Medical alterations

Doctor X

This early colour film (1932), impeccably directed by Casablanca-maker Michael Curtiz, is a stylish and atmospheric old dark house thriller with a gruesome sci-fi twist. Unfortunately it’s also an attempt at Groucho Marx-style comedy with a Lee Tracy in the lead as a wise-cracking reporter, whose comedy repertoire isn’t up to the task. Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill shine, and the whole thing has the delicious look and feel of a faded pulp magazine. 7/10

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By many considered as the best version of Stevenson’s classic book, this 1931 film resulted in an Oscar win for actor Fredric March. Beautifully filmed by Rouben Mamoulian and well acted across the board. It also features some stunning visual tricks and strong pre-Code sexual content. 8/10

The Monster

Legendary actor Lon Chaney stars in what may be called the blueprint for old dark house films. This 1925 horror comedy is well filmed by Roland West, and introduced many tropes, like the young couple seeking a phone in a dark mansion after a car accident, the eerie, cowled henchman to the mad scientist, etc. (7/10)

The Hands of Orlac

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (9/10) The Austrian 1924 film that inspired cult classics like Mad Love, The Beast with Five Fingers and Body Parts is a tour de force of psychological Expressionist terror. […]

Black Oxen

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗  (7/10) This 1923 film about a woman who undergoes medical treatment to become thirty years younger is a steadily paced and calmly directed mystery drama as well as a poignant, […]

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (8/10) In a career-defining role as Jekyll/Hyde screen legend John Barrymore elevates this 1920 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel from a run-of-the-mill potboiler to a minor masterpiece. Barrymore’s […]

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (4/10) The earliest surviving adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s novella was produced by American independent Thanhouser in 1912. The 12 minute short has some fair acting and decent production, but […]

An Over-Incubated Baby

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (5/10) Britain’s first sci-fi film features a marvelous incubator. The short comedy clip was directed by Walter R. Booth, early cinema’s most prolific science fiction director and the artistic […]