Plot: What’s it about?
Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott) has just discovered who her father was, but that might not be such a positive development in the end. You see, her father was Dr. Jekyll and yes he was that Dr. Jekyll, the dude with two personalities and a serious mean streak. Of course, this worries her and with good reason, as it could mean her father’s curse has passed onto her. But she doesn’t know for sure, although she does seem to believe she could have the curse in the end. I mean, she is in the bloodline after all, but who knows, maybe the curse skipped a generation. The idea of a murderous side to herself is one that terrifies her, so when a string of strange events happen, it leaves her with a bad sense of what has occurred. But even with the odds on her as the responsible person, her boyfriend seems to have another theory, which might be even more bizarre than hers.
This film was made on a shoestring budget in just six days, which makes the finished product that much more impressive. I was taken by the film’s visuals and atmosphere, but the story itself and performances left a lot to be desired. I think this one might leave some viewers cold, but since I like low rent horror flicks anyway, I wasn’t let down much. So while I do think some schlock elements prevent from being a good film in the typical sense, the visuals and direction drive this to be an enjoyable B grade horror picture. As part of All Day Entertainment’s Edgar J. Ulmer Collection, this release offers a welcome horror presence in the series, which keeps the titles varied. In the end, I think this is average level horror schlock with above average direction and production design. It works much better than the shooting schedule and budget would allow, which is enough for me to recommend this disc, hook, line, and sinker.
I wouldn’t call her a classical actress by any means, but Gloria Talbott’s work has always been worth a look to me. She had all the traits a B movie queen needed, such as overacting gifts and ravishing good looks, all of which she put to good use. In this picture, we see her in fine form, although she is inhibited somewhat by the lackluster writing involved. But I still think she looks terrific and delivers her lines just as she should, so no real complaints on her end of the deal. I know she didn’t have the best skill level in the business, but to me, Talbott will always be a gifted performer. Other films with Talbott include We’re No Angels, The Leech Woman, The Cyclops, All That Heaven Allows, Girls Town, and The Crimebusters. The cast also includes Arthur Shields (Lady Godiva, Enchanted Island), John Agar (Tarantula, The Brain From Planet Arous), Martha Wentworth (The Beatniks, Oregon Trail Scouts), and John Dierkes (The Omega Man, One-Eyed Jacks).
Video: How does it look?
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I was let down by the lack of an anamorphic edition, but this is still a very nice visual presentation. The source print shows small signs of wear and tear, but not a lot and much less than I expected. I do think the image is on the soft side, but not enough to lessen the experience, though it is worth a mention here. The contrast seems well mixed also, which ensures the black & white images come across in fine form. The main flaw I found was the presence of frequent edge enhancement, which wasn’t much of a distraction, but should be discussed in this review. I suppose this could be sharper and anamorphic to clear up the problems, but this should please fans and is by no means a disappointment.
Audio: How does it sound?
A crisp and even mono track is included, which is about all you can expect in a case like this one. I heard minimal harshness or distortion present in this track, which is impressive when you consider the age and nature of this picture. The music is well presented and so are the sound effects, with no signs of serious problems I could detect. No issues with the dialogue either, which comes through in rich and consistent form, no troubles in the least here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc houses some cool extras, including an isolated track for the music and sound effects. I am always pleased to find this option on the discs, so kudos to the producers for tacking it on here. A pair of brief interview featurettes are also includes, one with actor John Agar and the other with Edgar J. Ulmer’s daughter. I found these to be very interesting and welcome additions, as they add information and value to this release. The disc also includes a selection of still photos, as well as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.