Breening Thursday #51. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” from 1931 by Rebekah Brannan; #AMonthWithoutTheCode #7

AUGUST IS

This article was written by Rebekah Brannan as part of the Breening Thursdays series.

It’s that time of year again, folks! For all of August #AMonthWithoutTheCode2020 we will be limiting our watching and reviewing to films made outside of the American Breen era (1934-1954), when Joseph Breen was head of the Production Code Administration (PCA). This month can really make us miss and therefore appreciate even more our favorite Code films. However, if it’s too much for you, you can always get a breath of fresh air from Tiffany’s year-long series, 100 New Code Films.

BREENED

In 1920, the popular stage and screen actor John Barrymore played the title roles in Paramount’s grand silent adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s immortal novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Eleven years later, in 1931, the studio decided to revive the story with the new phenomenon of sound. They originally hoped for the great Barrymore to reprise his portrayal of the infamous dual role. However, when he turned the role down, it eventually went to a young actor quite noted for bearing a striking resemblance to him, Fredric March. From his hair styling to his make-up design to his frequent profile shots, it is quite apparent that the filmmakers sought to portray their new lead as a second Barrymore. However, with his remarkable performance and distinct acting style, he distinguished himself admirably in the role, winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor and gaining the movie the first Oscar granted to a horror film. However, from Hyde’s horrific appearance to the brazenly loose character Ivy Pearson, this dark pre-Code film is riddled with problems. In my article, I will show how this film, with the guidance of the PCA, could have been made clean and appropriate for all audiences. Now, the lights dim, the theater hushes, and the dark screen transforms to a moving picture! Now, remember that it is unscientific not to admit the possibility of anything, because here comes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

  1. The first problem occurs when we are introduced to Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins). While walking through London at night, Dr. Jekyll (Fredric March) and his friend Dr. Lanyon (Holmes Herbert) hear shouting nearby. Dr. Jekyll rushes to the scene of the conflict and finds Ivy being accosted and abused by a brutish man. As he carries the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1injured young woman up to her room, a man begins to explain the situation to Dr. Lanyon. He begins, “One of Ivy Pearson’s callers….” He is interrupted by a nearby woman but tells her to shut up and repeats his line before it fades to Dr. Jekyll carrying Ivy into her room. The first part of the conflict is acceptable, since it is somewhat like the scene which introduces the character of Fantine in the 1952 Les Miserables. However, the bystander’s mention of “one of Ivy Pearson’s callers,” is too suggestive of her being a member of the oldest profession. Instead, he should say something like, “Ivy Pearson had a gentleman caller with her….”
  2. When Dr. Jekyll carries Ivy into her room, it is revealed that she is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 2wearing a blouse with an extremely low, square neckline, and buttons all the way down the front. Her chest is shockingly revealed, and the buttons seem rather suggestive. The neckline must be raised to a decent height, and the buttons should not go all the way down the front. There should either be just two or three buttons at the neck, or they should go down the back instead. In addition, her blouse seems to have come partially unbuttoned during the struggle, so that the camisole is showing in several places. This is unacceptable as well. As a general note, throughout the film, she doesn’t seem to be wearing a corset, as any woman except the lowest kind would be wearing in this era. She should wear a corset at all times.
  3. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 3When Dr. Jekyll lays Ivy on her bed, she says that the man has killed her, breaking her jaw and her knee. As she says this, she pulls up her skirt to inspect her injured knee. This is suggestive and should be changed. Instead, she should feel her knee through the skirt.
  4. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 4At first, Ivy is just angry and upset, but when she finally takes a good look at Dr. Jekyll, her manner changes entirely. She gazes at him for a long moment, looking quite impressed, then pulls her skirt up above her garter to show him a bruise on her thigh Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 5where the man kicked her. He touches the area with his fingers, saying that it’s only a bruise that will soon heal. Then, he taps her garter and says, “By the way, you shouldn’t wear so tight a garter. It’s bad for you. It…” At this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 6point she cuts him off by grabbing his hand and pressing it over her garter while gazing at him seductively. He smiles at her, seeming to be enjoying himself a little too much, then pulls his hand away slowly while saying, “It impedes Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 7the circulation.” This entire exchange is quite unacceptable. When Ivy first gets a good look at Dr. Jekyll, she may seem slightly enamored and a bit flirtatious, but she shouldn’t give him the once over like she does. Showing her bare leg above the garter is extremely suggestive, especially since this is set in the Victorian era. Instead, she should hold out her arm and show him a bruise there instead. Then, she may grab his hand and gaze at him a little flirtatiously, but not too brazenly.
  5. After this, she continues to hold onto his hand and says, “It’s awful Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 8kind of ya’ to look after me. Anyone can see now that you’re a real gent, you are.” Then, she starts to run her hands up the front of his coat and begins trying to embrace him as she says, “Now, you’re the kind a woman would do something for.” This line is very suggestive and must be removed. The first part of the line about him being a gent may remain, but her manner should only seem grateful and slightly flirtatious, not brazen and seductive.
  6. Dr. Jekyll gently pushes her arms away, saying she’ll be alright, then bids her goodnight. She grabs her side and cries out, saying that her caller broke her ribs, too. She then dramatically proclaims that she’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 9going to faint then rather unconvincingly falls back against her pillows, only to open her eyes a few seconds later when he comes over and feels her abdomen. She winces slightly as he touches her ribs, thought it seems to be more from delight at his touch then from pain. If she were wearing a corset, as she ought to be, it would be impossible for him to feel her ribs through it, so his examination of her torso would be futile. Instead, she should say that he has broken her shoulder, then perform her false faint. Then, he can gently touch her shoulder and tell her she’s alright. She may smile at him as he does this, but she shouldn’t be wincing with such delight.
  7. After this, Dr. Jekyll says, “You’re not seriously hurt. A bit of a rest would do you no harm though.” She impishly asks, “You think I ought Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 10to go to bed?” He replies, “I know of no better place for a rest.” She innocently says, “Oh, alright.” This entire exchange, especially her line about going to bed, is unacceptable in its present state. Instead, he should just say, “It wouldn’t do you any harm to go to bed and have a good rest, though.” She should smile gratefully and say, “Alright.” However, she may not deliver the line like she does in the existing film. Her tone must not be at all suggestive, and her manner should be grateful and a bit pathetic.
  8. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 11In accordance with his instructions to go to bed, she says, “You turn your eyes away now,” and he walks away, out of camera range. Then, she proceeds to get entirely undressed. It seems that, despite her instruction for him to look away, he is watching her get undressed, since his shoes seem to be pointing Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 12toward her when she throws her garters at his feet. The version I saw of this film did not include the entirety of this scene, which was censored at some point, but I have read that it includes an actual nude shot of her for five seconds, though whether it is from the front or the back I couldn’t say. What I did notice, however, was that her garter somehow ends up back on her bare leg, so he must have given her garters back to her at some point. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 13Eventually, she climbs into her bed, quite obviously naked. Then, he approaches her and touches her abdomen asking, “How’s the pain now?” In reply she grabs and kisses him, pulling him down onto the bed with her. After a little too Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 14long, Dr. Lanyon walks in and exclaims, “I say!” Dr Jekyll pulls away from Ivy, revealing her bare back and practically revealing the entire right side of her chest, before she pulls the blanket around herself. Seeming rather relieved, Dr. Jekyll exclaims, “Oh, Lanyon!” Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 15Then, he rises and prepares to leave, as Ivy pulls back the blanket so that she can hang her shapely leg over the edge of the bed. Dr. Jekyll laughingly says, “I’m a doctor, you know, and I’ll call that kiss my fee.” As Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 16he leaves with an appalled Lanyon, Ivy says, “Come back soon, won’t ya’?” He replies, “Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t.” However, she insists, “Oh, yes, you can.” Then, she whispers, “Soon….” He bids her goodnight, and she whispers alluringly, “Come back.” The camera pans down to her bare, gartered leg, swinging back and forth Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 17like a pendulum. However, even as it fades to the next scene of Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll walking away from her boarding house, talking, there is an echo of her whispering for him to come back, and a transparent shot of her swinging leg remains over the screen for twenty-seven seconds! I suppose this is to show that Dr. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 18Jekyll’s thoughts are lingering on her, but it went on for so long that it practically ceased to be suggestive and became annoying. I almost wondered if the editor had just forgotten to fade! This entire section must be changed. To even suggest that she is in bed nude is completely unacceptable, and the kiss is extremely lustful. After he tells her to go to bed and she agrees, he should kindly pat her on the shoulder and say goodnight. At this gesture, she should jump up and kiss him, but they should quickly be interrupted by Dr. Lanyon. Dr. Jekyll’s line about the kiss being his fee and his exchange with Lanyon at the door may remain. She may still ask him to come back, but her tone should be more frightened and slightly pathetic, as though desiring his protection. His reply may remain the same, but he should say goodnight immediately after it and walk out. As he leaves, she may call, “Oh, please come back.” Then, as it fades to the next scene, we may here her voice echo once or twice, and the camera may linger on her for a moment, but it should not remain on her for an unnecessarily long amount of time. His multiple glances back up at the apartment portray quite plainly that his thoughts are lingering on her.
  9. The next problem is the appearance of Mr. Hyde. His appearance was based on the Neanderthal Man, and, because of this, he comes across rather like a African man. In some of the transformation sequences, when the camera Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 19closes up on his hands, they quite plainly get much darker. His nose was also altered with prosthetics to make it look wider and flatter than it is, and his hair is quite dark and kinky. This could be offensive to black people and must be altered. His skin should not be so dark, and his hands should be shown getting hairy instead of growing darker. His nose should be rather lumpy and odd-looking rather than so definitely wide and flat. His hair should not be short and kinky, but should be long and stringy like it is shown in some illustrations of the Neanderthal Man.
  10. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 20When Mr. Hyde goes to a music hall to find Ivy, there are some dancing girls performing. Their costumes are little more than embellished leotards, and they are cut a bit too high on their legs, especially for the Victorian era. They should be wearing skirts which at least reach to their knees. They’re Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 21choreography is also unacceptable, as it includes too much pointed gyration of the hips. It must be revised. Also, later on, there is a pointed focus on their legs as Hyde surveys the restaurant. This is unacceptable and must be removed.
  11. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 22As he walks through the restaurant, Mr. Hyde inappropriately runs his hand over the upper back of a woman wearing a dress which seems to be falling off of her. Her dress must be made decently high and supported in the back, and he must not touch her as he walks by.
  12. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 23Later, when Hyde sits down at a table, there is a statue of a naked woman in plain sight on a shelf behind him. This is unacceptable and must be removed.
  13. Soon, Ivy enters the restaurant. She sits on a table, a glass of beer in her hand, and a rather familiar fellow seated Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 24next to her pats her on the thigh, then leaves his hand there. Ivy begins to sing a song, the lyrics to which are, “Champagne Ivy is me name. / Champagne Ivy is me name. / Good for any game at night, my boys. / Who’ll come and join me in a spree?” One of the nearby men says, “I will,” and they all laugh. Her manner is acceptable, but the man must not pat her leg, and the last two verses of the song must be revised. Instead, she could sing, “Glad to join you in a drink, my boys. / Oh, come and join me in a song.”
  14. After this, her overly-familiar companion pats her again and says, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 25“You’re a bit of something to look at and listen to, dearie.” She replies, “Not half-bad, so they say.” He laughs and says, “You ain’t conceited, are ya’?” She suggestively replies, “Well, I has me points.” He laughs, then someone hails him and he takes his leave, patting her again and saying he’ll be back soon. This entire exchange is rather suggestive and largely unnecessary. After she finishes her song, the camera should cut to Mr. Hyde hailing a waiter and saying his existing line, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 26“Tell that wench in black to come over and have a bottle of wine with me.”
  15. It soon becomes apparent that Ivy’s dress, when shown from certain angles, is quite low. The neckline must be raised so that her chest is not exposed, and the dress must not look like it is falling off.
  16. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 27When Ivy comes over, Hyde says, “Ah, but you are pretty, and what a figure, my dear. What a figure!” While it’s alright for him to notice her figure, he only needs to remark on it once, and he shouldn’t seem quite so aroused.
  17. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 28Later, when she tries to excuse herself, saying she needs to go home, Hyde grows angry, calling her home a pigsty. As he says this, he spits slightly. This is vulgar and should be re-filmed.
  18. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 29When he says she should have a place worthy of her, she responds, “Buckingham Palace, I suppose?” As she says this she also spits slightly. This should be re-filmed, as well.
  19. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 30After this, he invites her to sit down and says, “You should have a place that would set off that fine body of yours. The yellow hair and pale face, hmm?” As he says this, he pulls off the feather boa she has around her neck and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 31gestures his hand around her shoulder rather suggestively. The line and his gesture are unacceptable and must be changed. Instead, he could say, “You should have a place worthy of beauty such as yours. The yellow hair and pale face, hmm?”
  20. After this, he continues, “Clothes to match, too, my dear. Silk, eh? And Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 32a, uh, a bracelet or two, hmm? Champagne to drink, eh? How would you like that?” As he says this, he continues to gesture around her shoulders suggestively. While the lines may remain, the gestures must be removed, and it shouldn’t seem like he’s thinking less of clothes than what would be in them.
  21. At the mention of all these lovely things, Ivy starts smiling and asks, “And how am I to get it?” He suggestively replies, “How, uh… do you Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 33think you’re going to get it, my bright little burden?” At this, she grows angry and pushes his hand away, revealing that he had it on her somewhere beneath the table, presumably her leg. This entire exchange is unacceptable and must be removed. Instead, as he says his previous lines about the finery she should have, he should grab hold of her hand, only for her to push it away in disgust. Thus, the objectionable exchange would be removed.
  22. Later, angry that Ivy pushed him away, Hyde says, “Perhaps you prefer a gentleman, eh? One of those fine-mannered, virtuous, and honorable Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 34gentlemen. One of those panting hypocrites who like your legs but talk about your garters.” This is obviously a reference to Dr. Jekyll’s earlier line about Ivy’s garters being too tight. Since I eliminated this previous line, it makes this one not only objectionable but also unnecessary. The last phrase of his line should be, “One of those hypocrites who wants to kiss you but gives you a pat on the shoulder instead.”
  23. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 35After this, Ivy asks him what he’s talking about, obviously frightened by his direct reference to Dr. Jekyll. With evil mirth, he replies, “Oh, my poor little innocent. It doesn’t know what I’m talking about. Well, well, well. It’s afraid of  me, is it?” It is degrading to refer to a woman as it, and this must be removed. The line may remain, but he must refer to her as she, and he shouldn’t seem so evilly gleeful.
  24. As they’re talking, Ivy’s earlier companion comes over in a rage and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 36accuses Hyde of trying to steal his girl. Angered, Hyde breaks the champagne bottle and points it at the man. After he frightens the man away thus, Ivy says, “You couldn’t have done it!” Hyde boisterously replies, “Couldn’t I, though? Why not? His face was just made for it!” It is unduly violent to suggest that he would have injured if not killed a man with a broken bottle. The line is also too violent. Instead he should grab the bottle and hold it up as though about to hit the man over the head with it.
  25. Ivy tries to run away, but Hyde restrains her and shoves her back into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 37the chair. Afterwards, he says, “Ah, you must forgive me, my dear. You see, I hurt you because I love you. I want you. And what I want, I get!” This entire line is rather objectionable, particularly the part about him hurting her because he loves her. Instead, he should say, “Ah, you must forgive me, my dear. You see I couldn’t let you go because I love you. I love you!” He can then go on to the next part of his line, which is acceptable.
  26. At the very end of the scene, he says, “You’ll come with me, eh? You’ll come with me!” As he says this, the camera zooms in on his horrifying Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 38face, until all you can see are his eyes and nose. Then, a strange sound is heard, which seems to be him hissing viciously. This is a bit too horrifying and must be changed. Instead, the camera should just focus on his face in a normal close-up, as it does at the beginning of the line, and stay there. Also, the hiss should be eliminated.
  27. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 39In the next scene with Ivy and Mr. Hyde, Ivy is wearing an extremely plunging neckline which reveals nearly all of her chest. The neckline must be raised to a decent height so that no cleavage is showing.
  28. When Hyde comes in, he eventually takes the paper from her, goes Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 40into her bedroom, and sits down on the bed. Soon, he tells her to come and sit with him. This is suggestive and must be changed. The entire scene should take place in the drawing room, with them sitting on the couch.
  29. There is a screen of some kind on the wall behind the bed which Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 41contains multiple paintings of nude women, as well as a statue of Cupid and Psyche, both nude, locked in each other’s arms. Since I have already instructed that they shouldn’t be in the bedroom, this seems like a moot point. However, whether they are in the bedroom or the drawing room, there should be no images of nude people.
  30. When Ivy sits down with him, he suddenly exclaims, “Say it aloud.” Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 42She responds, “What do you mean?” He angrily exclaims, “Don’t you think I can read your thoughts, you trull!” The italicized word is a term for a woman of the oldest profession and must be changed. The line and its delivery are already harsh enough without him calling her names. The appositive is unnecessary and must be removed.
  31. When Hyde insists that Ivy say she loves him, she finally screams, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 43“Yes, sir!” and jumps up, grasping the bed post. He puts his arms around the lower part of her abdomen and leans his head against her chest. Their position is unacceptable and must be changed. Instead, he should jump to his feet and put his hands firmly around her shoulders, in a way that is a bit possessive but not lustful.
  32. While reading the paper, Hyde saw an item that said Dr. Jekyll’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 44fiancée, Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart), has returned to London after a month-long trip to Bath. Due to this, he soon tells Ivy that he has to leave, and she tries to hide her relief. A bit later, she asks him if he’s going to leave right away, and he turns to her in surprise, saying, “Now? My dear, I’m surprised at you! What a leave-taking that would be. You wouldn’t have me go tonight, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 45would you? Would you let me go tonight? Would you?” “No, sir,” she replies tremulously. “Of course not. Quite unworthy of our great love, hmm?” he continues, as he sits down and takes her into his lap, clutching at her shoulders and chest, then kisses her forcefully on her upper chest. “Oh, no my dear,” he says. “I’m not going now. I’m going to spend the evening here with you. Just as you want. Say just as I want! Say just as I want!” “Just as I want!” Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 46she cries desperately.  “The last evening is always the sweetest,” he continues. “And what a farewell this one will be. What a farewell! I don’t know that I shall be able to tear myself away from you at all! In fact, I shall go only as far as the door, and the sight of your tears will bring Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 47me back! Does that please you, my dear?” “Yes, sir,” she responds. Then, he insists that she show her joy by singing for him. She begins singing, but she soon bursts into sobs and throws herself down on the bed. He laughs wickedly and then walks over to her. Her skirt has pulled up to reveal Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 48her garter, and he once again references Dr. Jekyll’s earlier line about them being too tight, saying they’ll bruise her “pretty, tender flesh.” He grabs her leg brutally, causing her to gasp and turn toward him. Then, he grabs her and kisses her Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 49harshly, as he slowly lowers her onto the bed and it fades out. This Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 50entire exchange is very suggestive and must be revised. The dialogue suggests too strongly that he is going to spend the night with her. Earlier, right after Mr. Hyde tells Ivy he’s going away, he puts his hand around her throat and says threateningly, “You don’t know when I’ll be back.” This seems like a very good place to fade out and end the scene, thus eliminating all objectionable points after it.
  33. In a later scene, Dr. Jekyll sends Ivy some money to ease his Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 51conscience about Hyde’s abusive actions toward her. However, before his envelope arrives, Ivy is sitting with her landlady in just her camisole, so that the former can rub salve on her back. It’s alright for her to be in her camisole, but it is much too low-cut. The neckline must be raised so that it does not reveal her at all.
  34. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 52When Ivy receives the envelope from Dr. Jekyll, she says that she doesn’t even know him, since he didn’t tell her his name when they met before. She opens the envelope and exclaims, “Fifty pounds!” The landlady says, in a rather suggestive tone, “Well, he knows you, dearie.” This should be changed to, “Well it seems he knows about you.”
  35. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 53In a later scene, Dr. Jekyll goes to see Muriel and once again beg her to marry him right away. In this scene, he kisses her. While the kiss is not too excessive or lustful, it appears to be a bit open-mouthed, especially on his part. It must be ensured that both parties have their mouths closed.
  36. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 54In a later scene, Ivy comes to visit Dr. Jekyll and thank him for the money. In this scene, she is wearing the same outfit she wore when she first met the doctor. It must be revised as before.
  37. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 55Ivy recognizes him as the kind doctor who rescued her in the street and says, “So it was you that sent me this money.” As she says this, she pulls the money out of her blouse. This is unacceptable. She should take it out of her handbag instead.
  38. Later, Ivy tells Dr. Jekyll that she can’t take the money. When he asks her why, she exclaims, “Why?! Why?! Here’s why! Here’s why! Pretty, ain’t it? It’s a whip! That’s what it is, a whip!” As she says this, she pulls the front of her blouse open and slips it off of her shoulders to show Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 56him the marks on her back. Although she is wearing a camisole, it’s inappropriate for a woman to pull off her blouse in front of a man. After all, this is the Victorian era, and she previously showed that she was attracted to Dr. Jekyll. Since the blouse has been revised so that the buttons go down the back instead of the front, her method of ripping it off would be impossible anyway. Instead, she should be wearing a different blouse with a slightly low back and a little coat. To show Dr. Jekyll her wounds, she can turn her back to him and pull the coat off of her shoulders. Also, the fact that she had to pull off her blouse to show the marks implies that she was undressed while with Mr. Hyde. However, if they can be seen in a low-backed blouse, she might very well have been wearing that same blouse when he beat her.
  39. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 57Ivy then tells Dr. Jekyll about Hyde and desperately begs him to help her, falling to her knees and grabbing onto his leg desperately as he sits down in a chair. As she does this, he pulls her hat off and begins soothingly stroking her hair. This seems a bit too familiar and should be changed. Instead, he should rub her back or pat her shoulder.
  40. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 58As Ivy pleads with Dr. Jekyll, she says that she’ll do anything he likes if he’ll protect her. Eventually, she looks up at him, now seeming less desperate, and says, “I’ll do anything you like. I ain’t as bad as you think… And I ain’t a bad looker either.” He puts one hand on the side of her face as she smiles up at him and says, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 59“I’ll work for you! I’ll slave for you! I’ll love you!” After a pause, she adds, “You liked me once, didn’t ya’? Why don’t you?…” As she says this, he leans down as though he’s about to kiss her but then changes his mind and pulls away. This interaction is unacceptable and needs to be altered. Instead, she should say, “You know, I ain’t as bad as you think. I’ll work for you! I’ll slave for you! I’ll be good, I will, if you’ll only help me.” In addition, the near kiss should be removed.
  41. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 60In a later scene, when Muriel and her father are giving a party, Muriel is wearing a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 61dress with an unacceptably low neckline. The neckline must be raised to ensure that she is not indecently revealed.
  42. In the next scene. Ivy is once again wearing a very low neckline. It must be raised to a decent height.
  43. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 63In this scene, Mr. Hyde barges into Ivy’s apartment, enraged by her visit to his nemesis, Dr. Jekyll. At one point, he exclaims, “I’ll give you a lover now; his name is death!” This line is unacceptable and should be removed.
  44. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 64After this, he chases her over to the couch and continues his angry accusations, despite her protesting it isn’t true. He angrily pulls Dr. Jekyll’s money out of her top and throws it away as he says, “You have his money here now!” The line may remain, but he must not pull the money out of her top.
  45. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 65He eventually chases her into the bedroom. Although there is no implication of an illicit night in this scene, it is best to stay out of the bedroom in general. They should be in the drawing room, as before.
  46. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 66When he chases her into the bedroom he grabs her by the throat as she screams in terror, overpowering her and lowering her out of sight behind the bed as he says, “There, my dove. There, my little prize.” The camera reveals the statue of Cupid and Psyche behind Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 67them. After a moment of silence, while still hidden behind the bed, he can be heard saying, “Isn’t Hyde a lover after your own heart?” As he says this, Ivy can be heard making slight gasping and choking noises. Finally he rises, making a strange hissing sound, and looks down with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 68evil glee at her unseen lifeless body. Then, it cuts to the landlady and several other tenants at the bottom of the stairs to her apartment, apparently roused by the sound of her screams. The landlady says, “Oh, something horrible’s happening up there.” Then, the small group Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 69rushes up the steps, only to be met by Hyde making his escape from the apartment. Hyde’s aforementioned lines are too sadomasochistic and must be removed. Also, the strangling is much too violent. He may be shown grabbing her throat and beginning to overpower her, but it should quickly cut to the people gathering in the hallway, as Ivy’s screams are heard. After a few moments of silence, the landlady will say her line, and the group will run up the stairs as before.
  47. In the next scene, Dr. Jekyll reads an item about Ivy’s murder in the newspaper. It reads, “A particularly brutal murder occurred in Soho Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 70last night, when Ivy Pearson, a resident of Diadem Court, was done to death by a man named Hyde, with whom she occupied an apartment.” While the italicized line is not illuminated like the earlier part of the item, it is objectionable and must be removed.
  48. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 71The next day, Dr. Jekyll, overcome with remorse at what he has done while under the control of his monstrous alter-ego, goes to Muriel’s house to set her free. In this scene, she is wearing a rather low neckline. It must be raised so that she is not inappropriately revealed.
  49. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 72In this scene, the suffering doctor tries to tell Muriel how far he has fallen without explaining exactly what has happened. In doing this, he uses the words “hell” and “damned” twice each. When she asks him if he still wants her, he Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 73replies, “Want you?! I want you so that I can envy the damned! I am damned.” Later, when she begs that he let her help him, he says, “I am beyond help, Muriel. I am in hell… I’m in hell. I must give you up.” Although he does not say these words irreverently, saying them both twice is excessive. Instead, the first line should be, “I want you so much, my darling but… I am condemned.” The second line should be cut down to merely, “I am beyond help, Muriel… And I must give you up!”
  50. With each transformation, Mr. Hyde began to look gradually more grotesque, and Dr. Jekyll began to look more and more like him, as if Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 74he hasn’t fully transform back into himself. In the last scene, when Jekyll transforms into Hyde for the last time, he looks unacceptably grotesque. His bottom eyelids are pulled down unnaturally, the odd lines in his face are even deeper than before, his skin tone is worse than ever, his fangs seem to be even more prominent, and his hair is sticking out in all directions. However, he is unacceptably grotesque. He may look a bit worse than he has previously, but he should not be so horrific.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 75

This concludes my breening of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As you can see, with the alteration of just forty-one points, this film could be acceptable for all audiences. I found the story a bit disturbing, since it is always upsetting to see someone’s life be ruined in so short a time. However, this doesn’t mean that we working for clean movies should shy away from it. Some stories do have disturbing elements to them which even careful breening cannot remove. However, with the removal or revision of the points I mentioned above, the story would have less focus on naked women and violence, and more on the moral of the story. Very similarly to the stories The Invisible Man and Frankenstein, this story teaches how dangerous it is for a man to try to play God. I personally found the scene where Dr. Jekyll admitted to God that he had trespassed on his territory and asked for forgiveness very moving and memorable. With fewer low necklines and garters, scenes like that one would become the focus of the film, as they should be. I hope you enjoyed this breening journey, and I look forward to our next venture into the dangerous world of un-Code films. I’ll see you next time!

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 76

Have an Enlightening #AMonthWithoutTheCode2020.


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One thought on “Breening Thursday #51. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” from 1931 by Rebekah Brannan; #AMonthWithoutTheCode #7

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