The Son of Dr. Jekyll (1951)

76 or 78 mins | Horror | October 1951

Director:

Seymour Friedman

Writer:

Edward Huebsch

Cinematographer:

Henry Freulich

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Designer:

Walter Holscher

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

According to copyright records and reviews, the film includes a prologue which begins after “Dr. Jekyll” has murdered his wife in the guise of “Mr. Hyde.” The sequence shows Jekyll being killed by a mob. "Utterson" and "Lanyon" then take responsibility to rear the orphaned infant "Edward." The prologue was not in the print viewed, which begins with Edward as an adult.
       According to a HR news item, United Artists producer Charles R. Rogers brought The Son of Dr. Jekyll to Columbia, but the picture was released without a producer credit and Rogers' contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR also reported that early in Oct 1951, Columbia removed writer Edward Huebsch's name from the credits for a press screening. Huebsch had reportedly fled to Mexico at that time to avoid being served a subpoena by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Columbia contacted the Screen Writers Guild to act on a waiver on Huebsch's screenplay credit, but the Guild refused under the rules of the organization. The print screened contained Huebsch's credit, and it has not been determined whether Columbia ever distributed prints without the writing credit. According to modern sources, once HUAC declared that avoiding subpoenas was not illegal, Huebsch returned to the U.S., but was blacklisted.
       Although the writing credits make no acknowledgment of a literary source, the character of Dr. Henry Jekyll was taken from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . The novella has been used as the basis of several films, including Paramount's 1932 picture Dr. Jekyll ... More Less

According to copyright records and reviews, the film includes a prologue which begins after “Dr. Jekyll” has murdered his wife in the guise of “Mr. Hyde.” The sequence shows Jekyll being killed by a mob. "Utterson" and "Lanyon" then take responsibility to rear the orphaned infant "Edward." The prologue was not in the print viewed, which begins with Edward as an adult.
       According to a HR news item, United Artists producer Charles R. Rogers brought The Son of Dr. Jekyll to Columbia, but the picture was released without a producer credit and Rogers' contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR also reported that early in Oct 1951, Columbia removed writer Edward Huebsch's name from the credits for a press screening. Huebsch had reportedly fled to Mexico at that time to avoid being served a subpoena by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Columbia contacted the Screen Writers Guild to act on a waiver on Huebsch's screenplay credit, but the Guild refused under the rules of the organization. The print screened contained Huebsch's credit, and it has not been determined whether Columbia ever distributed prints without the writing credit. According to modern sources, once HUAC declared that avoiding subpoenas was not illegal, Huebsch returned to the U.S., but was blacklisted.
       Although the writing credits make no acknowledgment of a literary source, the character of Dr. Henry Jekyll was taken from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . The novella has been used as the basis of several films, including Paramount's 1932 picture Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ); and the 1941 M-G-M film of the same title, directed by Victor Fleming and starring Spencer Tracy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1951.
---
Daily Variety
3 Oct 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Oct 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 51
p. 1, 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Oct 51
p. 1074.
Variety
3 Oct 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (London, 1886).
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1951
Production Date:
13 March--30 March 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
22 August 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1117
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76 or 78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15206
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the summer of 1890, a reporter for the London Daily Bulletin receives an anonymous note about the dismissal of Edward Utterson, adopted son of eminent attorney John Utterson, from the Royal Academy of Sciences for persisting in experiments bordering on witchcraft. At the Science Exposition, Edward, undaunted by his expulsion, enthusiastically plans to continue his studies abroad and proposes to his sweetheart Lynn, who happily accepts. Edward's mentor, well-known psychologist Curtis Lanyon, is concerned about Edward's situation, and takes him to a local club, where he divulges Edward's true parentage: his mother was an actress and his father a distinguished scientist whose failed research brought about depression and madness that led to the murder of his wife and his own death. Realizing that Lanyon is relating the infamous story of Dr. Henry Jekyll, a stunned Edward hastens to tell Lynn. Edward resolves to take up his true identity, and asks Lynn to postpone their marriage until he can clear the mystery and suspicion that surrounds the Jekyll name. That evening, Edward visits the abandoned Jekyll residence and is discovered by the local constable. The newspapers report the story, and Edward's claims to be Jekyll's son, and imply that the residence is haunted. Edward restores the Jekyll home and moves in, setting up a laboratory. Lanyon then provides Edward with his father's handwritten notes on experiments in changing human personality, and Edward concludes that if he can recreate his father's experiment successfully, he can clear his name. A few days later, Edward receives a letter from former vaudevillian Lottie Sarelle, who claims to have been a friend of his ... +


In the summer of 1890, a reporter for the London Daily Bulletin receives an anonymous note about the dismissal of Edward Utterson, adopted son of eminent attorney John Utterson, from the Royal Academy of Sciences for persisting in experiments bordering on witchcraft. At the Science Exposition, Edward, undaunted by his expulsion, enthusiastically plans to continue his studies abroad and proposes to his sweetheart Lynn, who happily accepts. Edward's mentor, well-known psychologist Curtis Lanyon, is concerned about Edward's situation, and takes him to a local club, where he divulges Edward's true parentage: his mother was an actress and his father a distinguished scientist whose failed research brought about depression and madness that led to the murder of his wife and his own death. Realizing that Lanyon is relating the infamous story of Dr. Henry Jekyll, a stunned Edward hastens to tell Lynn. Edward resolves to take up his true identity, and asks Lynn to postpone their marriage until he can clear the mystery and suspicion that surrounds the Jekyll name. That evening, Edward visits the abandoned Jekyll residence and is discovered by the local constable. The newspapers report the story, and Edward's claims to be Jekyll's son, and imply that the residence is haunted. Edward restores the Jekyll home and moves in, setting up a laboratory. Lanyon then provides Edward with his father's handwritten notes on experiments in changing human personality, and Edward concludes that if he can recreate his father's experiment successfully, he can clear his name. A few days later, Edward receives a letter from former vaudevillian Lottie Sarelle, who claims to have been a friend of his mother. When Edward visits Lottie, she divulges that she witnessed Edward's father murder his mother in a fury, but Edward refuses to believe her. The press continues to hound Edward and publicize fantastic rumors about the Jekylls, while Edward proceeds daily with unsuccessful trials of his father's experiment. Lynn grows concerned about Edward's obsession, although she is relieved to discover that he has hired his father's stoic old assistant, Michaels. One night, Michaels is awakened by sounds in the laboratory. Down in the lab, Lanyon secretly adds an ingredient to Edward's partially completed formula and slips out before Michaels investigates. The next day Edward's experiment is successful for the first time, and he summons the press, Lynn and Lanyon for a demonstration, which is a failure. Depressed, Edward accepts an invitation from Lottie's son Joe to meet for a few drinks. Later that evening when a young boy, one of the constant crowd of hecklers outside Edward's house, is assaulted, Edward is arrested as a suspect. At the subsequent hearing, the Sarelles testify against Edward, who is released into Lanyon's custody. Edward sneaks away to question the Sarelles only to discover they have fled. An empty box leads Edward to a music store, where he finds Joe's pawned accordion and the family's address. At the Sarelles', Edward encounters Joe's wife Hazel, but before they can talk, Joe appears and the men fight. As a constable breaks up their row, Hazel leaves a note for Edward in the accordion, asking him to meet her at Lottie's old flat that night. When Edward arrives that evening, he finds Hazel murdered and sees a man fleeing. The police search for Edward, who hides at Lynn's. She summons John, but he disbelieves Edward's story and suggests he killed Hazel in a fit of madness. Meanwhile, Lanyon meets with Joe, who demands more money for the part he and his the family have played in deceiving Edward. Later, Edward voices his mounting suspicion to John and Lynn about Lanyon and goes to visit Michaels, who startles Edward by mentioning a particular drug in his father's experiments. Aware that that information is not in the notes, Edward realizes Lanyon has set him up and asks Lynn to retrieve the notes from Lanyon. Though doubtful, she agrees, but tells Lanyon about Edward's suspicions. When she brings Edward the notes, he notices that they are faked and risks going to his laboratory to get the originals. Lanyon arrives before him and attempts to burn the notes but Edward's arrival interferes. Lanyon explains that Jekyll's experiments ruined him and he wanted the Jekyll estate to recoup his losses. Lanyon then knocks Edward out and leaves him in the burning laboratory, where he is rescued by Michaels. The crowd that has gathered outside believe Lanyon to be Edward and force him back into the house. While trying to escape across the roof, Lanyon falls to his death in the flames. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.