Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

ACMeetDrJekyllCoverThe least believable thing in this movie is that Scotland Yard would ever hire Abbott and Costello to be bobbies in some kind of pilot program testing out how well Americans do in British law enforcement. I’m not sure what the point of this program was or even how Bud and Lou (Slim and Tubby respectively) got selected for this gig, but this dopey project is just the excuse we need to get our boys overseas so that they can mix it up with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Slim and Tubby find themselves embroiled in a riot when women suffragists begin fighting with men who oppose them. Also caught up in all this hoopla is the requisite nosy reporter portrayed by TV’s Peter Gunn. His name is Bruce and he usually is only nosy about cool stuff like murders, but since there is this good looking chick named Vicky singing and dancing and lifting up her dress about how sweet it would be if she could vote, Bruce hangs out to get the real story on these crazy dames.

The fight involves a lot of getting bashed on the head (there’s a ton of that in this movie) and Tubby falling into a hole (not nearly enough of that though). Eventually, things get all sorted out and Slim and Tubby end up in jail along with Bruce and Vicky.

Bruce and Vicky get bailed out by that pillar of the community Dr. Jekyll, but Slim and Tubby aren’t. Later Slim and Tubby appear before their captain and are booted off the force. They’re determined to catch a monster that’s been on the loose so that they can get back on the force.

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Slim and Tubby somehow manage to locate Hyde. Thinking that he is a mere burglar, they follow him into the strip club where Vicky is dancing and this leads to a lot of Slim and Tubby walking around almost running into the monster but not quite.

Not surprisingly, you get the monster grabbing for Tubby and just barely missing, you get mistaken identities when Tubby sees another guy dressed up in a monster costume (what kind of strip club is this?), and you get lots of people conked on the head with bats, boards, and whatever isn’t nailed down.

Even better then the strip club is when Tubby ends up in a wax museum! As soon as you see Tubby go in here and there are statues of the Frankenstein Monster and Dracula, you know where this one is headed, especially if you’ve seen Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.

That’s not to say that you don’t get a few funny moments here. There’s a scene where a head falls onto a cat and it runs around with the head on it, scaring the lard right off of Tubby. Tubby encounters Hyde and sees his shadow but pretends not to see it and keeps walking and then tricks Hyde into going into a cage. Of course by the time anyone shows up to help him, Hyde has turned into Jekyll and no one believes that Jekyll could be the monster.

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There’s no hard feelings though on Dr. Jekyll’s part because he hires Slim and Tubby to be his bodyguard for the evening, but what he really wants to do is get them back to his secret lab so he can kill the meddling duo. Once at the doctor’s residence, the standard mad scientist stuff starts happening.

Tubby somehow ends up in the secret lab where he finds a bunch of animals that do crazy stuff like a bunny rabbit that barks and dog that refuses to hump your leg. He drinks of what looks like a glass of water, then comments on the fact that it was funny tasting. Thus begins what is arguably the highlight of the film. (Unless you count all those times that Tubby sits on a needle later on.)

The liquid Tubby drank turns him into a giant rat! Somehow they manage to go to a bar without Slim bothering to look at Tubby and everyone kind of freaks out when a giant rat sits down for a nice cold brew.

It all seemed a bit surreal and reminded me of that story I never read about the dude that was a cockroach or something. I think that what Abbott and Costello were trying to say in this scene was that locked inside every man is a giant rat that just wants to get drunk all day long.

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Jekyll transforms into Hyde when Vicky, whom he is obsessed over, announces she and Bruce are going to be married. The ensuing action involves Tubby getting turned into another Mr. Hyde and everyone chasing everyone else all over London.

With two monsters on the loose, confusion is the order of the day and the highlight has to be when Tubby’s Mr. Hyde is hiding in a baby carriage. How big are the babies in London anyway?

The problem was that Abbott and Costello had little to do other than get chased around. Beyond that they weren’t terribly important to the story line as opposed to one of their better efforts like Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Also, you would think that the atmosphere of fog-shrouded London would lend itself to a lot of scary and/or funny moments, but it is barely used, with most of the action taking place in broad daylight or inside. Incredibly, it made one long for Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy where  these two were at least farting around in ancient tombs or in foreign locales.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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