***The great movie (and other stuff) website Wonders in the Dark has just started a 100-strong countdown of science fiction movies that’ll be running for the next few months. I’ve volunteered to write a couple of the entries; my first effort appears today. While I was writing it, it struck me that, if you leave to one side the fantasticated elements, you have here a movie that’s not so very far off a period noir.
by John Grant
This is widely regarded as the best screen version ever made of Stevenson’s classic tale. Alarmingly, we’re lucky to have it. When MGM was preparing to release its 1941 adaptation, with Spencer Tracy in the dual role, the company, in an act of cultural philistinism that’d almost surpass belief were it not that there have been other examples, sought out and destroyed every print of the 1931/2 adaptation that it could find. It was not until 1967 that a print of the Mamoulian movie was uncovered, and even then it was only the post-Code reissue of 1936, from which about eight minutes had been cut (from the middle of the first transformation to the middle of the second, which must have made things pretty confusing for audiences). At last, in 1994, an unbowdlerized print was discovered, so that now we’re free to watch it in all its…
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