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Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
Directed byCharles Lamont
Screenplay byLee Loeb
John Grant
Story bySid Fields
Grant Garett
Based oninspired by[1] The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886 novella)
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Produced byHoward Christie
StarringBud Abbott
Lou Costello
Boris Karloff
CinematographyGeorge Robinson
Edited byRussell Schoengarth
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
August 12, 1953 (Los Angeles)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$724,805[2]
Box office$1.2 million (US & Canada rentals)[3]

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1953 American horror comedy film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, co-starring Boris Karloff, and directed by Charles Lamont.[4]

Inspired by the 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, the film follows the story of two American police officers visiting Edwardian London who become involved in the hunt for a monster responsible for a series of murders.[5]

Plot

A rash of horrific murders has terrorized London and baffled police. While returning home from a pub, newspaper reporter Bruce Adams finds one murder victim, a prominent doctor. The next day, two American policemen, Slim and Tubby, who are studying London police methods, respond to brawl at a women's suffrage rally in Hyde Park. Reporter Adams, young suffragette Vicky Edwards, Slim, and Tubby are all caught up in the fray and wind up in jail. Vicky's guardian, Dr. Henry Jekyll, bails Vicky and Adams out, while Tubby and Slim are kicked off the police force. Unknown to anyone, however, Dr. Jekyll has developed an serum which transforms him into Mr. Hyde -- the "monster" responsible for the recent murders. Dr. Jekyll, who is secretly in love with Vicky, is angered by Vicky's and Bruce's mutual attraction. He injects himself to transform once again into Hyde with the intent of murdering Adams.

Meanwhile, Tubby and Slim realize that if they capture the monster they will be reinstated on the police force. Walking down a street at night, Tubby spots Hyde (whom Slim at first mistakes for a burglar) and the boys trail him into the music hall where Vicky is performing and Adams is visiting. A chase ensues, and Tubby manages to trap Hyde inside a cell in a wax museum. By the time Tubby brings the police inspector, Adams and Slim to the scene, however, the monster has reverted to the respected Dr. Jekyll, and Tubby is once again rebuked by the police inspector. The "good" doctor, however, asks Slim and Tubby to escort him to his home. While Slim and Tubby snoop around Jekyll's home, drinks a potion which transforms him into a large mouse. Slim and Tubby bring this extraordinary news to the inspector, but the inspector refuses to believe them.

Vicky announces to Jekyll her intent to marry Adams, but Jekyll does not share her enthusiasm and transforms into Hyde right in front of her and attacks her. Adams, Slim and Tubby save her in the nick of time, but Hyde escapes. During the struggle, Jekyll's serum needle falls into a couch cushion, which Tubby accidentally falls onto, transforming him into a Hyde-like monster. Another madcap chase ensues, this time with Adams chasing Jekyll's monster and Slim pursuing Tubby's monster, who they believe are Jekyll. Reports of the monster seemingly being in multiple places at once frustrate and confuse the London police.

Adams' chase ends up back at Jekyll's home, where Hyde falls to his death from an upstairs window, then transforms back into his true identity. Meanwhile, Slim brings Tubby, who is still in monster form, to the inspector's office. Tubby bites the inspector and four officers, then reverts to his true self. Before Slim and Tubby can be reprimanded, however, the inspector and the officers transform into monsters. Slim and Tubby dash through a wall and out of police headquarters to escape.

Cast

Production

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was filmed between January 26 and February 20, 1953.[6] It received an "X" rating in Britain because of the scenes with Mr. Hyde.[7] Karloff (contrary to the credits) did not play Mr. Hyde. Once the transformation was complete, Hyde was played by stuntman Eddie Parker, who was uncredited.[8]

Reception

1963 magazine article depicting Dr. Jekyll's transformation into Mr. Hyde.
1963 magazine article depicting Dr. Jekyll's transformation into Mr. Hyde.

Contemporaneous reviewers gave the film good marks. Film Daily reported, "If the audience reaction at a sneak preview can be taken as a criterion, then Universal-International has another big treat for the Abbott and Costello fans."[9] The Los Angeles Times referred tongue-in-cheek to the liberties the script took with the original story: "If Robert Louis Stevenson is turning over in his grave, it's probably only so he can get in a more comfortable position for a belly laugh."[10] On Rotten Tomatoes, however, the film's grades are lower. It has an approval rating of 63% based on reviews from 8 critics, with an average rating of 5.86/10.[11]

Home media

The film has been released three times on DVD, on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Four, on October 4, 2005; again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection; and in the Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters Collection in 2015.

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo, p,241
  3. ^ Staff (January 13, 1954) "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953" Variety
  4. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  5. ^ Jacobs, Stephen (2011) Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomahawk Press p.365
  6. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  7. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  8. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  9. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  10. ^ Furmanek and Palumbo
  11. ^ "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2021-01-01.

Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 4 April 2022, at 23:31
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