Many times we read a novel which is turned into a movie, but when we go to the theater and watch it, the movie veers far from the original plot and leaves our hearts disappointed. But this is not the case for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While comparing the 1941 movie from Victor Fleming and the original novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, negative changes are made to the adaptation, but along with these come its positive attributes that vastly improve the perception of the novel.
- The beginning paces somewhat slowly to build the background on Dr. Jekyll’s inspirations and reasoning for splitting his personalities, while his speaking of his plans publicly seem unimportant to the plot.
- The initial transformation scene between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is confusing until after the event.
- The death of Mr. Hyde is completely flipped as it is transformed from a suicide for eliminating the last piece of kindheartedness to a brief killing for the prevention of growing evil inside Dr. Jekyll’s mind.
- Dr Jekyll tries to hide behind a door when Lanyon is shooting at him, but then decides to shatter the glass window in the door to attack him.
- Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée is only introduced at the beginning and end to serve as his catalyst for his experiments and does not contribute much else to the plot.
- The love interests are introduced to not only work as a catalyst for Dr. Jekyll’s studies in splitting personalities, but to serve as insight on Mr. Hyde’s “excursions,” which are left ambiguous in the novel due to its time of publication.
- The beginning scene with the interruption of the crazed man at church service serves as a catalyst for Dr. Jekyll’s studies in the duality of nature.
- The movie does not ponder on a specific scene for a lengthy amount of time, keeping the viewer interested throughout the movie.
- Hyde is more prevalent in the movie, allowing the viewer to learn more about his mannerisms and way of thinking.
Fleming keeps to the original novel for the majority, while applying insight to Hyde’s “adventures” for the clarity of the viewer, but it veers from Stevenson’s original novel at the death of Mr. Hyde.