its 50's/60's outputs, with some of the more titillating elements of the early 70's (nudity and gore) thrown in for good measure. But its the script and performances that make it what it is. Another cracking transfer and an interesting mini-doc and its one of the easiest recommendations this year. Loved it.
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde User Review
Classic Hammer put through the gender blender produces a heady cocktailReview of Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde Blu-ray by Coz22998, Feb 25, 2018.This item was purchased for £12.50 (part of the from HMV in 2018. The reviewer still owns this product.
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