Monday, 18 February 2013

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Book vs. Film

For your...(pure enjoyment, perhaps?) I advise you to have read Stevenson's novel and watched the 1968 film version of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I will not suffer anyone to prerequisites to reading my thoughts. This is an unconventional post, but it is an unconventional story...
I had a wonderful time writing it, so I hope it's worth the time to read.  Enjoy!

                                             A Tale and the Foibles of its Film

          Pink potions, murderous monsters, obsessive occupations, and a literal split personality: If any of these elements possess something in common, it would be found in a Gothic novella, namely Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The novella's popularity has never diminished since it was published in 1886, mainly because of its gripping suspense, dark mystery, and horrifying discoveries the characters make.  Because of its popularity, the novella was used to produce different film versions.  However, because the film produced by Dan Curtis emphasizes various other themes while altering main plots and characters, Stevenson's novella remains the better. Why? Not only does the film and novel evoke different conflicting feelings, but the evils of the character of Hyde contrast, and Hyde's appearance is left no imagination while a love interest leaves viewers giving Jekyll more sympathy than is healthy.

          Stevenson's Gothic novella evokes feelings that differ from Dan Curtis' production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  While the original story is intriguing, the film is painful to watch not only because of the clanging, dissonant, pounding, musical themes but also because of what is portrayed in the film.  I felt uncomfortable while watching certain scenes because they had not been in the book, scenes such as those of Hyde carousing with the dancers in the pubs (MPI Home Video 2002).  These conflicting feelings drawn from the book and film are obnoxiously mixed and accounted for because I prefer to have some elements left to my imagination.  When a film fills in all the blanks and leaves no room for imagination, it loses a certain attraction which cannot be replaced. In the novel, when two characters, Enfield and Utterson, talk about Mr. Hyde, the descriptions are vivid, but because Hyde is not seen when reading, the mind creates more of a horrific idea of Hyde by using imagination (Greenblatt, 1679).   

            While watching, reading and imagining, I analyzed. Which was more evil, the film's Hyde or Stevenson's original Hyde? Both are quite evil, but they are different evils.  While the film portrays Hyde's evil in the form of debauchery and extreme anger, Stevenson's Hyde carries events or affairs off like Satan with an air of “black, sneering coolness,” which translates as a sneakier, secretive, albeit hiding character (Greenblatt, 1679).  The movie attempts to make viewers sympathize with Hyde even if it was for a few minutes of the show. His character remained unafraid of others as he embraced the ideas of wild living, especially with an added love interest.  It is human nature to love, and the film strategically placed a love interest in Hyde's life to make viewers sympathize, but he did not really love, he lusted. The Mr. Hyde Stevenson initially crafted was a hunched, hissing, slinking character that trampled a young girl and killed a member of parliament (1678, 1688). The film, however, painted Hyde as one tall, guffawing, sinister, macabre fiend who slept carelessly and killed more than those initially fated so by Stevenson.

            If Stevenson had doomed a woman to be in the story as the film did a character named Gwnyth, I would have accepted it, but the fact that the film took the liberty to add a love interest to expound on a part never mentioned in the novel was quite unconventional.  Although I did not agree with the addition of such a woman, I realized that Mr. Hyde's character was being explored in a new way, for even in the original story, Dr. Jekyll had never had relations with a woman. In the film, Hyde drinks in the pubs and doles out money and even himself to a woman. In a way, the film made a statement that perhaps since Jekyll had always been such a good man his entire life he wanted to experience the bad and the ugly, not just the good.  The effect the added love interest had on the film is extremely interesting, as when the two were together, the producer wants viewers to be happy for them, but I knew it was wrong and would not last.

            Cries of anguish and screams of pain were often heard by Jekyll, but, like the temporary happiness of Hyde and the film's added woman,  these cries did not last, for he either turned into his alternate, or his alternate reverted to Jekyll.  The novella never led the reader through the process of Jekyll's transformation into Hyde, and consequently, Jekyll forever held my sympathies.  In the film, though, I did not even once sympathize with Jekyll because I saw him running to his obsessive occupation and his pink potions only to turn to a murderous monster.  Just as when one sees an alcoholic returning to drink after he or she has promised to cease the addiction, so was Jekyll, and because I witnessed his disgusting impulse to experience evil, I could not sympathize. I would not sympathize, except for one detail; the love interest.  When Dr. Jekyll left his home to make a Doctor's visit on the woman Hyde had beaten, she overtly aimed to seduce him.  She had paid him visits to his home and they had met on other occasions, but he had always remained the dignified and upright Doctor Jekyll, never stooping to accept her overtures. It was when he gave in to her pleas and sad faces that I felt all was lost, and soon it was, for it was almost immediately that he turned into Mr. Hyde once again.

            Apart from the blaring orchestra and old musical themes, Dan Curtis' production of Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde was not just a surprising film edition of the novella.  While the film leaves no room for imagination and strips one from sympathizing with Jekyll, it endeavored to insert scenes that would evoke more emotion by adding a love interest.  Films should not strip books, they should enhance them. This film made this mistake and hoped to camouflage that mistake by adding other elements.  Stevenson's classic is reliable. It is his creation, and it is a novella which tells the story of a literal split personality, pink potions, obsessiveness, and murderous monsters in a way that surpasses that of any film.

Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. Vol. E. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dir. Charles Jarrot. Prod. Dan Curtis. Perf. Jack Palance, Denholm Elliott, Leo Genn. MPI Home Video, 2001. DVD.

On a lighter note...
The same year this strange film was released, somebody messed around and fused a Camaro and Chevrolet for a project.

The name of their project? Jekyll and Hyde. How fitting.

The things people do.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Study Breaks: The Snows

Here are some pictures,
And a little story.
We gave them some fixtures;
Please don't think it gory.

Mr. Snow lost his head a few weeks ago, but when we received more snow (a while ago), we gave him a Mrs. Snow, who, also after melting, that is, lost her features into her face. (Very unsightly.) Consequently, we gave her a face lift, and here are the results.

The remains of Mr. Snow

The other Snow

Study break is over. I do like Mrs. Snow's beret though...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Of Seven Blessings

Greetings!  This week I have pictures; quite exciting.  

Librarians - We stopped by the library because I received an email notifying me of an item on hold. It has been a long-awaited film, very much anticipated by all.  However, when we arrived at our destination, it was apparently not present, as there had been a mix-up. Disappointed at the fact that we practically drove there for no reason, we were about to leave when one of the librarians called to us from the desk with a suggestion of films.  I know it is their job...but this was different.  If a librarian can be helpful, I can too.

Words - I find it amusing the way people relate to one another, and when people do so with choice words that are encouraging, uplifting, and pleasant, it makes words all the more enjoyable.  Edify; and use words wisely.

Medical Tape - Even though I use lubricant...fingers still split on account of dishes et cold weather.  However, medical tape is the rescue, and although it is never very pretty, it is practical, and practicality forever prevails for me.

Invitations - They make you feel thought of. (And do not most people like to be thought of?)  This is a blessing this week because I was invited to serve at a very special dinner.  I was very blessed, because this is something I have been intrigued about for a great while. 

Science Fiction - I cannot express my appreciation for it quite enough.  I suppose I read "dark" novels because they make me more appreciative of life, of esse, of being.  The world is "dirty," as a little friend once quipped. 1984, A Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, and Fahrenheit 451 are only a few, but they assist in setting me up to be ever more grateful for my Savior.

Walking - It is more often than not a subject of mine, but as of late, the skies are quite clear.  Clear skies are wonderful to star-gaze into and walk under, and it is even more exhilarating to singularly walk the driveway in the massive, still, cold.

Little Friends - They have so much to say (every moment of the day) and always want to play. But why not; they're priceless. (Even if all you end up doing is building a gargantuan lego-house with a colorful wall).

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Frost Photo

Frost is so cool.

But communication is ambiguous; how would you know that I am not talking about Robert Frost?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Of Seven Blessings

Quite busy, this week was! I reached 2013 page views today, so that was a mite exciting. But here's the blessings:

Sharing Stories - There’s always something going on around here, and sharing stories keeps us in touch with one another.  Lately it is either a literal (book) story, what God's showing us, or simply something interesting that happened, especially when everyone sees events from different points of view.

J. S. Bach – His works are completely and utterly quintessential to the classic selections of music.  It is ever invigorating, relaxing, or astounding.  semper.

Country Noises – This is a bit of a weird blessing, but it is one.  It always happens when I am tired or overwhelmed with school, so I run outside.  That’s not a good way to solve ‘overwhelmedness’, but after walking about in the cold for a bit, the animals start their shenanigans. The coyotes begin to wail, and the owl tries to hush them.  When they have started, the neighbor’s bellowing beagle begins to bawl, the snowmobiles start to crawl at rapid paces, and I remember how silly it is to be overwhelmed.

Short Drama – I witnessed some of the best short presentations of solo drama, right in our speech group.  The “beginning speaking” division held their little showcase this week, and hearing the life each presenter put into their piece was amazing, even they were retelling Puerto Rican and American folktales.

A Long Driveway – This might seem outright ridiculous, but I do appreciate walking the long driveway.  I could never walk up and down the one in Minneapolis without being seen as quite strange, but this is different; this long driveway is a blessing because I get fresh air every time I check the mail or put out a letter.  The family’s more practical reason is that it is a blessing because it puts space between us and the road…but I digress.

Air on the Strings – I love classical guitar, and I came home to Dad playing (Handel, to be exact).  Why a blessing? Perhaps because it is nice to hear someone else playing, but it also gives me joy to see another take joy in their God-given abilities, especially when it is my Dad.

Common Courtesy – There are many types of common courtesy, but this week there is one courtesy in particular that is venerable. When people, even acquaintances, use my name when speaking to me, it shows not only a certain level or respect, but also of consideration.  I try to give others this respect, and, in doing so, I have found how much more polite and considerate it feels to have it ‘done unto me.’ Thank goodness for etiquette.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Early to Bed, Early to Rise....

...makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Really?  At least a body may get normal sleep if it gets to sleep early.  I remember an acquaintance who wrote a paper on sleep.  Sleep is good, but...a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest...and a man becomes a sluggard (or a student becomes a sluggard...).
Wake up early, be ambitious, and keep your Christ-given drive.  Health, wealth, and wisdom are not "where it's at."

Proverbs and 1 Peter. All the way.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Watership Down & Bright Eyes

Flying through music and school after a beautiful, icy-cold invigorating weekend church retreat, I found something exciting. If you've read Watership Down (which I did an analysis on), you would probably be familiar with the slightly morbid 1978 movie version, in which Art Garfunkel recorded a unique song (written by Mike Batt) for the credits. "Bright Eyes" fits the mood of the book so expressly, and when I found this cover, I thought of sharing it. I just hope some people have read the book so they understand what is the meaning of all this...

It made me laugh because it seems so typical of his character and musical orientation, but I had nothing more to say when I stumbled upon Adam Young's cover of "Bright Eyes."

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Of Seven Blessings

I love the cold. Perhaps it is because I was born into it, but who knows.
Wind bites, pure cold is an invigorating and a beautiful thing, and I have something to share.

Psalm 84 –  This Psalm's second verse speaks of longing, even fainting for the courts of God, and if you have ever in your life ached for someone or someplace, whether in body or spirit, you might have some idea. His place will be so lovely! How wonderful to ache for God's dwelling place; it is an ache worth feeling, worth living with.

Passes – dominus est maximus bonus! I passed a competition level last week; God is so very good to me, and I am so thankful I can give my all for Him in everything I do, even if it be a competition.

Solitude – Yes, I do enjoy being around people, bu I love a good solitude. Times like those mean meditation on the word and conversation with my Heavenly Father.

The Cold – Perhaps it is simply me in Minnesota, but after a weekend of five degree or below zero weather, I was in awe. I have never experienced such an appreciation of such pure cold. Not wind, not snow, but still, silent, cold.

Affirmation – Recently, friends and acquaintances have been extremely encouraging and affirming, and God has been blessing me tremendously. I do not deserve it, but He is lavishly generous despite all that.

Confrontation – I am pretty nasty. No, not pretty; ugly nasty. I judge people too often, and (also too often) I have little no patience with people, but for some reason, God always chooses to give me grace. Suddenly the fact that one person has their quirks and another their obsessions is not a nagging problem, but that specifically particular element to his or her character. I slip: All the time

But God.

Those two words, but God, repeatedly remind me that he confronts me (through others as well) to mold and refine me, even though I slip quite too often. It is always time for dross removal!

Watching the Sun Rise – Brilliant indeed: God is the master painter. Rising before the sun is sometimes hard, especially in the winter, when all is cold, quiet, dark, and seemingly dead. Before long the black turns to blue, and slowly but determinedly yawns into gray, which does not remain for any special length but becomes a spring board or palette of color in the sky once the sun creeps up from the beyond. Each is akin to a fingerprint; no two are alike.

Thanks for reading!