Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)
Dropping a Sex Bomb
Victorian London and Dr. Henry Jekyll (Ralph Bates) is on a quest to discover an elixir of life by using the hormones he removes from the corpses of dead women, freshly killed. His reasoning is that women live longer than men and he hopes that their hormones will fight of diseases. But what Jekyll didn't bank on is that his serum turns him into a ravishing woman, Sister Hyde (Martine Beswick), and in order to stay as such she goes on a killing spree so that he can create more serum.
In a day and age where a celebrity going through gender reassignment is major news it makes watching "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" a strange experience. By that I mean that I am sure that back in 1971 when "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" was made part of the movie's power was the shock of seeing a man turning in to a woman where as now part of the shock is pretty much gone. Although it does make you think that if someone could come up with a serum to turn a man in to a woman then gender reassignment would be a lot simpler.
Anyway as to the movie itself, well "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" is an interesting update on the Robert Louis Stevenson story which has been popular for years. Alongside the obvious change with Jekyll turning into a female Hyde we also have other added elements such as Burke & Hare being in Jekyll's employment to get him fresh female corpses. But what is more entertaining is that of course Hyde starts to control Jekyll's life but in a sexual way as well as a psychological way which adds to the movie's interesting re-imagining.
The thing is that whilst there are lots of good things going on in "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" and it has a fantastic look it does feel like a one trick pony and that is the sight of the sexy Martine Beswick as Sister Hyde. And yes the sight of Martine Beswick as Sister Hyde is pretty spectacular as is her femme fatale side but in a way I would have liked another layer to stop it becoming a novelty.
What this all boils down to is that "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" is certainly entertaining even over forty years later. But for me it is a movie which ends up becoming one with a novelty and is in need of something else to stop it from feeling like a novelty.
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