1933, Paramount (Universal), 90 min, USA, Dir: Rouben Mamoulian

When country girl Lily (Marlene Dietrich) moves to Berlin, she becomes putty in the hands of a sculptor (Brian Aherne). Obsessed with her statuesque figure, Baron von Merzbach (a deliciously decadent Lionel Atwill) proposes to Lily, but life in his household soon transforms the naive peasant into a woman of the world.

1932, Paramount, 83 min, USA, Dir: Rouben Mamoulian

Gary Cooper (young and stunningly handsome) plays a carny sharpshooter who goes crooked in order to free his love (Sylvia Sidney) from prison. The only story Dashiell Hammett wrote specifically for the screen, it is brilliantly realized by director Rouben Mamoulian and legendary cameraman Lee Garmes. Screenplay by Oliver H. P. Garrett, adapted by Max Marcin, from Hammett's original story. NOT ON DVD.

1931, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Rouben Mamoulian

Although it’s not as nuanced as the later Spencer Tracy version, many people prefer this pre-Code shocker. Fredric March won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance, going way over the top with facial tics and bestial mannerisms in his Hyde persona, coming off like an urbane, simian werewolf with the gift of speech. Miriam Hopkins is the unfortunate barmaid Ivy, and Rose Hobart is Muriel, Dr. Jekyll’s devoted fiancée. Director Rouben Mamoulian and cinematographer Karl Struss make revolutionary use of the camera, doing things way ahead of their time in movement, point of view and editing, endowing many sequences with a fluid feel in what is essentially a set-bound piece. The characters of Muriel (Beatrix in the Tracy version) and her father did not appear in Stevenson’s original story, but were invented later by playwright T.R. Sullivan in an 1887 stage adaptation.

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