This story has been filmed almost as much as DRACULA, almost as much as FRANKENSTEIN. If we take into account all the myriad stories that have cribbed from them all, adapting and altering at will, then possible the tale of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, from the short novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, may have been filmed the most of all. Out of all the versions, though, this one from 1931 starring Fredric March (who won an Oscar) is the best, hands down. And it was almost lost to us.
In the 1940s, when MGM decided to remake the film, they bought up all rights and copies of the earlier films, both the one with March and the also excellent silent film from 1920 starring John Barrymore, and ordered them destroyed. Fortunately they were unsuccessful.
Universal’s DRACULA also was released in 1931, as was FRANKENSTEIN. With DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, Paramount was trying to carve out its own niche in the Horror genre. With ISLAND OF LOST SOULS following in 1933, they accounted for themselves quite well in the 30s, even if they never matched Universal’s output.