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Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1953; vt Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde). Universal-International Pictures. Directed by Charles Lamont. Screenplay by Howard Dimsdale (uncredited), John Grant and Leo Loeb based loosely on Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Cast includes Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, Eddie Parker (uncredited), Craig Stevens, Helen Westcott. 76 minutes. Black and white.

In late nineteenth-century London, inept US policemen Slim (Abbott) and Tubby (Costello) are studying UK police methods when there is a series of murders blamed on an unknown Monster. Visiting American reporter Bruce Adams (Stevens) attempts to solve the case. The three become involved in a protest by suffragette Vicky Edwards (Westcott) in Hyde Park; all four are briefly jailed. They are bailed out by Dr Henry Jekyll (Karloff), Vicky's patron since her childhood, who loves her. Against the spirit of the original (and of all known adaptations), Jekyll has knowingly invented a potion to transform himself into the murderous Mr Hyde (Parker) and murder those against whom he holds grudges – now including Adams, who has fallen in love with Vicky. En passant, Tubby is accidentally injected with the potion, turning into a comic version of Hyde. Various chases ensue. Hyde falls to his death from a rooftop. Before the formula's effects wear off, Tubby bites several policeman, transforming them into yet more monsters who pursue the heroes at the film's conclusion.

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is an intentional travesty of the original Horror in SF story (see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde); it benefits from Karloff's presence. As usual when he portrayed one of the studio's monsters, veteran Universal Studios stunt performer Parker plays Mr Hyde uncredited. The comic team had previously co-starred with Karloff in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949), a mystery-suspense comedy with no fantastic content. [GSt]


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