ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (director: Charles Lamont; screenwriters: Lee Loeb/John Grant/Howard Dimsdale; cinematographer: George Robinson; editor: Russell Schoengarth; music: Joseph Gershenson; cast: Boris Karloff) (Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde), Bud Abbott (Slim), Lou Costello (Tubby), Reginald Denny (Inspector), Helen Westcott (Vicky Edwards), Craig Stevens (Bruce Adams), John Dierkes (Batley); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Howard Christie; MCA/Universal Pictures; 1953)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Stiff comedy. It’s set in Edwardian London, at the turn of the century. Charles Lamont(“Ma and Pa Kettle”/”Frontier Gal”/”When Johnny Comes Marching Home”), who reluctantly did most of the Abbott and Costello comedies, and because of the film’s good box office never got a chance late in his career to direct other films. Lamont can’t get many laughs here.
The boys play American cops hired to be London bobbies to learn how they work abroad. After a riot in Hyde Park over the Suffragette Movement, the boys are sacked as foul-ups. Meanwhile London is terrified that a psycho serial killer is on the loose, and the boys try to redeem themselves by trying to catch the killer to impress the Scotland Yard inspector (Reginald Denny).
Things get slowed down over the tedious romance between newspaper man Bruce Adams (Craig Stevens) and society Suffragette leader Vicky Edwards (Helen Westcott).
Boris Karloff is at home playing the wealthy and respected Dr. Jekyll, an admirer of Vicky. He also plays his dark alter ego, Hyde, who does all the killings Jekyll can’t recall.
Only two scenes drew laughs: in the wax museum and the rooftop chase.
After a long series of films of the boys meeting Universal’s monsters, the studio seems to run out of their own and borrow monsters from other studios. Also writers Lee Loeb, John Grant and Howard Dimsdale have run out of gags, and this one could have used a lot more.
REVIEWED ON 4/17/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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