Movie Adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson´s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Powerful Essays
	Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has evolved into one of the most acclaimed pieces of literature in modern American society. One aspect of a continual spark of interest with the novel is motion pictures. Various directors through the years have interpreted the book through their own eyes and the following is a depiction of that. One might question Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s overwhelming success. Theme restaurants, Broadway shows and movies all have indicated a public interest in the classic. Americans especially have been fascinated with Stevenson’s portrayal of the split personality Dr. Jekyll whom many can relate too.

	The first movie that I decided to use for this examination is the 1932 restored version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, directed by Rouben Mammoulian. I thought that Mammoulian’s attempt to depict the novel was excellent. When reading the book, I saw many of the faucets of the novel that I would have expected to come up in a motion picture.

	The separation between good and evil was done brilliantly through Mammoulian’s use of lighting. The most evident example of this is through the eyes of Dr. Jekyll. When Jekyll is running through his daily routine, the sets are bright with adequate lighting. On the other hand, when Mr. Hyde comes into the picture the scenes drastically become dark and frightening. I think this split is in conjunction with the two personalities that Dr. Jekyll displays. A scene in the movie that makes the disparity so clear is when Dr. Jekyll first discovers the potion that creates Mr. Hyde. The lighting in the laboratory was not the best, but after the transformation takes place it seems like a torrential downpour just took place and the set is almost black. Another scene that pops into my head is when Dr. Jekyll is relaxing in the park one afternoon and the change takes place. It reminded me almost of the opposite of the Wizard of Oz, when the movie went from black and white to color. Good and evil are clearly depicted through the image of lighting in this movie.

	Another element of the direction that was credible was that of both the costume and the scenery. In the movie there were excellent depictions of the time period through dress. This made the movie more believable and the flow smoother. I feel that when a director exerts the effort into the little things such as costu...

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...r the respected souls, the relationships begin to dwindle. This seemed to be central themes in both adaptations of the novel.

	As you can see film is only one aspect that our society marvels over Robert Louis Stevenson’s masterpiece. It seems that Americans grip onto this chilling tale because obviously the division of both good and evil intrigues us. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde give us the entertainment and the storyline that is appealing. Although there aren’t many versions of the movie on film it is the type of entity that will always prove to be successful. The demand for more movies based on the novel is definitely present-one can see that from how successful the Broadway show is (it is virtually impossible to come by tickets) and how thriving business with the theme restaurants.

	It is, and always is interesting to see how different directors will develop and make their own adaptations based on the novel. To say the very least, their has not been a carbon copy of the novel that has been put onto the big screen. This is what makes the possibility that only more movies will charm us with the enjoyment that Stevenson intended to provide us with over a century a go.
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