How Big an Influence did The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Have on the Entertainment Industry?
When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and published it in 1886, he would have had no idea how famous the book would go on to become. The simple idea of how a human’s personality can reflect aspects of both good and evil has been carried on through the entertainment industry ever since. Is The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde Stevenson’s Best Work? Popular Works of Fiction Inspired by the Novel and their Role in Gaming Industry.
Along with numerous direct adaptations of the Edinburgh-born novelist’s work, there is also a never-ending number of films, games, and televisions series that have been heavily inspired by it. In terms of books from the 19th century that had a massive impact on the culture of today, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is up there with the best of them.
Is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Stevenson’s Best Work?
Stevenson is one of the most iconic authors of all time, and he is currently ranked as the 26th most translated author in the world, just behind Charles Dickens. Unlike some authors who only find success after they have passed, the Scotsman was hugely popular during his life and was considered a celebrity of the time.
Although Stevenson wrote 13 books and numerous short story collections, few of these went on to have a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could, therefore, be considered Stevenson’s most important work. Despite being a short novella at just over 25,000 words, the tale was packed full of rich and vibrant language, and readers were able to get a true sense of the eeriness of the situation.
Of course, Stevenson is also well known for having penned one of the greatest pirate adventures. Treasure Island was his breakout novel in 1883, and this gave him the platform needed to reach a wide audience with his later works. The swashbuckling sea tale was also hugely influential on the entertainment industry and, along with the direct adaptations, many pirate offerings borrow elements from it. There was even a recent series detailing the events leading up to Treasure Island. Black Sails described the rise of Long John Silver from quirky shipmate to the fearsome brigand.
What are the Best Direct Adaptations of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
While Treasure Island was hugely influential on later entertainment, this inspiration was mainly confined to the swashbuckler genre. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, on the other hand, went on to impact different genres in films, television shows, and games. This could be used to argue that the latter was Stevenson’s most important work.
There have been more than 120 stage and film adaptations of Stevenson’s 1886 book alone, with the first play opening in Boston in 1887. The show was simply called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and was a great success. It toured Britain for 20 years and Richard Mansfield’s performance was lauded.
According to IMDb ratings, the most popular movie adaptation was the 1931 offering from Rouben Mamoulian. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, with Fredric March claiming Best Actor. Another fantastic version of the story was Jekyll and Hyde in 1990. This was a television film with Michael Caine in the lead role. The Italian Job star is one of the greatest actors in movie history, and the darkness he brought to the character was astounding. Many would say that his transformation into Hyde was the most grotesque of all time.
Role of Jekyll and Hyde in Gaming Industry:
The characters of Jekyll and Hyde has been well received in the gaming industry over the years as well. The first-ever offering was for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. The fact that an adaptation was released on one of the first consoles highlights how important the story is in popular culture. Another well-liked offering was the 2001 title for Windows from Cryo Interactive.
Stevenson’s creations still find themselves at the forefront of mainstream gaming, with several slot games based on the characters. According to the list of mobile titles compiled by VegasSlotsOnline, there are Jekyll and Hyde slots from numerous developers including Betsoft, Barcrest, and Genesis Gaming. These games can be played for free or for real money on mobile, and appeal to players who like gritty and mysterious themes. For gamers who wish to make the transition for convenience, the site provides a variety of information regarding mobile slots including how-to instructions made by experts.
Popular Works of Fiction Inspired by the Novel
The beauty of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s impact on popular culture isn’t just found in its direct adaptations, though. There have been various works that have clearly taken heavy inspiration from the 1886 novella.
One of the most obvious stories reimagining the classic Stevenson book is the Hulk from Marvel. The character was first introduced in The Incredible Hulk in 1962; he quickly established himself as one of the most popular superheroes of all time. The differences between Bruce Banner and his massive green alter ego are stark; just as Jekyll and Hyde were nothing alike. Hulk was first introduced in comics and has stayed at the head of the entertainment industry ever since. Most recently, the character was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Another interesting take on Stevenson’s idea was in the 2000 Farrelly brothers offering, Me, Myself & Irene. Jim Carrey played a pleasant and friendly state trooper named Charlie who finally cracked after being taken advantage of too many times. Also, The character then developed a second personality known as Hank; who sometimes broke out and did the things that Charlie was too afraid to do. The story was slightly altered in that there was no potion involved; but it was clear that Stevenson’s work acted as inspiration.
In conclusion, It’s hard to think of many works of fiction that have had as big an impact on popular culture as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Along with the countless movie adaptations, the idea has been used in various other stories.