Connect with us


Movies

Dr Jekyll And Sister Hyde (Hammer 1971, Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick)

Published

on


The Avengers creator (and co-producer with Albert Fennell) Brian Clemens rang some highly entertaining changes on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for this stylish Hammer shocker whose heady ingredients include, noted Village Voice, ‘transvestite overtones, lesbian overtones and bi-sexual overtones’ while still remaining (relatively) faithful to the thrust of the original.

Victorian doctor Ralph Bates is seeking the elixir of eternal life and becomes convinced that the answer lies in female hormones. He obtains these for his experiments from the corpses of young women and when he samples the resulting potion he is transformed into a young and beautiful lady – Martine Beswick. His reaction to this extraordinary metamorphosis is a blend of loathing and fascination but he determines to carry on his innovative line of scientific research. To this end he hires the notorious grave-robbers Burke and Hare – Ivor Dean and Tony Calvin – to provide him with a regular supply of fresh corpses. But when they are apprehended, Bates is forced to turn to murdering prostitutes to further his aims. And his situation becomes even more complicated and fraught when he begins an affair with Susan Broderick, who lives above his apartment. Bates becomes increasingly dominated by the murderous Beswick, who kills for him and even conducts an affair with Broderick’s brother Lewis Fiander. Finally the police, with the help of Bates’ friend and colleague Gerald Sim, start to suspect him. While his dual identity at first saves him, Bates finally falls to his death when the police chase him onto a rooftop…

On paper the concept of revising Jekyll and Hyde as a sex-change shocker must have seemed fraught with problems and likely to result in disaster. In the event, however, Clemens’ witty, creative screenplay managed ingeniously to bring Burke and Hare and even Jack the Ripper into the story without straining it at the seams and, happily, played the drama straight and refused opportunities to guy it. Director Roy Ward Baker, although not a Gothic stylist in the tradition of Hammer auteur Terence Fisher, nonetheless made an excellent job and, noted Monthly Film Bulletin, ‘manages the whole thing superbly… Baker and his cameraman Norman Warwick have done a lot to make the film visually attractive’ and, similarly, production designer Robert Jones was equally deserving of praise of the atmospheric Grand Guignol look of the production which, as usual with Hammer, belied its relatively low budget.

‘As with Hammer pix, production values and performances are of a high standard’, enthused Variety, ‘Hammer’s casting chief Jimmy Liggatt has engaged solid first-rate established players like Gerald Sim and Dorothy Alison and talented newcomers who give added credence to the whole. Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick, strong, attractive personalities, bear a strange resemblance to each other making the transitions entirely believable. They are admirable’. Monthly Film Bulletin was in agreement, noting ‘Bates is infinitely better at being Henry Jekyll than he was at being Baron Frankenstein’ (in 1970’s Horror of Frankenstein) ‘and the transformation sequences are stunning, with Bates appearing momentarily emasculated before being transformed into is seductive alter ego, Martine Beswick’ and concluded: ‘It’s surprising, when one considers the symbolic power of sexual transformation in most mythologies, that it has been taboo in the cinema for so long… the film remains a welcome reminder that Hammer can still be highly enterprising myth-makers.’ Variety called it ‘an above average horror pic… Baker has set a good pace, built tension nicely and played it straight so that all seems credible. He tops chills and gruesome murders with quite a lot of subtle fun.’

Advertisement

production details
UK | Hammer | 97 minutes | 1971

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writer: Brian Clemens

cast
Ralph Bates as Dr. Jekyll
Gerald Sim as Professor Robertson
Dorothy Alison as Mrs. Spencer
Neil Wilson as Older Policeman
Philip Madoc as Byker
Martine Beswick as Sister Hyde
Lewis Fiander as Howard
Susan Brodrick as Susan
Ivor Dean as Burke
Irene Bradshaw as Yvonne
Paul Whitsun-Jones as Sergeant Danvers
Tony Calvin as Hare
Dan Meaden as Town Crier
Virginia Wetherell as Betsy
Geoffrey Kenion as 1st Policeman

Advertisement

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation
News2 hours ago

The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation: Wearable Muscles (CBS Saturday March 2, 2024)

At 11:30 AM on Saturday March 2nd, CBS presents a new episode of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation titled “Wearable...

Mission Unstoppable Mission Unstoppable
News2 hours ago

Mission Unstoppable: Gibbons, Glowing Liquid, and Geomorphology (CBS Saturday March 2, 2024)

Mission Unstoppable airs a brand new episode titled “Gibbons, Glowing Liquid, and Geomorphology” on CBS at 12:00 PM on Saturday...

Hope in the Wild Hope in the Wild
News2 hours ago

Hope in the Wild: Owl Aboard (CBS Saturday March 2, 2024)

Hope in the Wild returns with a heartwarming new episode titled “Owl Aboard!” airing on CBS at 12:30 PM on...

48 Hours 48 Hours
News2 hours ago

48 Hours: The Menendez Brothers’ Fight for Freedom (CBS Saturday March 2, 2024)

On March 2, 2024, viewers can watch a special episode of 48 Hours on CBS and Paramount+, titled “The Menendez...

The Pioneer Woman The Pioneer Woman
News2 hours ago

The Pioneer Woman: Perfect for Two (Food Network March 2, 2024)

Fans of The Pioneer Woman are in for a treat with the upcoming episode titled “Perfect for Two.” Ree Drummond,...

Hard Truths of Conservation Hard Truths of Conservation
News2 hours ago

Hard Truths of Conservation: Hunting in the Kiwi Wilds (HISTORY March 2, 2024)

On Saturday March 2nd at 9:00 AM., History Channel presents a new episode of Hard Truths of Conservation titled “Hunting...

My Classic Car My Classic Car
News2 hours ago

My Classic Car: Oregon Mountain Cruise (MotorTrend March 2, 2024)

My Classic Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss the latest episode airing on MotorTrend on Saturday March 2nd at 8:30...

The Bachelor The Bachelor
News4 hours ago

ABC’s The Bachelor Final Four airs Monday March 4

In the latest episode of The Bachelor, titled “2808,” viewers will witness an exhilarating and nerve-wracking journey as Joey embarks...

Catch Me A Killer Alibi Catch Me A Killer Alibi
News7 hours ago

UK Premiere for South African Crime Drama Catch Me A Killer

Prepare to immerse yourself in the chilling and thought-provoking world of Catch Me a Killer, a brand new series making...

World's Most Dangerous Roads Sri Lanka World's Most Dangerous Roads Sri Lanka
News7 hours ago

World’s Most Dangerous Roads: Sri Lanka Sunday 3 March on Dave

The latest episode of the UKTV Original series “World’s Most Dangerous Roads” continues to take viewers on thrilling and awe-inspiring...

Bangers & Cash Bangers & Cash
News7 hours ago

Bangers & Cash Series 9 Episode 4 Thursday 7 March on Yesterday

The latest episode of the UKTV Original series “Bangers & Cash” continues its exploration of classic vehicles. In this brand...

Dream Car Fixers Dream Car Fixers
News7 hours ago

Dream Car Fixers Series Premiere Tuesday 5 March on Yesterday

In the series premiere the UKTV Original series “Dream Car Fixers,” lifelong friends Sheldon Nichols and Peter Harriott showcase their...

Natural History Natural History
News7 hours ago

Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough: Love and Rivals Part 2 on Sky Nature 3 March

In the latest episode of “Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough,” viewers are treated to an exploration of the...

Rob Beckett's Smart TV Rob Beckett's Smart TV
News8 hours ago

Rob Beckett’s Smart TV: Daniel Mays, Nicola Coughlan, Richard Ayode (Sky Max 7 March)

In the brand-new episode 2 of Rob Beckett’s Smart TV, viewers can expect a fast-paced comedy quiz show that revolves...

Forensics: Catching the Killer Forensics: Catching the Killer
News8 hours ago

The Real Manhunter: The Peter Bryan Case (Sky Crime 4 March 2024

In the latest episode of The Real Manhunter, ex-detective Colin Sutton takes a closer look at the chilling case of...

Starz Acquires UK Drama Mary & George Starz Acquires UK Drama Mary & George
News8 hours ago

Mary & George Series Premiere on Sky Atlantic Tuesday 5 March

Prepare yourself for the brand new series premiere of “Mary & George” on Tuesday 5 March 2024 at 9.00pm, exclusively...

Popular