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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

USA 2002
produced by
Mark Redfield, Stuart Voytilla, Terry Woods (executive) for Redfield Arts
directed by Mark Redfield
starring Mark Redfield, Elena Torrez, Kosha Engler, Carl Randolph, Howell Roberts, R.Scott Thompson, E.John Edmonds, Jeff Miller, J.R. Lyston, James Nalitz, Jennifer Cortese, Josh Petroski, Robert Leembruggen, Ronald Burr, Alena Wright, Melanie Ambridge, Ronald Burr, Nicole Stover Woods, Brad Marshall, Tom Brandau, B.Thomas Rinaldi, Chuck Richards, James Mills, Brian Naughton, James Griffith, Randolph Aitken, Martin Thompson, James Laster, Leo King, Joel Mason, James Hackman, Hawkins Weber, Keith Thompson, Thomas E.Cole
screenplay by Mark Redfield, Stuart Voytilla, adapted from their play, based on The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, music by Nalin Taneja, special effects by Norman Gagnon

Jekyll and Hyde

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde is probably one of the most dramatized and filmed novels there ever was, from the late 1800s (it was written in 1886) onwards, so when in 1991, Mark Redfield and Stuart Voytilla adapted the novel for the stage, they were left with the question of how to surprise an audience familiar with the story's basic plot - and they did so by going back to the source novel and try to infuse a few twists of it usually lost in other adaptations ... like putting the starting point of the play well after Jekyll has tried his serum that turned him tino hide and playing up the mystery rather than the horror aspects of the story. (Still, in other parts, it has to be noted, Redfield and Voytilla departed significantly from Stevenson's novel, at least in part explainable by the relative brevity of the novel itself.)

 

In 2002, Mark Redfield turned the play into a movie, which pretty much follows the stage version:

Lawyer Utterson (Karl Randolph) and Doctor Lanyon (Chuck Richards) worry about their friend, Dr Jekyll (Mark Redfield), who seems to be under the evil influence of one individual called Hyde (also Redfield, of course), and who even neglects his fiancee Miriam (Kosha Engler). The whole situation gets out of hands of course when someone who has been identified as Hyde beats Miriam's brother Mordecai (R.Scott Thompson) to death, after which Miriam kills herself.

Overcome with grief, Jekyll turns into Hyde for good - did I even have to mention they are two aspects of the same person seperated by a drug, Jekyll the proposed saint and Hyde the proposed monster - and makes a prostitute (Elena Torrez) his companion, freaking her out when he brutally kills her pimp (Robert Leembruggen) - but not before giving him his drug and turning him into a saint.

Eventually though, the police catches up with Hyde, and when his attempts to turn back into Jekyll lead to naught, he spectacularly hangs himself.

 

Now this is a movie that would have deserved to be shot on film rather than video, that would have deserved a decent budget to afford convincing sets ... but even as it is, Mark Redfield's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is quite remarkable, a self-consciously old-fashioned movie that nevertheless offers a refreshingly different approachto a way-too-familiar story (see above), and it dares to be intelligent rather than sensationalist as way too many other shot-on-video films (and big budget Hollywood productions, as it is). Plus the film is incredibly well-acted, especially Elena Torrwz as the prostitute and of course amrk Redfield, who is almost annoyingly (but suitably) uptight as Jekyll and uncannily menacing as Hyde.

Recommended, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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