Dover Beach By Matthew Arnold Essay, Research Paper
Robert Louis Stevenson?s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has evolved into one of the most acclaimed pieces of literature in modern American society. One aspect of a continual spark of interest with the novel is motion pictures. Various directors through the years have interpreted the book through their own eyes and the following is a depiction of that. One might question Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?s overwhelming success. Theme restaurants, Broadway shows and movies all have indicated a public interest in the classic. Americans especially have been fascinated with Stevenson?s portrayal of the split personality Dr. Jekyll whom many can relate too.
The first movie that I decided to use for this examination is the 1932 restored version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, directed by Rouben Mammoulian. I thought that Mammoulian?s attempt to depict the novel was excellent. When reading the book, I saw many of the faucets of the novel that I would have expected to come up in a motion picture.
The separation between good and evil was done brilliantly through Mammoulian?s use of lighting. The most evident example of this is through the eyes of Dr. Jekyll. When Jekyll is running through his daily routine, the sets are bright with adequate lighting. On the other hand, when Mr. Hyde comes into the picture the scenes drastically become dark and frightening. I think this split is in conjunction with the two personalities that Dr. Jekyll displays. A scene in the movie that makes the disparity so clear is when Dr. Jekyll first discovers the potion that creates Mr. Hyde. The lighting in the laboratory was not the best, but after the transformation takes place it seems like a torrential downpour just took place and the set is almost black. Another scene that pops into my head is when Dr. Jekyll is relaxing in the park one afternoon and the change takes place. It reminded me almost of the opposite of the Wizard of Oz, when the movie went from black and white to color. Good and evil are clearly depicted through the image of lighting in this movie.
Another element of the direction that was credible was that of both the costume and the scenery. In the movie there were excellent depictions of the time period through dress. This made the movie more believable and the flow smoother. I feel that when a director exerts the effort into the little things such as costumes, the picture is almost always better than expected. One of the faucets that made the transformation from separating my mentality that I was watching the movie and not reading the book was the interaction of characters. From the Muriel?s father?s dinner party to Poole, the smooth transition that Mammoulian incorporated in his direction was second to none. It was also impressive to note that this movie is over 60 years old and that as I watched it, I felt like this was the most accurate portrayal of Robert Louis Stevenson?s novel that I have ever watched.
There are several elements or subplots that were evident in the 1932 version of the novel that were nowhere to be found in the original masterpiece. One of the most evident is Dr. Jekyll?s love interest, Muriel. Rouben Mammoulian added an entire twist to the movie that served as a way of relating how the transformation of Jekyll and its effect on others. Muriel essentially is Dr. Jekyll?s fiancée whom he is madly in love with. As the movie progresses we see how this new invention that the doctor has discovered transpires him into an evil man and how the relationship quickly takes a turn for the worst.
You can clearly see that Mammoulian wanted his viewers to notice that the transformation was costly in the relationships with the people that Dr. Jekyll loved and cared about the most. Another important plot that the book includes but is nowhere to be found in the movie is the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. The importance that this character displays in the book is central to the turning point in the novel because we discover how evil and warped Mr. Hyde is. Hyde takes these distinguished politicians life in cold blood and it is the first time that we learn what a sinister character he is. This version of the movie has a completely different plot that substitutes for intention of the role of Sir Danvers Carew: We are introduced to Ivy Pearson, who coincidentally was aided by Dr. Jekyll one evening. One night after Dr. Jekyll indulges himself in his potion; he pays a visit to where Ivy works. Mr. Hyde (we will call him that to dismiss any confusion) hits on her and later intimidates her by his beastly presence. He then goes on to rape her and force an unwanted relationship upon her. Eventually, Hyde goes on to slay her because he feels betrayed that she doesn?t love him. The capacity of this plot is to serve as a portrayal of the division that exists in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I felt that this addition to the movie was superb because it did exactly what it was intended to do.
One of the more fascinating aspects of the movie was to see how the director cast Mr. Hyde. Rouben Mammoulian displays his felon as a monster who even looked like a werewolf. Mr. Hyde had an evil laugh that if you were reading Stevenson?s novel than you would feel that it was quite fitting. Mr. Hyde is not a pretty sight. He is wretched to look at, with even worse traits. In public he acts as a menace and troublemaker. He has no capacity to distinguish what is good and bad. In addition, he acts like the devil-unpredictable, cold-blooded and inhumane.
The conclusion of the movie is what established Mammoulian as a fantastic director. One of the more exquisite scenes of the movie is at the end when Mr. Hyde transforms into Dr. Jekyll as the police are searching the estate for Hyde. This scene was shot perfectly. It leaves the viewer with the impression that this is one of the craziest stories ever to surface. In addition, when I saw this final scene I thought that if I were a little child then the plot of the movie would terrify me. I think that this is what the goal of the movie was and it was achieved.
The only criticism that I would offer is the lack of narration. I felt like the movie had the ability to be just a little better with the addition of Mr. Utterson whom serves as the narrator in the novel did did. The picture could have been even more flowing with explanations and narration of some of the events of the movie. Not to say that it was necessary at all, it?s just that it would have been something that I would have include if I was directing the film.
Mary Reilly was one of the best depictions that I have ever seen of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I was very impressed with director Stephen Frear?s costume and dress use-I thought that it was excellent, therefore made the movie that more interesting. The movie itself started off very bloody. There was a lot of disgusting scenes with a lot of blood. In comparing it to the restored version of the film, there is an excessive amount of gore. In addition, I felt as if there was a drastic difference in violence when comparing the novel to the movie.
One of the elements of the direction, which I thought was excellent, was the lighting. For the most part, the movie was dark and bleak. There was so light at all. I thought this was excellent and set the tone for a gory and gruesome flick.
The characters were quite comparable to other stereotypical portrayals of the novel. Dr. Jekyll was perhaps a little more friendly at times then what I really recall from Stevenson?s novel. I thought that the depiction of Mr. Poole, the head of the servants was a little more hostile and bitter than the novel. One of the best connections of the movie to the novel is how Mary Reilly plays the role of the little girl that was assaulted by Mr. Hyde in the novel. I thought that the connection was so nonchalant and perfectly placed in the movie that I really commended Frear?s direction.
The role of Julia Roberts as Mary Reilly was Oscar-worthy. I felt that she made the movie in terms of convincing the audience that she had no idea that Dr. Jekyll was the same person as Mr. Hyde. Her performance was superb and I liked the way she reacted in scenes where she was one-on-one with both the Doctor and his assistant. One particular scene that comes to mind is when Mary and Dr. Jekyll are alone. The doctor notices that Mary has numerous scars on her arm and inquires where they came from. This ultimately leads to tension on Mary?s behalf because she really doesn?t want to inform him that her father abused her by placing her in a small cubbard that was infested with mice that bit her repeatedly. I felt that this interaction between the two serves as a way of showing the Doctors sexual attraction to her. Stephen Frear in turn lets the audience clearly know that the role of gentlemen is such that it would be wrong for Dr. Jekyll to put any type of "move" on her. Obviously when the transformation of Mr. Hyde takes place, he does what ordinarily no gentlemen would do and pursues Mary to a vast degree.
Some of the similarities (to the novel) that occurred during the film included the murder of Sir Andrew. It seemed that this was such an intricate part of the novel, however when it came to both the original 1932 version of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde and the movie the role and subplot where really not exposed to its full potential. I remember that the show had a similar bloody scene that of the movie. One of the interesting aspects of the show that I really cant say that I have seen before when it comes to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that in the show Dr. Hyde has a serious love interest whom he presses. I believe she was one of the prostitutes in the brothel. Although Mr. Hyde goes after Mary Reilly, this part of the movie was not at the importance level that I saw in the show.
One of the very interesting parts of the movie that I wanted to point out is the parallel that I saw in Mary Reilly?s father and Dr. Jekyll is that when Mary?s father would get drunk he seemed that he was just as helpless as Mr. Hyde was.
Another point that stood out in contrasting the play and movie is that Dr. Jekyll was portrayed as a much younger gentlemen. One of the more fascinating aspects of Mary Reilly that caught my eye was how elaborate the laboratory of Dr. Jekyll was. It seemed much larger than what I had envisioned in the novel and was even bigger than the one that was shown in the restored version of the novel. I thought that this was an important aspect of the movie because there was more focus upon the role of Mr. Hyde and his role in the movie (and as we know the transformations take place in the laboratory).
Another difference in the two that I noticed was the complete difference in characters. The lawyer Mr. Utterson, is completely left out of the movie but not the play. Richard Einfield is also included in the play but not the movie.
I thought that Mary Reilly was one of the more interesting portrayals of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that I have ever seen. I think that I appreciated the movie a lot more considering the notion that everything is better when you have background in the subject matter.
The final film that I viewed was entitled "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde". To be completely honest, this comedy, directed by David Price, is awful. The concept was "cute", however I felt that the movie was just released in the hopes that it would take in a good cut at the box office due to the title of the movie.
There really is little correlation between the novel and this particular motion picture. The plot behind "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde" is that aspiring scientist Dr. Richard Jax aquires his grandfather?s scientific notebooks in his will. This leads to the aid of his own experiments, and consequentially he discovers the potion for his new "self". The only problem with the formula is that he includes a little too much estrogen which when swallowing the formula, transforms him into a woman. The rest of the movie is filled with entertaining scenes about how the newly invented "Ms. Hyde" is ruining Dr. Jax?s life. I thought that the only common points that the movie shared with the novel was that the two personalities go to war with each other in the hopes to take over the body back to the respected forms.
There really was nothing concrete to compare the movie to in respect to the novel. There were no corresponding characters, subplots nor reoccurring themes to compare and contrast. Overall the movie was somewhat entertaining, but if it was the only thing on television (It would be a complete waste of money to rent) I think that I would rather find myself scrubbing the bathroom floor with a toothbrush. This may be a little harsh, but I firmly believe that David Prince tarnished a great literary work and made it into a complete mockery.
The only comparison that one would be able to attempt to make is that of Ms. Hyde to Mr. Hyde. The two characters are completely dangerous and a menace to those that get in their way. Ms. Hyde is actually attractive whereas Mr. Hyde is a completely deformed morbid individual. "Helen Hyde" shares the same master plan as Robert Louis Stevenson?s Mr. Hyde in respect that they will stop at nothing to get what they want. In this case, it was the situation where Ms. Hyde would completely take over Dr. Jax?s body. In trying to come up with another commonality, the relationship that Dr. Richard Jax has with his love interest suffers much like it does in the 1932 restored version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As time goes on and the dark personalities take over the respected souls, the relationships begin to dwindle. This seemed to be central themes in both adaptations of the novel.
As you can see film is only one aspect that our society marvels over Robert Louis Stevenson?s masterpiece. It seems that Americans grip onto this chilling tale because obviously the division of both good and evil intrigues us. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde give us the entertainment and the storyline that is appealing. Although there aren?t many versions of the movie on film it is the type of entity that will always prove to be successful. The demand for more movies based on the novel is definitely present-one can see that from how successful the Broadway show is (it is virtually impossible to come by tickets) and how thriving business with the theme restaurants.
It is, and always is interesting to see how different directors will develop and make their own adaptations based on the novel. To say the very least, their has not been a carbon copy of the novel that has been put onto the big screen. This is what makes the possibility that only more movies will charm us with the enjoyment that Stevenson intended to provide us with over a century a go.