Barrymore rose to the occasion with one of the best of his silent performances: his Edward Hyde in particular is a virtually perfect embodiment of what Stevenson wrote way back in the 19th Century. Unlike most of the latex-heavy later iterations of the character, Barrymore’s Hyde isn’t nearly so grotesque and simian; indeed, in his first transformation (a miracle of acting technique – in one long take, the matinee-handsome Jekyll turns into a snarling, hulking monster, and it’s 100% Barrymore’s expressions and a little bit of surreptitiously applied makeup that makes it work), he looks like a normal, everyday human being, only meaner.Be sure to head over there and read the rest!
Over at Fandor's Keyframe blog, they're doing a week in praise of silent actors, occasioned by the limited release of The Artist. I was commissioned to write a piece on the 1920 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore - because silent horror is kind of how I roll - and that piece has gone live today. Here's a sample to whet your appetite: