Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde (1995)



Notes: Savoy Pictures.
Richard Jacks: Tim Daly
Helen Hyde: Sean Young
Sarah: Lysette Anthony
Yves DuBois: Harvey Fierstein
Pete: Jeremy Piven
With Polly Bergen, Stephen Toblowsky, Thea Vidale.

Directed: David Price
Produced: Robert Shapiro and Jerry Lieder
Co-Produced: Frank K. Isaac
Executive Producer: John Morissey
Story: David Price
Music: Mark McKenzie

Summary: Richard Jacks is a foundering chemist who annoys his fiancee and works for a perfume manufacturer. His independent 5-year experiment is getting nowhere, but he justifies his obsessiveness with reference to an old Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movie on tv. When a $14 million estate of his great uncle is parcelled out, he gets only his great-grandfather’s scientific notebooks and a first edition Dr. J. signed by Robert Louis Stevenson who was “a great friend” of his great-grandfather. There’s also a photo of a seedy-looking “drinking partner,” but Aunt Agatha says, “Lots of people in Glasgow look like that.”

His chromosomatic dabblings indicate to him that an unstable gene is responsible for all human evil, and he realizes, “I am a Jekyll!” His great-grandfather’s 25ccs of estrogen he decides were not enough to eliminate “male aggression.” He emends the formula during a lightning storm.

At a lunch interview, Richard begins transforming into a woman. Assuming the name Helen Hyde, he attracts co-workers, even a gay one, shops for clothes, charms the secretary, improves work reports, and, explaining that Richard is in Idaho, convinces Sarah to move out.

When Richard changes back, he doesn’t remember what Helen had done and explains to co-workers that she was a temp and is now on assignment in the Sudan. Although Sarah has moved into Richard’s cousin’s apartment, she accepts a dinner date with Richard and is surprised that his place is so uncharacteristically clean. But Richard begins changing again.

This time Helen is dangerous: pushier at work and willing to seduce men to succeed. She tampers with Pete’s sample reindeer anal gland cologne so as to burn him. When Richard emerges again, he finds himself demoted and that Helen has been smoking “with my lungs!” He tries to film a transformation but Sarah finds him handcuffed to the bed and lingerie in his bathroom. Helen steals Richard’s work to create Indulge perfume, tapes taunting messages to Richard, and burns all documents and erases his hard-drive, planning to take him over completely.

A security camera tape finally convinces Sarah of his story. When he changes to Helen, Sarah has 45 minutes to inject her with a reversal serum. Part of the hypodermic process is done, but a fire makes Sarah release Helen, who makes a beeline for the perfume launching event. Facial hair becomes a problem, and Sarah is able to inject the rest of the serum. At the podium, Helen changes back into Richard, who explains that to develop the perfume, he had to get in touch with his female side, that he actually had to become a woman. He is awarded a partnership, a lab, and marriage.

Commentary: At one point Richard laments that he makes smells for a living. So is this.

Jekyll and Hyde Films