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Film / The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

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The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a 1960 Hammer Horror film. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it takes many tropes common in adaptations of the work and turns them inside-out.

Dr. Henry Jekyll (Paul Massie) is a devoted man of science, which leads to him having zero social skills and less time to spend with his wife, Kitty (Dawn Adams). Deciding the loneliness is too much to bear, she cheats on him with their mutual friend, the gambler Paul Allen (Christopher Lee). Jekyll, unaware of this, ignores the warnings of his colleague Dr. Littauer (David Kossoff) and determines to find out firsthand what makes man evil by testing his newly-developed drug on himself.

The monster that emerges, Edward Hyde, is disarmingly handsome and completely amoral. After seducing the exotic snake charmer Maria (Norma Marla), he grows bored with conventional debauchery and sets his sights on Kitty—in effect planning to have an affair with his own wife. Hyde tends to Paul Allen's gambling debts as bribery, then attempts to blackmail them, but where those fail murder succeeds. Hyde successively murders Jekyll's friends and loved ones, and a distraught Kitty takes her own life out of grief. If that wasn't bad enough, Hyde decides to frame Jekyll for his crimes, knowing that the doctor will have to cede control to him lest he be a hunted fugitive. At the very last moment, Jekyll is able to regain control and submits to arrest by the police, stopping Hyde at the cost of his own freedom.

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This movie contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Jekyll forcing control back from Hyde at the worst possible moment leads to him accidentally strangling Maria to death.
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with. While most adaptations have Jekyll with two women who both love him while he has eyes for only one, here he's already married and Hyde lusts after two women, one of whom doesn't know Jekyll at all. Kitty also struggles between her marriage to Jekyll and her love for Paul Allen.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jekyll's wife and friends are movie-exclusive, though Littauer takes Lanyon's general role.
  • The Casanova: Hyde is incredibly charming and self-serving, spending a lot of his time seducing women.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Paul Allen and Hyde.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Paul Allen's death, Kitty steps off a balcony and crashes through a glass roof onto the party guests.
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  • Evil Is Sexy: Invoked. In contrast to the book's ugly depiction of Hyde, here he's a handsome man, and appears so charming that none of the characters believe him to be evil at first.
  • Frame-Up: After killing Littauer, Hyde stages a struggle and frames Jekyll for his crimes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Paul Allen, disgusted by Hyde's request to "borrow" Kitty, is "shocked into morality" as Hyde puts it.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Maria.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The amount of sexual content gotten past the radar is astounding, and the overall plot is more sensual than more straightforward adaptations.
  • Internal Deconstruction: The movie plays around with tropes commonly found in Jekyll and Hyde adaptations, showing that there's downsides to being Jekyll as well as Hyde, and Jekyll devoting all of his time to his work wouldn't result in his love staying with him regardless. It also has Jekyll killing the Veronica of the relationship by accident, when in most adaptations Hyde kills her on purpose.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Dr. Jekyll is hirsute, unkempt, ill-tempered and mannerless; Hyde is clean-shaven, well-dressed, well-mannered, and charming. But Jekyll's still a decent guy, and Hyde is thoroughly depraved and evil.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Kitty and Maria fill the role. Hyde is a male version.
  • No Social Skills: Jekyll spends so much time in his lab he has little in the way of social skills or manners.
  • Reality Ensues: In adaptations and the book, Hyde delving into the seedy parts of town usually has him frighten others away, or goes without incident. In the film, since he's a handsome, wealthy man it results in him getting beaten and robbed.
  • Schmuck Bait: The prostitute Mary who entices and distracts Hyde by posing as a demure virgin, allowing her uncle to mug him.
  • The Sociopath: Hyde feels neither remorse for his crimes nor hatred for Jekyll, viewing him and everyone else as either toys to be played with or obstacles in the way of his plans.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Both Jekyll and Hyde are alive at the end of the film, though in police custody.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Hyde tries to enforce this trope.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Kitty cheats on Jekyll with their best friend, Hyde cheats on Kitty with Maria, and Hyde takes it even further by trying to cheat on himself with his wife.

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