April 1, 1920 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1920 horror film directed and written by J. Charles Haydon, starring Sheldon Lewis, based on the 1886 novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Sheldon Lewis version was somewhat overshadowed by the 1920 Paramount Pictures version starring John Barrymore, which had been released just the month before.

Plot

The atheistic Dr. Henry Jekyll (Lewis) embarks on a series of experiments determined to segregate the two sides of the human personality, good and evil, to disprove God’s existence. His experiments cause his fiancée Bernice to call off their engagement, and in a rage, he manages to unleash the darkest part of his personality as Mr. Hyde. As the first transformation into Hyde begins, Jekyll’s butler exclaims that Jekyll is now “the Apostle from Hell!” Hyde, complete with fangs and scraggy hair, skulks through the city, committing such heinous acts as stealing a woman’s purse and killing people. The police eventually catch up with Hyde, interrogate him, put him in jail, and strap him into the electric chair. Sitting in his chair at home, Jekyll awakes violently from his nightmare to declare, “I believe in God! I have a soul…” and decides not to create the chemical potion and to embrace religion instead.

 

Cast

Sheldon Lewis as Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
Alex Shannon as Dr. Lanyon
Dora Mills Adams as Mrs. Lanyon
Gladys Field as Bernice Lanyon
Harold Foshay as Edward Utterson
Leslie Austin as Danvers Carew