The 1941 version of the oft-filmed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde does not have a very good reputation, and while it certainly is flawed it just as certainly doesn't deserve as bad a rap as it has been given over the years. Yes, it undoubtedly pales in comparison with the 1932 version, which could take advantage of the leniency of the pre-Code years to emphasize the sexual aspects of the story, something the 1941 version was not at liberty to do. And yes, MGM may not have been the studio to tackle this story, being more interested in gloss and glamour than in the dirty depths that the story needs to examine. But given these drawbacks, Jekyll actually ends up being a pretty engaging variation on the tale. Spencer Tracy, unfairly maligned just because he can't measure up to Fredric March's earlier magnificent portrayal, is still quite good. He has enough power and presence to make the part interesting, even if he can't explore the depths that March was allowed to. And Ingrid Bergman is stunning as his barmaid lover. True, her accents comes and goes, but that doesn't keep her from creating a touching, vulnerable creature that captures the viewer's heart. This Jekyll is far from perfect, but it has enough going for it to deserve viewing.
by Craig Butler review