The Son of Dr. Jekyll
“So, the stuffed shirts thought they’d get you to knuckle under, did they.”
“They did, until I reminded them that I was your protégé, and your motto was ‘No Compromise.’”
“Well, that was before they knighted me.”
Edward Jekyll, who resigns from the Royal Academy of Science and takes up residence in his father’s London townhouse, where Lanyon and Utterson witnessed the doctor’s terrible end, chased by a torchlight mob, home and laboratory fired, the monster falling from an upper floor to the street below (the opening sequence, a bravura night piece), a man described by Lanyon as “unpopular”, the late Henry Jekyll, author of Studies in Abnormality and An Experiment in Changing Human Personality, the latter in manuscript.
Edward is cheerful, soon to be married. “What’s the Royal Academy got that I haven’t?”
“Poobahs,” Lanyon tells him. The influence of Welles (Citizen Kane, also The Stranger) is on the film perceptibly. “A bad dream,” says Michaels the manservant, “I have ‘em as well, Sir, even when things are tiptop. There’s no explaining it, I expect.”
Mrs. Jekyll was in show business, murdered by her husband. “I suggest that the face in the mirror was yours, but in your tortured mind it became the image of your father.”
“It couldn’t have been!”
The conclusion is a variant of the opening, “enough light for everyone to see the truth.”
Leonard Maltin, “poorly scripted, produced; cast manages to save film from complete ruin.” TV Guide, “moves so slowly, the audience wants them both dead and buried anyway.” Hal Erickson (Rovi) observes no transformation, “can scarcely be designated a horror film,” it is exceptionally well-managed. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “irresistibly silly”.