Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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(5/10) In a nutshell: This 1913 version of the famous story is almost half an hour in length. It has some impressive production values, but falls short because of movie megastar King Baggot’s unintentionally comic portrayal of Hyde.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 1913, USA. Directed by: Herbert Brenon. Written by Herbert Brenon, based on the stage play by Thomas Russell Sullivan (uncredited), based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Starring: King Baggot, Jane Gail. Produced by Carl Laemmle for IMP/Universal. IMDb score: 5.3

King Baggot scaring a whole tavern to death with his Jerry Lewis teeth.

King Baggot scaring a whole tavern to death with his Jerry Lewis teeth.

1912-1915 was something of a golden age for filmatisations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s sci-fi horror novel Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Hot off the heels of the 1912 version starring James Cruze (review) came the first 1913 version directed by one of the more prominent directors of the early silent era, Herbert Brenon. The film starred King Baggot, Hollywood’s first true leading man and international star. In many ways it is superior to its 12 minutes long predecessor (which was the 6th known version of the story), but the triple running time isn’t enough to make this film one of the greats. The biggest problem is the Hollywood star himself, who creates a bizarre portrait of Jekyll/Hyde. Continue reading