© 1920 Famous Players-Lasky Corporation

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Some friends and I got together to watch some silent films. My one complaint about silents is how little thought has been put into the music they throw on DVD releases. This evening, I made up a play list of instrumental music, mostly Philip Glass and Steve Reich, with a little Mozart thrown in, and played this on random shuffle while watching the John Barrymore version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It was pretty amazing how well the music fit the images, and added something very new to the movie. The scene in which Dr. Jekyll turns into Hyde without having taking his potion is brilliantly represented here with a double exposure of Barrymore as Jekyll asleep while another Barrymore in an arachnid costume climbs atop his chest. The scene is frightening enough as it is, but it become terrifying with Kronos Quartet playing the music Philip Glass for Dracula. I’m looking forward to watching more silents this way.

One Comment

  1. Seb
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I agree. Whenever I watch Buster Keaton’s “The General” I play Stravinsky’s Shadow Dances, Miniatures and other Chamber Music.

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