The 1931 film, made prior to the full enforcement of the Production Code, is remembered today for its strong sexual content, embodied mostly in the character of the prostitute, Ivy Pearson, played by Miriam Hopkins. When the film was re-released in 1936, the Code required 8 minutes to be removed before the film could be distributed to theaters. This footage was restored for the VHS and DVD releases.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, and Lana Turner is a direct remake of the 1931 film of the same title rather than being a new film version of the novel. It was directed by Victor Fleming, director of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz two years earlier. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the rights to the 1931 film, originally released by Paramount Pictures, in order to keep the earlier film out of circulation.The film was not the critical and commercial success that the 1931 version had been. Fredric March famously sent his friend Tracy an amusing telegram thanking him for his biggest career boost, as Tracy's performance was routinely savaged when compared with March's version. Tracy was considered too bland as Jekyll, and not frightening as Hyde.
Initial casting had Ingrid Bergman, typically cast as the demure fiancée of Jekyll and Lana Turner as the "bad girl" Ivy. However Bergman, tired of playing saintly characters and fearing typecasting, requested that she and Turner switch roles, allowing her to play a darker role for the first time. Due to the Hay's Code much of the film had to be watered down from the 1931 version. The character of Ivy Peterson had to be changed from a prostitute to a barmaid.
Which version do you prefer? 1931 or 1941? March or Tracy? Hopkins or Bergman? I'd like to hear your comments!