The Ugly Duckling (1959 film)

The Ugly Duckling is a 1959 British comedy film, directed by Lance Comfort and starring Bernard Bresslaw, Jon Pertwee and Reginald Beckwith.[2] The film is a comic adaptation of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline and the opening credits include "with ideas stolen from Robert Louis Stevenson". The film has no connection to the Hans Christian Andersen story.[3] The tagline on posters was "HE'S A CHANGED MAN AFTER TAKING JEKYLL'S FAMILY REMEDY."[4]

The Ugly Duckling
British quad poster
Directed byLance Comfort
Produced byMichael Carreras
Written bySid Colin
Jack Davies
Story bySid Colin
StarringBernard Bresslaw
Jon Pertwee
Reginald Beckwith
Music byDouglas Gamley
CinematographyMichael Reed
Distributed byColumbia Pictures (UK)
Release date
  • 9 August 1959 (1959-08-09) (UK)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Henry Jeckle (Bernard Bresslaw) is a bungling, awkward and socially inept man working in his brother’s pharmacy, which is still named after their great-great-grandfather: "Dr Henry Jekyll M.D. - Pharmacy, Estabd. 1812". One day, Henry discovers an old formula created by Jekyll which claims to turn "a man of timid disposition into a bold, fearless dragon". He eagerly mixes the formula, takes one drink, and is transformed into the suave, dashing and self-confident Teddy Hyde, who makes a big impression at the local dance hall and with the ladies. He also joins a gang of crooks and becomes a key figure in carrying out a daring and ambitious jewel robbery. However, when the formula wears off after a few hours, Teddy changes back into Henry, and neither has a memory of being the other.

Victor and Snout, a girl who is attracted to Henry, realise what has happened to him, and Henry is convinced when they discover the stolen jewels in his jacket pockets. Henry then starts to remember being Hyde and they try to replace the jewels before they are missed, but they barge in on a special event to show off the jewels. The criminal gang also turn up to make another attempt at getting the jewels, and Henry and Victor help the police to capture them. And Henry gets the girl.



The film was shot in the summer of 1959 and was not a success at the box office losing £20,000.[1]

A brief extract from James Bernard’s theme to Dracula (1958) (also made for Hammer Films) is played whenever Jeckle drinks the potion.

Critical reception

TV Guide gave the film two out of five stars, and wrote, "This attempt at comedy never really pays off."[3]


  1. Marcus Hearn & Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films, Titan Books, 2007 p 46
  2. "The Ugly Duckling (1959)".
  3. "The Ugly Duckling".
  4. "The Ugly Duckling - Hammer".
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