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Mad God

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


  • DVD Version
  • German Free TV
Release: Mar 27, 2011 - Author: Frankie - Translator: Mr Miau - external link: IMDB
About the movie

The movie adaption of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from 1941 was already the twelth time it was transferred to the silver screen (and the second time as a “talkie”. However, the 1941 version primarily be seen as a remake of Rouben Mamoulian's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which was released by Paramount in 1931. When MGM decided to do the remake, they bought the rights for Maoulian's movie, stopped its publication and locked it away for 25 years. As director they chose Victor Fleming (Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz), the actors were prominently cast as well: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner are all starring in the movie.

The story is well-known: Dr Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) believes that every human harbors both good and evil within himself, this is not taken well by his colleagues and the father of his fiance Beatrix (Lana Turner). Nonetheless he continues his experiments and develops a serum which induces the desired effects on the test animals. As the ultimate test he tries it himself: the polite Dr Jekyll transforms to his evil self Hyde. Victim of his wicked fantasies is barmaid Ivy Peterson (Ingrid Bergman), which he met before as Jekyll. Jekyll's game is going well as long as he thinks that he can control Hyde through an antiserum, but then it stops to work...

In comparison to Marmoulian's movie, Fleming's version is a lot softer, partly because of the Production Code, which forbade “morally inacceptable” displays. This is why the prostitute Peterson of the 1931 movie (the code was not enforced until 1934) became the barmaid Peterson. Additionally, Fleming has a more psychological approach and does not use many of his predecessor's horror elements. Hyde's appearance differs a lot from other adaptations as well, which was one reason why critics were rather harsh with Tracy, calling him inapt for this role (something he admitted himself later). Even though I prefer the 1931 version, the film of '41 is more than just ok due to a great perfomance by Ingrid Bergman, the very nice scory written by Franz Waxman and Peter Ballbusch's extradordinary montage style.

About the versions

This is a comparison between the British double feature DVD by Warner Home Video and a Free TV broadcast of the German public channel ARD from 02 May 2011, which will be called German Version from now on.
It is striking that the German Version has a significantly different running time compared to the DVD Version.

Comparing the two versions, I could find 40 differences. However, the German Version lacked some material as well. Some of these differences can be called insignificant (like longer scene transitions and similar things), others are rather essential for the movie. Especially the monologues, but also the two transformation scenes are longer in the German Version, the latter having been the main victim of censorship 60 years ago.

However, I still do not know why the German Version is so remarkably longer – if a reader knows more about I would be happy about any information I can get. While doing my research for this comparison, I was able to gather the following knowledge (in chronological order):

  • US premiere on 12 August 1941 in New York – the movie catalogue of the American Film Institute and the Turner Classic Movies database both state 127 min as the running time (TCM also notes that there were 11420 feet on 13 reels, which equals 127:14 min.

  • September 1941 cinema release in the US

  • 07 Oktober 1941 BBFC rating in the UK - 126:40 min, featuring the comment that the movie was cut

  • 13 May 1949 German permiere

  • 1954 re-release in American movie theatres

Additionally, it has to be said that the German TV Version is not completely uncut itself considering the original running time of 127 min, which equals 122 min in PAL. I think that there are two possible explanations for the difference between the two versions here.

On the one hand it is possible that the US version was cut afterwards, possibly between the premiere and the general release, whereas the uncut version got shipped to Europe. A comment of the Hays Bureau, which was responsible for the sticking to the Production Code, concerning the transformation scenes supports this:

After completion of the film, the Hays Office raised strong objections to portions of Peter Ballbusch's two montage sequences, which take place just after Jekyll turns into Hyde. In the first montage, the office requested the removal of several minor shots, plus the shot in which "Tracy is shown lashing the two girls" and a mention of the 23rd Psalm. In the second montage, the studio was told to delete "All scenes having to do with the swan and the girl, and the stallion and the girl." The first montage was edited so that in the released film there are no shots of either "Ivy" or "Bea" receiving lashes, but there are medium close-up shots of "Hyde" using a whip. There were no words from the 23rd Psalm in the montage, but "Poole" recites the first lines, "The Lord is my shepherd..." at the end of the film. In the second montage, all of the required eliminations were made.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941). In URL: Summaries/D/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941).htm (Access: Feb 2011)

As the comparison shows, the transformation scenes are longer indeed, although the alterations are mentioned in rather general terms. (The whipping is essentially the identical and the 23rd psalm cannot be found there either. The stallion can be seen in the second scene, but the swan is nonexistent in both versions.

A second possibilty is that the movie was shown in the American cinemas uncut but then was cut for the rerelease or a later TV broadcast. Then, the cut version was used as master for the home cinema releases. This sounds plausible as the German VHS was released 1999 with a running time of 109 min. A user-generated (and therefore possibly unreliable) entry in the IMDB hints at this, too.

In the original theatrical version, once Dr. Jekyll is first transformed into Mr. Hyde, he walks up to a mirror in his laboratory. As he stares into it he questions his face saying such things as, "It's my face, yet it isn't" This is followed by him exclaiming, "Can this be evil?" In later TV prints, the earlier lines are missing. They're inexplicably missing to this day. Either the negative was damaged or the cuts were made on purpose.

o.A.: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) - Trivia. In URL: (Access: Feb 2011)

Whatever the reason, it is really a pity that a cut version was used for the DVD master version.

Comments regarding the comparison

This cmparison was created with great care. However, I cannot rule out the possibility that some of the time designations differ by a few seconds. I would also like to add that i did not include mastering mistakes shorter than a second. Especially at scene transitions, a lot of differences were visible due to damaged master tapes. All time designations refer to the DVD Version. A time designation in red indicates that the DVD is longer there.
The German Version's opening credits are in German plus the MGM lion is missing.
+20 sec
DVD VersionGerman Version

02:28 - 02:32
The zooming in on Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) is a bit longer.
5 sec

The departure from the church is longer as well. This way some dialog of Beatrix' (Lana Turner) father Charles is missing. He is greeting someone, then he tells his daughter that they had just enough time for a drive through the park.
6 sec

At the end of the carriage ride, Beatrix is giggling longer. The DVD merely hints at it whereas the German Version shows her in a close-up. The following shot starts earlier as well.
7 sec

The carriage ride after Jekyll left the hospital is longer, too. He can be seen from the side and when the carriage stops the driver tells him that they arrived. Jekyll then gets out of the carriage, approaches the door and enters the house. On the DVD, there is a fade over from the carriage ride to him entering the house.
16 sec

The German Version lacks Jekyll throwing the bottle into the fireplace.

+5 sec

Cut to a lady sitting at the table. She cannot take Jekyll's elaborations anymore and wants to get him to change the topic by saying his name.
3 sec

The fade over is earlier on the DVD again, there the group cannot be seen getting out of the carriage, stepping through the gate and going to the door.
5 sec

After Jekyll brought Ivy to her house and carried her to the door, the DVD lacks him carrying her up the stairs. They talk while being watched by a nosy neighbour. The chat is rather insignificant, she tells him where exactly she is living and asks whether she was too heavy. Jekyll mentions Hercules carrying Athena, she is impressed by his education.
20 sec

Something is missing in the German Version here. After Jekyll left Ivy's room, she can instantly be seen from the right side. The DVD contains some more things inbetween, first she can be seen from the left side but turns to the right. Cut to Jekyll going away from the door and walking though the corridor. Here, the DVD shows the view from the right.
+7 sec

The research montage is shorter on the DVD, a sudden jump in the score can be heard as well. The German Version features some more of Jekyll's entries, which indicate that there were some more failed tests. The transition to the next scene is slightly different as well.
16 sec

Jekyll's letter was “germanized” by reenacting the scene with German writing. The transition is different as well because of this.
no difference in time
DVD VersionGerman Version

32:58 - 33:03
Some parts of the subconscious montage after Jekyll takes the serum and falls down were shortened or removed completely.
The part in which an arm is coming out of some mud or a moor was cut in large parts. The following scene, in which Beatrix is wearing nothing but a corsage and playing an instrument fading away so it looks as if she was stroking herself was removed and this hint at Jekyll's suppressed sexuality is missing completely.
15 sec

The following montage alluding to Jekyll whipping both Beatrix and Ivy lacks a cut from Jekyll to a lion.
1,5 sec

After Jekyll woke up as Hyde, he is going away and takes a right turn before the DVD cuts away. The GV shows him walking along a glass wall after this.
19 sec

The beginning of Hyde's monologue in front of the mirror was removed. He asks who this could be and that his face had changed in a strange way, looking different but still similar to his own.
26 sec

Some parts of the monologue are missing again. After he asks “Can this be evil?”, he is talking about the irrational notion that evil was something bad. He adds that evil was something beautiful and nice, the the scene of him laughing follows.
23 sec

After Charles has found Beatrix at Jekyll's and has told her that they would leave the country the next day, the GV shows more than the DVD's departure of Beatrix. Charles goes to Jekyll and gives him the advice that conduct was very important in the human existence. Fade to black.
13 sec

Another “germanized” letter.
No difference in time
DVD VersionGerman Version

44:15 - 44:21
The second transformation scene was partly cut again. In the first montage (with Beatrix), all of the scenes with the lion were removed and the first shot of Beatrix (whose facial expression could be interpreted sexually) fell victim to the censors, too. On the other hand, the DVD features a shot of Ivy lying in the grass, laughing. However, it is placed rather illogical as the Ivy part follows later.
12 sec

44:39 - 44:41
The last part of the transformation scene was shortened significantly again. The complete fight between the lion and the stallion is missing, Ivy lying in the grass and laughing can be seen twice, one of those shots was used earlier on the DVD.
8 sec

After the transformation, the DVD cuts directly to the “Palace of Frivolities”. In the German Version, Hyde is asking Ivy's neighbour where she was.
29 sec

Some dialogue between Ivy and Hyde is missing when they are talking about her apartment. He says that she deserved something better and when she replies whether he had expected the Buckingham Palace, he laughs.
20 sec

Another reenacted letter scene.
No difference in time.
DVD VersionGerman Version

A newspaper article was translated as well.
No difference in time.
DVD VersionGerman Version

The letter and the article can be seen at the same time.
No difference in time.
DVD VersionGerman Version

59:29 - 59:37
Identical dialogue, but different scene transitions in the two versions.
2 sec

After Hyde suggested the Royal Albert Hall, he talks longer about it. He says that this was the place where the high society went when they wanted to stay among themselves although the men would rather go to a girl in order to tell her her garther was too tight. In between two cuts to Ivy.
18 sec

Hyde returns to the laboratory. He unlocks the door and the Butler can be seen entering Jekyll's bedroom. The GV shows the butler sweeping the entrance to the laboratory first. He enters the bedroom after he heard Jekyll opening the door.
18 sec

Hyde's speech was shortened when he confronts Ivy with the fact that he and Jekyll are one person. He tells her to look closely at him and asks her to look for remains of Jekyll in his face. The two versions are in synchronicity again when they show the close-up of Ivy.
37 sec

Another part of his monologue is missing. After “It is quite clear, isn't it?”, he asks her whether she wanted to live her life in permanent confusion and states that this would be awful.
9 sec

Hyde can be seen longer in a threatening close-up.
4 sec

After Jekyll's butler does not let Hyde in, the following scene is longer again. The DVD fades to the policeman instantly whereas the GV shows him trying to open the door with a piece of metal first.
17 sec

Another letter was translated and the key used is not the same as in the original. The German Version is shorter due to the changed transitions.
+2 sec
DVD VersionGerman Version

The scene transition was shortened significantly. The German Version shows Jekyll walking along the fence, walking through the gate and approaching the door. There, he hesitates and then goes along the house wall. The DVD Version starts again when he can be seen from behind as he stands at the house corner.
47 sec

More shots of Hyde evading the police.
13 sec

After Hyde returns to the laboratory, the German Version shows him trying to mix the antiserum.
8 sec

The DVD lacks Hyde/Jekyll's long monologue in front of the mirror and directly cuts to the police breaking the main door. The mirror image in the German Version, however, turns into Hyde and he starts to talk. He confronts Jekyll with his responsibility for the bad things that happened and tells him that he will not be able to wriggle out of this affair. When the police knocks at the door, he says that they might have a chance to escape together, but Jekyll smashed the mirror on the floor.
109 sec

107:01 - 107:34
The German Version is missing some parts during the ending. The butler is kneeling next to Jekyll's corpse and starts to pray: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." Fade to black.
+14 sec

The ending credits are longer on the DVD.
+16 sec