Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Film: Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Director: Charles Lamont
Writer: Lee Loeb and John Grant
Starring: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Boris Karloff
This film begins with a presentable man walking down a London street. We see a monster emerge from a building. The man is attacked by the monster and is killed. We see someone come to investigate and we learn that the man was a doctor.
The next morning we see a man reading a newspaper, he is played by Craig Stevens. After reading the story, he sees someone lying on the ground behind him in the bushes. Stevens thinks him to be a victim of the monster, but it turns out to be a man sleeping.
From here we see a group of women who are trying to get support for women’s suffrage. They are led by Helen Westcott. They break out in a song to talk about their struggles and some men decide they have heard enough. A riot breaks out and the police show up.
This is where we meet our stars, played by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. They try to break up the riot, but it turns into a slapstick comedy routine that ends up with Costello being beat up by a woman. Everyone involved is taken to jail.
The women all make bail as does Stevens. Abbott and Costello are brought to the inspector’s office; he is played by Reginald Denny. We learn that they are Americans who were sent over to train with the police force in London. They are both kicked off for messing up.
We then see who posted the bail, it is a doctor who has been a part of Westcott’s life and has helped raise her, the doctor is played by Boris Karloff. He asks Westcott to come over for dinner, but she declines, having a show that night. Stevens joins them, much to the displeasure of Karloff. They all talk until they get to Karloff’s home, when Stevens goes with Westcott to her show in Karloff’s carriage.
In his lab we meet his giant assistant and we learn that Karloff has loved Westcott for awhile and he wants her to be his wife. We learn the monster we saw was Karloff, when he drinks his serum and becomes Mr. Hyde. Karloff transforms into the monster and goes to the theater that Westcott performs at.
Abbott and Costello decide they need to do something big to get re-instated into the force. Abbott says they should catch the monster. As they approach the theater, they see Karloff climb the wall. The two former cops think he is just a burglar, but decide to catch him.
As they search for Karloff, they see an actor in costume and they have to do what they can to get past the guard. Costello come face-to-face with Karloff and the chase is on. Abbott and Stevens join him to help catch the monster.
The chase takes them to the rooftops and finally to a wax museum. After some funny antics with some of the wax figures, Costello locks Karloff in a jail cell. He turns back to Dr. Jekyll and the cops scold Abbott and Costello for locking a respected member of society up.
Karloff is not upset with them and asks them to come back to his home. We think it is to be nice, but it is to take care of them, as Costello noticed his ring. His assistant tries to, but this leads to Costello finding his laboratory. Karloff then shows the lab to Abbott and Costello, with Costello drinking some weird liquid.
Abbott does not believe Karloff is the monster until Costello becomes a mouse from the drink. They are now trying to prove to Westcott, Stevens and the police that Karloff is the monster. Will they be able to prove he is the monster? Or will they be silenced before they can?
What I thought was very interesting about this film was that we did not meet the stars for almost 10-15 minutes into the movie and I like that they did it that way. This one felt more like a horror movie than it did a comedy. I thought the introduction of Abbott and Costello was great and the transition to following them was very well done. This is not an overly scary movie, but I found this to be one of the better Universal horror films. From what I have found out, it was near the end of this era of horror movies and I think they did very well in the one to balance the horror with comedy.
The acting in this one is pretty solid; you get what you expect out of Abbott and Costello. They are cops in this one and are bumbling, like usual. Their comedy is solid. Karloff was very good in this one, per usual, as well. I also liked the morphing into the monster they do in this one. We see Karloff change and Costello change not once, but twice into two different monsters. The technology is not great, but with the times it was good. Stevens and Westcott do well in their supporting roles.
This is a solid horror/comedy from the duo Abbott and Costello. If you like their films, I would recommend giving this one a viewing. If you like Karloff, he is at his usual best. His portrayal as a ‘good’ doctor has good duality as he has a dark-side before he changes and he is great as the monster Hyde. If you are a fan of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tales, I would say give this one a viewing on it. It is a nice change to it while still preserving characters and ideas that make that story great. It is from the 50s and in black-and-white. If that is an issue, then avoid this one, but if you want to see an earlier cross-over film, give it a view.
My Rating: 6 out of 10