Dr. Jekyll’s research project consumes his every waking hour. He explains to his pal, Professor Robertson, that he is going to come up with something that will cure every disease all at once. Robertson doubts this very much and kindly points out that it will probably take him two years to cure cholera, two more for typhus and so on. Jekyll rapidly does the math and since he is a brilliant doctor, realizes that if it takes him a full two years to cure each and every disease, he could be well into his fifties before he gets through most of the important ones. If only there was some way for him to live forever. (Or at least long enough to finally cure his greasy hair.)
Jekyll ponders this for about two seconds and comes up with his all-new, double-secret project. He will invent an elixir of life! This will allow him all the time in the world to beat back the embarrassment of athlete’s foot.
Now, just how is he going to go about inventing this elixir that sounds so far-fetched? Of course! Since women’s skin is always soft and silky smooth (not that Jekyll would know anything about the touch of a woman – at least not until he’s touching himself later on in the film) and since chicks don’t go bald while men do, there must be something in their hormones that prolong life or will at least help Jekyll get rid of that pasty complexion of his.
But where in the world is he going to get hormones from beautiful, young broads? Dead whores, silly!
Jekyll gets supplied by the local morgue attendant and things are going well at first until the young broads aren’t dying fast enough for the experiment. He then gets famous body snatchers Burke and Hare to do their thing and they rustle up bodies of wanton women by hook and by crook.
Jekyll tests out his potion on a fly and is surprised to see that it has turned a male fly into a female fly. Inexplicably, he thinks this is some type of success because it isn’t long before he’s drinking his jiggle juice and turning into Martine Beswick!
He reacts like any of us would and begins to fondle himself, but is interrupted by the brother (Howard) of a virgin (Susan) who was harassing Jekyll earlier. Howard has the hots for Jekyll-as-woman and Susan is irritated for some reason. Jekyll tells everyone that this woman is actually his sister, a widow named Mrs. Hyde!
With Burke and Hare having been earlier disposed of and with Jekyll two-timing himself, Jekyll decides that if he’s ever going to wear the pants in the family again that he’ll need to start procuring chick hormones himself by slashing prostitutes.
Ralph Bates does a very good job portraying the slightly prissy scientist and he does comes off as a dude with a little woman inside of him. Because of the gender spin that is put on the Jekyll and Hyde story, the movie isn’t about the actual transformations as much as it is about the impact his interactions with other people has on himself.
The movie tries to show us right in the beginning that Jekyll may be more prone to alternative lifestyle choices and more than one character comments on Jekyll’s lack of woman action. (Howard almost comes out and says that Jekyll’s gay!)
When he does turn into Mrs. Hyde, you’re mentally trying to determine what it means for his sexuality when he starts making out with Howard. Is he gay? Is he bi? Is he a straight woman trapped inside a mad scientist’s skinny body?
I doubt that transsexuals would embrace this as a movie celebrating their plight since it portrays Jekyll as being driven completely nuts by the whole mess, but we should probably chalk that up to the tight corsets and not to his she-male tendencies.
Things were a bit muddled as to the point of all the killings once he turned into Mrs. Hyde and the conclusion involving a blind organ-grinder wasn’t entirely believable, but it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment.
The film’s main shortcoming is that it only scratched the surface of the problems and wacky situations that a geeky scientist would run into when he changed into a sultry vixen at unexpected intervals. Simply put, this movie was not sleazy enough for its provocative subject matter. You kept expecting more outrageous things to happen, but Jekyll never did more than break dates with the virgin and neck with Howard.
Pretty good for what it was, but probably should have been more. The puritanical woman inside of me liked it, but the dirty old man in me was disappointed.
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