The 1932 version stars Fredric March as both the ill-fated doctor and his monstrous alter ego and won an Academy Award for his performance, making it the first horror film to ever win at the ceremony. The film was also nominated for Oscars for its screenplay and cinematography but lost out to Bad Girl and Shanghai Express respectively.


Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1932 and 1941) on DVD


State of the art technology was used to film the astounding transformation scenes. March’s Hyde make up was multi-coloured and so his appearance on screen depended on what colour filter was in front of the camera at any given time. Director Rouben Mamoulian kept the techniques secret until the late 1960s, adding an air of mystery to the film.


The 1941 version of the film was directed by Victor Fleming (The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind) and features an all-star cast of Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergan and Lana Turner. Although not an initial hit in the US at the time it went on later that year to be nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (Black and White), Best Film Editing and Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic Picture) and became a big hit around the world.


In line with other horror films of the period, it was originally pitched to audiences as a twisted romance, with posters bearing the tagline, “A good woman – A bad woman – He needed the love of both!” with reference to the romance between Tracy’s two characters and those of Bergman and Turner. Despite this, it’s for Jekyll’s terrifying transitions into Hyde that the film is remembered today.


Both stunning versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde are available from Acorn on a double feature DVD. Watch them back to back in a classic horror double bill to see how the two versions compare.