Martha Mansfield


Directed by                     John S. Robertson
Produced by                   Adolph Zukor, Jesse Lasky
Written by                      Thomas Russell Sullivan, Clara Beranger
Based on                         The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Starring                          John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst, Nita Naldi
Cinematography            Roy F. Overbaugh
Distributed by                Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, Paramount Pictures
Release date                    March 18, 1920
Running time                 77 minutes
Country                           United States
Language                         Silent film, English intertitles


"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1920) is considered the first great American horror film.  It is included in our program to illustrate the contributions to the Motion Pictures industry of two of our stars - director John S. Robertson and actress Martha Mansfield.

The film is based on the famous novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.  A benevolent doctor and an aspiring scientist, Dr. Jekyll (John Barrymore) is tempted to explore the two sides of his personality - the good one and the evil one.  He invents a concoction that turns him into a monster, and an antidote that turns him back to his normal good self. 

Dr. Jekyll is the official suitor of his friend's daughter Millicent (Martha Mansfield).  She is eager to be with him, but his split personality obsession prevents him from dedicating enough time to her.  Then the evil side, named Mr. Hyde, starts his own life, chasing other women and becoming more and more violent.  Millicent's father gets in harm's way by confronting Jekyll, and she herself gets in trouble, too.

In the end, Dr. Jekyll pays the ultimate price for not being able to control his evil alter ego.


Martha Mansfield played her most famous role in this film.  She was a true rising star, only to die at 24 in a freak fire accident three years later.

The film is ranked number 87 in the list of The Top 100 Silent Era Films of the influential website Silent Era.

It enjoys a nice rating in IMDB.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) on IMDb



Click to enlarge:



   Martha Mansfield and John Barrymore