Robert Stevenson’s novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has long attracted the attention of many film-makers, painters, and writers. The idea that several personalities can co-exist in a human being can greatly appeal to many people who may want to explore it in their works. This is why many films, comic books, or novel contain a direct or indirect reference to this novella. Moreover, this literary work has often been parodied.
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This paper is aimed at discussing such a movie as Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde directed by David Price. The authors of this film do not focus on the moral duality of a person. Instead, they pay more attention to the idea that gender distinctions can often be artificially constructed (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde). So, Stevenson’s work serves as a starting point for the movie, but the film-makers use it to express different ideas.
First, it should be noted that the movie tells the story of a perfumer Richard Jack who is a descendent of Dr. Jekyll. The main protagonist takes interest in the work of his ancestor and studies his notes. However, to his amazement, the substance invented by Dr. Jekyll turns him into a woman who calls herself Helen (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde). Later she starts a career where Richard works and wants to replace him as a perfumer (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde).
Certainly, this film relies on Stevenson’s novella, but the film-makers concentrate on how modern people perceive gender differences. In part, the film-makers want to explore some of the stereotypes popular in the modern society. For example, Richard Jacks wants to achieve success as the main perfumer of the company and become the owner of this business. Nevertheless, Helen’s intention to take over the company is perceived as vanity. So, the film-makers pay close attention to these stereotypes.
Special attention should be paid to one of the scene at the beginning of the film. When, Richard concocts the substance created by his ancestor, he drinks it (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde). The film-makers are able to portray his horror when he understands that his experiment leads to unexpected results (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde).
On the whole, it is possible to say that Stevenson’s work has been used in order to produce a comedic effect on the viewer. This scene completely contradicts the expectation of many people, but it is definitely worth attention, especially if a person wants to see how a literary work can inspire film-makers.
Certainly, the readers of Stevenson’s novella may be slightly disappointed by this film because they certainly expect to see the conflict between the good and evil within an individual. Certainly, the film uses the plot of the novella; nevertheless, it serves as a framework to explore different themes, especially popular views on the differences between two genders.
So, this discussion shows that Stevenson’s novella is still of great interest to film-makers. Certainly, there are many works that are inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and these characters can even be used for comedic purposes. The film that has been discussed here shows that this literary work can lay the basis for a comedy that does not necessarily explore ethical concepts.
Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. Ex. Prod. Frank, Isaac. London: Savoy Pictures. 1995. DVD.