Doctor Jekyll And Sister Hyde (England 1971)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 2/20/02
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Cast: Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick, Susan Brodrick

An interesting spin on the Jekyll And Hyde story from Hammer Studios. Ralph Bates (with awful hair) plays the quiet Dr. Jekyll, who is diligently working on developing anti-virus solutions to combat common diseases. He soon realizes that he won't be able to complete his grand humanitarian goal within his lifetime, so he shifts gears and starts researching a means to prolong his life. He discovers that the secret to eternal youth lies within female hormones, and soon concocts a wicked brew which he tests on himself. The result is that his alter-ego emerges in the form of Mrs. Hyde, played with seductively evil glee by former Bond girl Martine Beswick. Unfortunately for Jekyll, Hyde's personality is stronger, and the two of them are stuck in a vicious tug-of-war battle for dominance. The only problem is that Sister Hyde needs a constant supply of dead young girls to extract hormones from, and that gets him/her/them into trouble with the police.

A classy looking and well made outing from director Roy Ward Baker. Bates and Beswick are fantastic, and the entire supporting cast is delightful. The film is creepy and unsettling throughout, and Jekyll's tragic journey from inspiration to obsession to madness is chilling to watch. The sets and cinematography are wonderful, and there are some clever transformation scenes. Good creepy fun in the classic Hammer style.