$10 – $20

The Silent Film Classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Grace Cathedral

1100 California Street

San Francisco, CA 94108

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Grace Cathedral will transform into a grand movie palace for special Halloween screenings of the chilling 1920 silent horror classic with thrilling accompaniment by virtuoso organist Dorothy Papadakos.

About the film

The 1920 silent film classic, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is considered to be the first great American Horror Film and is based on Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The book was an overnight success in the United Kingdom and caught fire in America as a stage play by Thomas Russell Sullivan in 1887. From 1908 to 1914 there were five early silent film versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 1919, Adolph Zukor hired an up-and-coming woman writer, Clara Beranger, to write the screenplay. Filming began in New York City starring the legendary John Barrymore. Barrymore was in his prime, acclaimed as the greatest tragedian of his day for his groundbreaking portrayals in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Richard III. His bravura performance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would vault him to the heights of movie stardom. The film notably incorporates elements of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey as Hyde’s appearance grows more horrific and frightening with each transformation. Upon the film’s release in 1920, Barrymore received critical acclaim for his astonishing acting range, particularly his first transformation into Mr. Hyde which was filmed without makeup and without any cuts, relying solely on brilliant facial contortions and body gestures. The film has stood the test of time not only for its dramatic content but also for its technical merits, particularly its early cinematic magic in creating the apparition of Mr. Hyde’s evil spirit in the form of a giant ghost spider climbing onto the bed of a sleeping Dr. Jekyll. To date there are over 123 film versions, not including stage, TV, radio, animated and rap versions. There are also innumerable parodies, one of the most famous and amusing being Stan Laurel’s 1925 silent comedy Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde.

About Dorothy Papadakos

Dorothy Papadakos came to international attention as the first woman to be Cathedral Organist of the world's largest gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, from 1990-2003. She is celebrated for her daring and imaginative improvisations and scores for theatre, film, television and ballet. Her new musical BACCHUS smashed box office records in its rave review world premiere in NC and is in development for production. She is a renowned international performer, popular for her sold-out silent film programs, specializing in Charlie Chaplin and Lon Chaney.


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Grace Cathedral

1100 California Street

San Francisco, CA 94108

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