Month: December 2014

Nicole Kidman in Dogville (2003)

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*possible spoilers*

I have to confess that I was slightly afraid of watching Dogville, mainly because I wasn’t entirely sure whether Lars von Trier’s style was really my kind of thing. Breaking The Waves was a bit too much for me, despite Emily Watson’s tremendous performance. He’s clearly a director who loves to explore the idea of human nature and is willing to go all out to push his actors to emotional extremes – sometimes a bit too much. That being said, I was glad that I was proven wrong: Dogville is a terrific, thought-provoking film about the ugly and evil side of human beings, even children. Yes, it is painful to watch at times but I have to confess (and here’s an ugly side of my nature) that the ending was…well, highly satisfying. Yes, I know that’s a twisted thing to say but after everything the lead has gone through, I really hated the entire bunch of them, especially Tom (Paul Bettany). Some may take issue with the minimalist set with only a few furnitures and a white backdrop, but surprisingly enough it didn’t distract me, and in fact it helped me focus on the actors and the story even more. The actors were all terrific, contributing gradually to the sinister atmosphere of the film.

And then there’s Nicole Kidman, whom many people say give her best performance ever in this film. I am this close to agreeing, but then I would have to re-watch The Others/Rabbit Hole to decide again. Although people nowadays seem to be more concerned with, well, the amount of botox she has done to her face, I have always considered her as one of my favourite actresses. She has this poetic, graceful presence in her movies that remind me of stars like Greer Garson, except that she also makes fearless, original (and sometimes shocking) acting choices in her performances that sometimes pay off and sometimes don’t (Grace of Monacco/Stepford Wives…?). Even though I wouldn’t have given her the win myself, I won’t deny that her nowadays-criticised Oscar-winning performance in The Hours also had a kind of devastating effect on me (how can the scene where she kisses her sister not get you!?). During this period, she was pretty much at the peak of her career (and beauty, omg), having established herself as a talented actress with her Oscar win. Still, I think Dogville is a little to unusual for the Academy, which is why she wasn’t nominated here. Besides, she would probably have had a really tough time beating Charlize Theron for Monster if she was really nominated here.

Nicole Kidman plays Grace, the fugitive who is hiding in the seemingly simple town of Dogville. In the first half of the film, she effectively portrays the fish-out-of-water feeling the character has. The way she walks around awkwardly offering her help in her nice fur coat, and the constant feeling that she is like some alien in the town are all captured in her eyes and face. Technically, she doesn’t do much “acting” here, and yet her presence is always so warm and reassuring (like Audrey Hepburn in The Nun’s Story). You can sense how naive and over-idealistic this character is, and how she genuinely wants to help out. This kind of acting style has always been Kidman’s forte, and perhaps also what draws me to her performances: the ability to convey all sorts of emotions with a single glance, a single teardrop, without huge dramatic mannerisms and gestures. Yes, I can understand why some people may find it stilted but it’s emotional power works wonderfully for me.  Grace always remains a figure of mystery, and we don’t know anything about her or why she was on the run until the end of the film. In a sense, Kidman’s beauty and unique presence really helped in bringing out this aspect of the character.

When things start to fall apart for Grace, it also becomes increasingly uncomfortable for us as the viewers. The fact that the people are gradually becoming assholes is one thing; what makes it even more disturbing is how Kidman portrays Grace idealism and views crumbling apart. I mean, if the character is a strong one who knew how to fight back it would have been slightly more tolerable, but over here she has over-trusted everyone around her, and watching her trust getting betrayed is just devastating. The “figurines smashing” scene is easily one of the best in the performance: watching her trying to hold back her tears, but failing miserably is just pure unpleasant.

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When things really start to go downhill however, Kidman is just heartbreaking. She doesn’t go all Hathaway-in-Les-Mis (sorry fans) with the ugly cry faces and tears, but we can from her body language how emotionally and physically exhausted she was. When she motionlessly lays down in the bed after being raped by the men, or when she has to drag that stupid chain around her neck like a prisoner, ir’s clear that Grace has become a shell of her former self. There is no hope, no pride, and also no anger or sadness whatsoever – just pure emptiness.

However, things change when we find out about Grace’s true identity, and the power that she really possesses. I loved the scene where she walks around the town for one last time, contemplating about whether she should spare the entire town from the gangsters. There’s so much mystery about the character here, and when she made the decision to kill them all, it is never truly clear whether Grace’s personality has completely changed and that she is now a vengeful monster, or whether she is still the same and believes that what she is doing is for the betterment of the human race. Or in fact, whether this cold, cruel nature was a suppressed part of her all along.

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The coldness in the eyes…

Still, during the town massacre, when we get to see one last glimpse of Grace’s teary eyes, it all seems to suggest that she is inherently still a good person, but one who is manipulated into thinking that she is doing the people a favour by killing htem. The lengthy debate between Grace and her father (James Caan) about whether people should be held accountable for their own nature is a bit in-your-face imo, and yet Kidman lets us have a deeper look into the inner conflict and dilemna of the character.

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Like the movie, it’s an unusual performance for sure, which I guess is why so many major awards decided to pass it over, but I also think this is one of the few performances that has allowed Kidman to establish herself as a talented character actress with range. There’s something so simple, yet so powerful and devastating about her work here. Terrific work.

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Anyway, it’s nice to end 2014 with a great performance by a great actress! A while ago, before I was doing the performance posts and the 70s best picture, I did a post stating a list of performances/movies that I want to watch/review. And it seems like I have actually watched most of them! Or at least I think I have, I’m not sure lol. While I predict that I won’t be blogging too often in the next few weeks, I thought it’d be appropriate to list down the next group of performance I intend to review/watch/re-watch. I guess I should treat this as a New Year’s resolution, but it’s more of a reminder to myself LOL. By the way, I actually only post about performances I enjoy (which is why my reviews are all so positive), so if it just so happens that I didn’t like it I’d probably skip the performance (which I have done a lot of times).

In alphabetical order, and by performer:

Actress

Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas (1937)
Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire (1941)
Barbara Stanwyck in All I Desire (1953)
Carroll Baker in Baby Doll (1956)
Deborah Kerr in Black Narcissus (1947)
Deborah Kerr in The Innocents (1961)
Diane Keaton in Shoot The Moon (1982)
Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
Elizabeth Taylor in Raintree County (1957)
Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
Geraldine Page in Toys in the Attic (1963)
Geraldine Page in The Beguiled (1971)
Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful (1985)
Glenda Jackson in Women in Love (1970)
Glenda Jackson in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
Glenda Jackson in Stevie (1978)
Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Irene Dunne in Love Affair (1939)
Joan Fontaine in The Constant Nymph (1943), if I can even find it
Joan Fontaine in Letters from an Unknown Woman (!948)
Julie Walters in Educating Rita (1983)
Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935)
Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year (1942)
Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond (1981)
Lee Young-ae in Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)
Maggie Smith in Travels With My Aunt (1972)
Maggie Smith in California Suite (1978)
Maggie Smith in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1978)
Meryl Streep in Silkwood (1983)
Meryl Streep in Out of Africa (1985)
Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Natalie Wood in Splendor In The Grass (1961)
Nicole Kidman in To Die For (1995)
Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)
Olivia De Havilland in The Dark Mirror (1946)
Olivia De Havilland in To Each His Own (1946)
Reese Witherspoon in Election (1999)
Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise (1991)
Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking (1995)
Tang Wei in Lust, Caution (2007)
Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Actor

Andy Lau in A Simple Life (2011)
Ben Kingsley in Gandhi (1982)
Edward Norton in American History X (1998)
Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning (1988)
Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High (1949)
Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981) – either him or Hepburn, can’t decide. Or maybe I’ll just cover both
Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973)
Jack Nicholson in Ironweed (1987)
Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (2002)
James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause (1956)
Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
Leonardo Dicaprio in The Aviator (2004)
Leonardo Dicaprio in Blood Diamond (2007)
Laurence Oliver in Richard III (1956)
Laurence Olivier in Sleuth (1972)
Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront (1954)
Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1973)
Michael Caine in Alfie (1966)
Michael Caine in Sleuth (1972)
Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983)
Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961)
Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982)
Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend (1945)
Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story (1999)
Robert Donat in The 39 Steps (1935)
Robert Donat in The Citadel (1938)
Robert Donat in Goodbye, My Chips (1939)
Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (1983)
Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond (1929)
Ronald Colman in Random Harvest (1942)
Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995)
Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1958)
Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field (1963)
Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs (2002)
Tony Leung in Chungking Express (1994)

Erm yes, I think I’m being over-ambitious here because I can foresee that I will lose interests in some of these performances in a few months time. I’m so fickle-minded sighs. Anyway, I’m pretty sure there a few more that I’ve missed, especially for actor. This is just for my own reference in case I ever feel like watching something in the future and have no idea where to start hahaha

And that’s all everyone! Happy New Year, and may 2015 be a year filled with joy and peace, something which is much needed for the world after shitty 2014.

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Best Picture 1973: Final Thoughts

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As with every year in the 70s, this was a more than fine year for this category. Even though my average score is probably higher for 1971, the fact that Cries and Whispers and The Exorcist are in it elevates it higher and I very much enjoy doing this year. I know I said I won’t do a ranking, but doing one is a lot easier this year as compared to 1971 (which I’ve become more objective towards), and if I were to do one it would be roughly:

5) A Touch of Class: 3.5/5
4) The Sting: 4/5
3) American Graffiti: 4.5/5
2) Cries and Whispers: 5/5
1) The Exorcist: 5/5

Surprise? So am I. I used to be a hardcore Cries and Whispers worshiper, and I still am but there was something so brilliant about The Exorcist that pushed it higher (by a hair!). I don’t really know why either, it could largely be a surprise factor since I discovered many new things that I loved about that movie while Cries and Whispers was still as amazing as it was last time. I guess I’ll be alternating between the two. The Sting is a totally fine winner btw, even though I don’t love it myself I don’t get the hate towards it either. A nice, stylish and enjoyable film.

And that concludes 1973! I just had to get it out of the way before school reopens next week. Sighs. Still, I’m glad I did it.

As of now, the next year I’m intending to look at is 1977. I’ve seen all the movies except The Turning Point…which I’m not looking forward to. Still, Annie Hall and Star Wars are classics in their own right, and I loved Fonda and Redgrave in Julia, so I am looking forward to this year too. Unfortunately, I predict that the next few months are going to be busy so it’ll take a loooong while. My next post will probably be a performance post and then I’ll be on hiatus again.

Best picture 1973: A Touch of Class

Nowadays you would rarely see comedic films being nominated for best picture, not especially with everybody trying to sell their dramatic chops in order to win the gold man. I always thought that it’s a pity, because comedy is extremely hard to do well, perhaps even more than drama since there’s a need to bring out both the realism and humour of the story. The same goes for acting comedic nominations, and I might even go ahead and say that I am one of those people who will largely prefer a top-notch comedic performance over a heavyweight drama one (Diane Keaton 1977, Irene Dunne 1937 etc.)

Still, I’ll go ahead and also say that A Touch of Class is pure entertainment and nothing all. I may sound like I am belittling a best picture nominee, but I’ll also be honest and say that I enjoyed every second of it. I enjoyed it as a funny, witty romantic comedy that is very stress-relieving and easy to watch, but not as a best picture contender. I feel like the film is trying to pay tribute to the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, but somehow it doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Awful Truth or His Girl Friday. I guess the problem is that the plot kinda meanders around without really hitting a climax, which is why the film lacks the excitement factor that it could have had: the two meet, they have an affair in Málaga, they quarrel and reconcile, they fall in love and return to London only to realise that the affair wasn’t working. That’s pretty much it. The lines, however, are pretty brilliantly written, and I love the non-stop injections of innuendos, sarcasm and wit in the dialogue.

The film also largely benefits from the presence of Glenda Jackson, who won her second Oscar for her performance here as Vicky Allessio. She injects her sharp, intelligent and strong personality into the role, delivering every single line to perfection. I mean, she even makes a simple action like holding a toilet seat over her head look funny, and I can’t even figure out which of her sarcastic one-liners is my favourite. While George Segal comes off as trying a bit hard (he won the Golden Globe though), she sails through the movie’s (a bit stylized) dialogue with so much ease and fun while bringing out the vulnerable sides of the character as well. Not necessarily my favourite best actress winner, but still a highly deserved Oscar win and one of my favourite comedic performances.

The screenplay is kinda inconsistent, especially how Vicky seemed to have become a spinster in the second half of the movie instead of a divorced mother (where ARE her children?), and not to mention it’s hard to believe that an intelligent woman like her would fall for such an attention-needy, whiny, neurotic and insecure prick. But it doesn’t matter, I feel like the movie isn’t meant to be taken to seriously, it’s purely for enjoyment and entertainment, and it delivers. 3.5/5 for the movie, 4.5/5 for Glenda Jackson’s performance.

Ronald Colman in A Double Life (1947)

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Ronald Colman won his only Oscar for playing Anthony John, an actor who slowly descends into madness while playing Othello on the stage.

A Double Life is a terrific film noir that is extremely well-written and directed. The screenplay is really top-notch and ahead of its time, and some of the lines are really fantastic. I think the film would have deserved all of the Oscars it was nominated for, and I might even throw in a best picture nod. I always thought it had a relatively “modern” feel, as though it was made in the late 50s or around the 60s. And not to mention, the suspense in some scenes are highly remarkable, especially the Othello ones! All in all, it’s truly a quality piece that I highly recommend!

I guess if we were to mention the part of an artist descending into madness, people would instantly mention Natalie Portman’s fantastic turn in Black Swan (2010), but I guess not many people nowadays would know that such a role was also brought to life by Ronald Colman in 1947. Anthony John is one complex character, but he’s also constantly a mystery throughout the film. Yes, we get that he is this consummate artist who devotes himself a 100% to his roles, even when he is outside the theatre, but we don’t really know much about his personal back story. Colman always suggests that the guy was socially inept/had trouble fitting in with the others because of his inability to draw the line between fiction and reality. It’s amazing how his body language suggests so much about the character – the constant fidgeting/looking over the shoulders and the nervousness are all done so naturally, it’s as though Colman himself had fully inhibited the character. I loved how he also manages to give the character a sympathetic edge. I always felt sorry for him, even when he becomes increasingly murderous, and there’s no denying that he is a very sad character.

The relationship between him and Brita (Signe Hasso) is also another fascinating aspect of the performance. Colman has nice chemistry with Hasso, and you can always sense how much affection both characters have for one another. The relationship is a strange one, in a sense that both characters obviously love one another but they simply cannot be together because of Anthony’s weird working style. Both actors really excel here, bringing this complex relationship to life.

The “Oscar” scenes are when Anthony slowly descends into madness, and Colman is absolutely fantastic here. Amazingly , he doesn’t go all hysterical with the character’s insanity, but uses a subtle approach instead to portray the character’s madness. His use of his eyes are especially effective. There’s one particular scene where he confronts Brita about her relationship with Bill, and you could see that particular moment where his eyes just “snap” – fantastic. Throughout the performance, Colman never goes overboard with the character’s craziness, but he still successfully shows how he is slipping deeper and deeper into insanity. I especially loved how he showed the character’s reaction when he was slipping in and out of the character, like when he hears the music or his lines playing in his head. Colman was certainly a charming actor, but at the same time he shows how Anthony can be a very disturbing person to be around with.

Ronald Colman’s Oscar win is generally considered one of the more deserving ones, and yet I feel like his win is bordering on the underrated side given how it’s rarely mentioned nowadays. But it doesn’t matter, I was pleasantly surprised by how fantastic his work was. A truly deserving winner, and perhaps one of my favourites in this category!

Cries and Whispers (1973)

Sometimes, writing about what you claim as your “favourite movie of all time” can be an extremely daunting experience. Given how I’m not the best with words and languages, it’s even harder for me to describe how a particular film stands out more to me than others. This is even more so when the movie is by Ingmar Bergman, perhaps one of the greatest masters of cinematic history. Whenever I write about a Bergman film, I often wonder if I myself fully got what the man wanted to say through his films. Naturally, I do my reviews to the best of my capabilities and write based on what I took away from each of his films. There’s no other film-maker who can dissect and explore the human soul and psyche as efficiently as him, or present the rawest, most intense form of human emotions ever put on screen. Whenever I think about Bergman film, I think about the tension burning through the screen between Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata, or Liv Ullmann’s horrifying mental breakdown in Face to Face, and how these emotions are presented in a 100% realistic manner. Bergman doesn’t seek to entertain; he seeks to present the different facets of the human soul in all of his movies, and yet he rarely comes off as pretentious as some of the “arthouse” directors today.

Cries and Whispers is often regarded as Bergman’s greatest film, and I would agree. The story follows the tensions and secrets that arise when two sisters return to take care of their cancer-stricken sister. Unlike the ubiquitous Hollywood soap-fests and korean dramas about how cancer brings the family together and strengthen bonds, Cries and Whispers challenges that idea of true family love. Sometimes, I feel like the movie is a big FU to all those corny dramas (although it’s made earlier than most of them). It shows how a crisis can easily be the truest reflection of human personality, and how we are intrinsically more selfish than we would like to admit.

With Bergman, you would naturally expect fantastic acting from his performers, and over here they all deliver as usual. To me, it’s always apparent how his actors love working with him, despite being pushed to their extreme limits. The Academy rarely recognizes his actors, and it makes me wonder if it is because they are too real for the Academy to handle. While films like Nashville (1975) aim to represent us, Cries and Whispers takes it a step further by exploring our souls. The characters are just so complex and realistically compelling that it makes the viewers feel uncomfortable. It isn’t a horror film, and yet it is so commonly described as a haunting film, because of how it reminds us of parts of our own nature we would rather ignore.

How many of us have a Maria (played by Liv Ullmann) inside us? The childishness, the superficiality, the need to act like you are the most caring of the lot, only to realise that you are faking all of these in the end? Or to put on a “brave” front and act like the “good guy”, only to realise that you are perhaps even more afraid of the problem than anyone else? Liv Ullmann, as usual, plays Maria fantastically, vacillating between the “loving” image she presents and the cold-hearted bitch she really is.

If there's nothing you want, don't be hurt because I must say goodbye to you now.

I don’t recall every stupid act, and never try forcing me to answer for one.

People often hate on Karin (Ingrid Thulin, my personal best actress pick of 1973 for her work here), but to me she’s the most sympathetic character. Karin appears repressed and is often regarded as a cold-bitch, but she’s the most honest of the all of them. She sees through her sister’s bullshit, and her loneliness, bitterness and inner pain is always apparent. She cannot express herself properly (that self-mutilating scene will stay with you), and is afraid of even the slightest form of human affection. And when she does express herself, it is hateful and filled with anger, like when she lashes out at Maria. Yet despite all these, you can always sense the deep longing and need to be loved by her. It’s extremely disheartening to see her being tossed to one side by Maria not long after their brief “reconciliation”. She’s an extremely complex character that I’m not sure whether I myself got entirely, but she’s always fascinating thanks to Thulin’s tremendous performance.

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Leave me alone!

Leave me alone!

The other characters are also fascinating despite being the smaller roles. Bergman values each and every one of his players, and it’s his attention to detail that makes his movies such masterpieces. There’s Anna, the maid who lost her daughter, and is eventually revealed to be the only character who has genuinely-cared for the cancer-stricken Agnes all along. Anna is such a quiet character, and yet you can feel her warmth and constant presence in the house.

The technical aspects of the film are actually surprisingly simple, yet highly effective. I wouldn’t say the film has very outstanding costume and set design, but it doesn’t matter at all here as it’s all about the story. The bright red walls of the mansion and the white dresses worn by the characters are striking, but there’s this simplistic beauty of the film that makes its best cinematography Oscar highly deserving. The camera loves the actors, and the way it captures the anguish, pain and sorrows in their faces is simply astounding (The “camera in your face” thing is done so much more effectively than some films today by the way…take note, Tom Hooper).

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Cries and Whispers is not for everyone, I won’t deny that. I don’t even blame people for finding it boring, especially since not of all Bergman’s movies appeal to me either. The film is admittedly a very slow one, and there aren’t any outstanding action sequences, long juicy monologues or an epic score to complement it’s story. But there’s something so stirring, devastating and haunting about the film’s simplicity that it has always resonated with me when I watched it. One of the best films of the 70s, 5/5.

Fredric March in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1932)

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Fredric March won his first Oscar for playing Dr Henry Jekyll in the pre-code horror classic, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a good old-fashioned horror film that may be a bit dated, but is still watchable as a whole. First of all, I must admit that I really dislike watching movies from the early thirties. I mean, it’s fascinating to see how things were done back then but I rarely enjoy watching the movies from this era. I always get the feeling that the film makers were still figuring their way around, and it shows. The camera angles are very “stagey”, and there’s always this annoying lack of atmosphere that can make the most exciting story seem dry and lifeless. Each scene will play out individually, but they always feel disjointed or abrupt, and the actors…talk about laughable. Thankfully, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is one of the better ones of the lot, and it actually manages to capture the ideas of the original novel without over-simplifying things too much. In fact, some of the scenes were so filled with tension that I was actually rather impressed! Naturally, the fact that it is based on a fantastically-written classic helps it out a great deal despite the noticeable flaws in the film. Personally, I find the supporting actors mostly forgettable or overbearing, especially Miriam Hopkins, but one aspect of the film stands out.

Nowadays, you rarely see the academy reward horror film/sci-fi performances, and this makes Fredric March’s win even more unique. The role of Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde may seem like a strange choice for the Oscar, but in my opinion it is a fantastic one that gets to showcase the actor’s range. It’s essentially a dual role, but even the character of Dr Jekyll is also complex on his own. Fredric March was a great fit for the part – the man was good-looking and he really brought the charm, idealism and passion of Jekyll convincingly, making him a strong and charismatic presence right from the beginning. Jekyll clearly has some crazy/fascinating ideas, and March never fails in showing his obsession and drive in wanting to explore them further, even if it involves experimenting on himself. Naturally, Jekyll himself is not without his flaws despite being the “good guy” here, and March succeeds in capturing his impatience and stubbornness. His scenes with Muriel (Rose Hobart) are, in my opinion, not very good and the chemistry between them isn’t that strong. Even though Hobart was underwhelming, March still managed to bring the passion needed to sell their romantic scenes together, and effectively portrayed his frustration at her father’s attempt to stall their marriage. What is even more impressive is how he portrays Jekyll’s passion both as a strength and a flaw. Yes, he believes that his experiment would be for the betterment of mankind, but it is also an unhealthy obsession that is bordering on insane and dangerous.

The scenes as Mr Hyde are usually the ones that are highly-praised, and it’s amazing how March injects terror and menace into Hyde. The make-up is a bit much, especially the teeth, but the animal-like movements and expressions never feel false or cartoonish. Hyde is obviously not that complex a character since he is just pure evil, and March’s acting becomes much more “external” here, focusing on the Hyde’s ruthlessness and brutality. The way he taunts and stalks Ivy (Hopkins) is also very intimidating, especially the way he goes on about how he has to “have” her etc.

What I especially appreciated about the performance is how Jekyll’s inner conflict is shown. Temptation is one of the central ideas in this story, and Jekyll is later shown to become more and more frightened by his own actions, but at the same time you get the feeling that he enjoys his Hyde persona even if it is not explicitly stated. The arc of the character is fully realised, as he loses control over his own body and mind and becomes ravaged with guilt over his actions. The scene where he begs for help was especially well-played as you could see Jekyll’s desperation and fear so well.

Of course, the performance is not without its flaws; some of the dialogue can come across as plastic in the very typical 30s fashion, especially the romantic scenes, and they do drag March’s work down a bit. But to me it is all about energy and emotions and I think March succeeds here as a whole, making his performance compelling and fascinating.