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

abbott and costello meet dr jekyll and mr hyde 1953 movie poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Boris Karloff

Abbott and Costello interfere with a rather interesting interpretation of the Jekyll and Hyde story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Horror

Release Date(s):  August 10, 1953

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

abbott-and-costello-meet-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-transformation-scene-boris-karloff

A face only mom can love…

Slim (Bud Abbott) and Tubby (Lou Costello) have been sent to London to learn from the British officers.  Attacks have been occurring around the city and a man named Mr. Hyde (Eddie Parker) might be behind the attacks.  Hyde unfortunately is the alter-ego of a respected doctor named Henry Jekyll (Boris Karloff) who has his eyes on his ward Vicky Edwards (Helen Westcott).  When Vicky meets a reporter named Bruce Adams (Craig Stevens), Hyde seeks blood and only Slim and Lou might be able to stop him.

Directed by Charles Lamont, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (sometimes called Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Following Abbot and Costello Go to Mars (also released in 1953), the film was met by average reviews.

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Mickey Mouse Redux!

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a different type of entry in the Abbott and Costello series.  There is a big portion of the movie in which Abbott and Costello don’t appear and for a while they seem almost like sidekicks to Hyde, Edwards, and Adams.  Though it does eventually become a typical Abbott and Costello film, its different feel does make it a bit unusual.

The movie oddly makes Dr. Jekyll a very unlikeable guy.  Unlike the book which shows him as a poor victim to his evil Hyde side, Jekyll here seems to relish in his ability to become a monster.  He also lusts after his ward Vicky Edwards who he says he’d loved since she was a little girl…ugh!?!  Of course when Abbott and Costello get involved, the show turns to more humor and slapstick with Costello going into transformations (both into a mouse and a Hyde monster himself).

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Wait, you wanted to “be with” me when I was a girl? Sicko!

Abbott and Costello really almost feel like second fiddle here.  I wish they had remained on the sidelines (kind of taking roles of Lauren and Hardy in The March of the Wooden Soldiers…stars by also not the thrust of the story).  The real story in the movie seems to be the love triangle between Karloff, Westcott, and Adams who do a decent job…I just wish the movie had remained a drama which it works better as.  Though Karloff plays Jekyll, Hyde primarily is played by a stuntman named Eddie Parker which makes sense because it is a very physical role that Karloff was too old for (though it makes his love for Westcott creepier).

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Twice the Hyde and half the fun!

Visually, the movie is so-so.  There is a decent transformation of Jekyll into Hyde with the classic overlapping image transformation.  The transformation might be pretty good, but moments like Lou Costello just wearing a mouse head and gloves are pretty weak.  I do like some of the hijinks that ensue from two Mr. Hydes when Costello is also transformed.

I found Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde interesting not for the humor but for the drama.  The film is very uneven which isn’t unusual for an Abbott and Costello film, but maybe a little bit more so here.  Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was followed by Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops in 1955.

Preceded By:

Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953)

Followed By:

Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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