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Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde (1995, Tim Daly, Sean Young)

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‘There are some things that are inherently funny in the universe,’ Tim Daly observes, ‘and one of these is the sight of a man in drag.’ The star of Diner gets plenty of opportunities to test out his comic thesis in this lively and imaginative new take on the Jekyll and Hyde tale. ‘I think I can say with pride that there’s no redeeming social quality here whatsoever,’ Daly adds, ‘but, having said that, people will get a good laugh out of it. The humour is classic and genuine, not cheap.’ With a script written by the men responsible for Twins, the timeless gags are matched by some great comedy cameos (notably from Harvey Fierstein and Thea Vidale) and sensational special effects by Kevin Yagher.

Daly stars as Dr Richard Jacks, a New York scientist whose personal relationship with live-in fiancée Sarah Carver (Lysette Anthony) is strained by his unfulfilling day-job at a perfume company and his nocturnal research into the work of his great uncle, Dr Henry Jekyll. Jacks decides that Jekyll’s dual-personality formula could be harnessed for good if its aggression-producing ingredients were replaced by oestrogen. His experiment is successful and he’s transformed into a woman, Helen Hyde (Sean Young). Unfortunately, this female Hyde is just as ruthless as her male predecessor, and seduces several of Jacks’ work colleagues – including the boss, Oliver Mintz (Stephen Tobolowsky) – and advises Sarah to move out of the apartment. With Helen threatening to take over his life, Jacks becomes embroiled in a farcical fight for survival and a unique battle of the sexes.

Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde takes great pleasure in reinventing Robert Louis Stevenson’s original, and Sean Young, who was pregnant during filming, is perfect casting as the hard-hitting vamp. Tim Daly has a lot of fun in a dress – he may have turned to elder sister Tyne (of Cagney and Lacey fame) for advice on acting like a woman – and makes the most of the opportunity presented to him after the film’s original star, Jim Carrey, decided to make Dumb and Dumber instead.

production details
UK – USA | 90 minutes | 1995

Director: David F Price
Writers: Tim John, Oliver Butcher, William Davies, William Osborne, suggested by the novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

cast
Jeremy Piven as Pete Walston
Stephen Tobolowsky as Oliver Mintz
Tim Daly as Dr. Richard Jacks
Sean Young as Helen Hyde
Lysette Anthony as Sarah Carver
Harvey Fierstein as Yves DuBois

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