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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)

Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 17 June 1981 (France)
In 19th century London, a sex maniac sneaks into the engagement party of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Miss Fanny Osbourne, turning the event into a nightmarish whirlpool of murder and debauchery.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marina Pierro ...
...
General William Danvers Carew
...
...
Clément Harari ...
Reverend Donald Regan Guest
Jean Mylonas ...
Mr. Utterson
Eugene Braun Munk ...
Mr. Enfield
Louis Colla ...
Mr. Maw (as Louis Michel Colla)
Catherine Coste ...
Mrs. Enfield
...
Lady Osbourne, Fanny's mother
Michèle Maze
...
Charlotte Carew, the General's daughter
Magali Noaro ...
Victoria Enfield, the young dancer
Dominique Andersen
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Storyline

The film takes place before, during and immediately after the engagement party of Dr.Henry Jekyll and Miss Fanny Osborne, attended by numerous highly respectable guests (a general, a doctor, a priest, a lawyer), the last of which informs the company that a child has been murdered in the street outside. While the others watch a young dancer perform, Dr.Jekyll instructs the lawyer to alter his will, leaving everything to a certain Mr.Hyde. Shortly afterwards, the dancer is found murdered, and the guests realise that one of their number must be a maniac with a prodigious sexual appetite... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Recourse to evil runs rampant against the laws of human restraint.

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1981 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Borowczyk's Bloodbath of Doctor Jekyll  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As an engagement gift, Dr Jekyll & Miss Osbourne are given a painting of "A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" by Vermeer. See more »

Quotes

General: Misfortune follows misfortune. Madame, I have murdered your chauffeur. My humblest apologies.
See more »

Connections

Version of Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Run and Hyde
11 June 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The only other time my path has crossed that of grubby auteur (urghteur?) Walerian Borowczyk was for his infamous 1975 film The Beast. Emerging from the same post-Hays Code generation as Ken Russell and Michael Winner, Borowczyk's censor-baiting specialty was sex. Another art-porn touchstone is Pier Paolo Pasolini, although at least Borowczyk has a detectable sense of humour in pursuit of his exploitation.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne – to give it the director's preferred title after it was renamed Docteur Jekyll et les femmes – is a slasher of the trashiest sort (a trasher?), focusing on the relationship between Jekyll (Udo Kier), Hyde (a devilishly creepy Gerard Zalcberg), and Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro). We first meet Jekyll and Osbourne as they are entertaining guests, come to celebrate their engagement. Then, a murder. Another. The bodies start piling up. Suspecting the not-so-good doctor, Fanny discovers her fiancé's secret... and chooses to join him in his experiments in "transcendental science".

A knowing attack on taste and decency is evident from the off: Borowczyk opens with some painterly compositions, exquisitely lit and lusciously diffused, and proceeds to intercut with images of murder and rape. There's an eerie dream-like quality to some of the early setups, aided by some grimy drone music by electronic pioneer Bernard Parmegiani. But nonsensical plotting and poor pacing stalks the shadows, waiting to pounce. And the most notable knife victim is the editing, which frequently fails at the basic task of depicting who's where in relation to whom.

Borowczyk, to his credit, is clearly aware of the preposterousness of his play, wisely employing the likes of Patrick Magee – always good value – to give us a gloriously OTT army general, who at one point shoots the wrong guy and apologises by saying, "This is war... The soldier fires; the good Lord carries the bullets." But it's not enough to defend against the onset of cheap kinkiness, bad acting, worse dialogue, and weirdly tame stabbings. Any surprise? We are talking about the guy who made Emmanuelle 5, here.

Some oddities, it seems, are better off consigned to the past. But if the promise of seeing Udo Kier writhe naked in a bath of beef stock is tempting, be my guest.


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