Sunday, 25 September 2011

If I Had a Hammer...

Sitting up late tonight, I'm watching an old favorite from the seventies - Hammer's schlock movie Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde with Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick in the dual lead role. Bates was a well known Hammer horror actor in the 60s and 70s and Beswick also made several Hammer movies (more often than not wearing a bikini),  she is better known for the all-girl fight in the Bond film From Russia with Love, when Sean Connery "wins" her in the gypsy camp. 

Sister Hyde is yet another classic mash-up amalgam of movies, this time with Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (where the potion turns Bates into the voluptuous and alluring Beswick), Burke and Hare stealing bodies for experimentation and Jack the Ripper where Bates/Beswick is killing prostitutes in the West End for their thyroid glands.

The actual scripting is this movie is almost perfect (if you're prepared to overlook the mash-up details) - balanced with dark humour and interesting plot details; the acting standards are high with great performances all round, from Bates’ frail and shrinking Dr Jekyll to Beswick’s irresistible, almost nymphomaniacal Ms Hyde; and everything comes together in one of the final and best studio pieces that Hammer studios were ever to produce.

I first saw this Hammer Horror in a drive-in theatre in the mid 70s in my home town and it is rarely played except on late night TV once every 4 or 5 years, so the DVD recorder worked overtime this weekend. The Channel 9 version is quite a "dirty" print, badly scratched and in need of cleaning, but at least this version went to air uncensored (and very late at night) unlike some of the previous broadcast versions I've watched over the years. A lovely period piece by Hammer which they did so well - an uniquely British in its approach as well.
Burn brightly, Peter

No comments:

Post a Comment