TV Terror Guide: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1968)


Air Date: Jan. 7, 1968

Production Companies: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Dan Curtis Productions

Running Time: 120 min.

Available on: DVD (MPI Home Video)

Written by: Ian McLellan Hunter

From the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson

Directed by: Charles Jarrott

Cast: Jack Palance, Denholm Elliott, Leo Genn, Torin Thatcher, Rex Sevenoaks, Gillie Fenwick, Elizabeth Cole

We’ve been working through our 70’s TV movies chronologically. I originally didn't include this one because it wasn't technically a "1970s TV movie." However, it easily belongs with the others and did have a major re-airing in 1974. Plus, it acts as a bridge to go back to the future next week where we left off in 1974... with another Dan Curtis production, Scream of the Wolf.

And, as a special treat, I present an excerpt from a feature I wrote for the upcoming We Belong Dead publication, Masters of Terror. In it, I discuss the influence of gothic literature on Dan Curtis and how it was reflected in a number of TV horror films that he produced, as well as the daytime series, Dark Shadows (1966-1971), which he created. Please enjoy this sneak peek, and keep your eyes and ears open for information about purchasing the book...

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is a lush production, excellent in nearly every regard. With a full two-hour running time, it must have originally filled a three-hour time slot. (It was rebroadcast in two parts on ABC’s The Wide World of Mystery on July 1 and 2, 1974.) As in almost every subsequent Curtis production, the atmosphere is appropriately eerie, helped in no small part by the musical cues of Bob Cobert. Yes, the tunes are familiar, as they were used in Dark Shadows… and in most other Dan Curtis productions. Palance is superb, particularly as the sometimes-mousy Jekyll; he seems more suited to play the larger-than-life Hyde. At first, his transformation seems minimal, but when shot from various angles, you realize the accomplishment of makeup artist Dick Smith in creating a unique character.

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Dark Shadows featured a variation of the Jekyll-Hyde story as part of its 1970 Parallel Time plot, which aired over the course of 92 episodes (969-1060) between March 12 and July 17 of 1970. Cyrus Longworth (Christopher Pennock) was the physician friend of Quentin Collins (David Selby) who was working on a potion that would separate the good and evil aspects within man. When he tested it on himself, he transformed into John Yaeger, a madman who wreaked havoc in Collinsport. As in Curtis’s movie version, he eventually needed no potion to transform. When he kidnapped Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott), Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) came to her rescue and Yaeger was killed, transforming him back into Cyrus Longworth.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is available on DVD from Amazon.com. Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch other great movies from this series...

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