Queued in Fridays: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Welcome to Queued in Fridays. Here I will make my way through my ever growing Netflix queue, talking about each film as I go. I will start at the beginning and go through the movies in the order they’re in. By doing this, I’ll be able to watch a lot of pictures I’ve been meaning to see for a while and you, kind reader, will get more content and more variety. To start us off, we have the 1920 silent version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeI wouldn’t say we have a story but a series of strange occurrences that lead to a tragic conclusion, probably appropriate considering the book is called The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll (John Barrymore) is an upstanding doctor. He’s generous, kind, and puts others needs before his, even giving medical care to the poor of London. One night, Jekyll is having dinner with a few men. One of them is Sir George Carew (Brandon Hearst), the father of Jekyll’s fiancée Millicent (Martha Mansfield). Sir George is an awful man. He’s the type of person you meet and wonder “how did you grow up to be such a terrible human being.” Sir George begins to berate Jekyll for his wholesome and good nature. “No man could be as good as he looks,” he tells Jekyll and the others. The guests all stand-up for Jekyll and his honorable reputation. Jekyll denies that he’s neglecting himself because it is by serving others that one develops himself. Jekyll is then horrified by this line from Sir George.

“Which self? Man has two – as he has two hands. Because I use my right hand, should I never use my left? Your really strong man fears nothing. It is the weak one who is afraid of experience. A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. With your youth, you should live – as I have lived. I have memories. What will you have at my age?”

Jekyll can’t get it out of his mind. He devises a potion that will let out the darker half of himself. Thus yielding to his evil side but leaving “the soul untouched.” From this scientific discovery comes Mr. Hyde.

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