GENTLEMAN JEKYLL AND DRIVER HYDE (1950) – Educational short films are often hilarious snapshots of their era. Driver’s Ed shorts are especially vulnerable to seeming outdated given how quickly car designs can change in certain decades.
This particular item is Canadian-made, proving that the Badfilm aesthetic is unfazed by international borders. (Yet Time Zones fill it with a vague sense of unease. Go figure.)
At any rate Gentleman Jekyll and Driver Hyde obviously takes its cue from Stevenson’s story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A pair of Canadian furniture movers – one tall and heavy, the other short and slender – bicker like a comedy team while discussing statistics which indicated that in 1950 a Canadian had a better chance of getting killed in a car accident than in a war.
Which I find to be a silly statistic. If it’s peacetime you probably have a better chance of dying from a piano dropping on your head than from a war. Wouldn’t it have been more ominous to say a person had a better chance of dying in a car accident than from heart disease or whatever physical ailment that a 1950 stat would indicate?
After some horrifically strained jokes “Laurel and Hardy, Eh” get to the meat of the matter: The way perfectly polite people can turn into figurative monsters when they get behind the wheel of a car. A kind, considerate man who just interacted with our two leads literally turns into a B-Movie monster thanks to editing and cheap makeup as he drives off. Continue reading