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The Ugly Duckling (1959)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 9 August 1959 (UK)
Henry Jeckle was always the outsider, a bungling and awkward buffoon, relegated to waiting for his invitation to participate in life that never arrived: until he discovers a medical formula... See full summary »


Lance Comfort


Sid Colin (screenplay), Jack Davies (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maudie Edwards Maudie Edwards ... Henrietta
Reginald Beckwith Reginald Beckwith ... Reginald
Shelagh Dey Shelagh Dey ... Miss Angers
Jon Pertwee ... Victor
Jess Conrad ... Bimbo
Norma Marla ... Angel
Richard Wattis ... Inspector Barclay
Bernard Bresslaw ... Henry
Jean Muir Jean Muir ... Snout
Joe Loss & His Orchestra Joe Loss & His Orchestra ... Themselves (as Joe Loss and his orchestra)
Elwyn Brook-Jones Elwyn Brook-Jones ... Dandy
Michael Ripper ... Fish
David Lodge ... Peewee
Harold Goodwin ... Benny
Keith Smith Keith Smith ... Figures


Henry Jeckle was always the outsider, a bungling and awkward buffoon, relegated to waiting for his invitation to participate in life that never arrived: until he discovers a medical formula developed by a dead uncle, which claimed to turn 'a man of timid disposition into a bold, fearless dragon'. Taking a draught of the elixir Henry is transformed into suave, sophisticated and highly desirable Teddy Hyde. Armed with his new persona, Teddy is ready to face the world; but is Henry ready for the consequences? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's a changed man after taking Jekyll's old family remedy


Comedy | Crime


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 August 1959 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: With ideas stolen from Robert Louis Stevenson. See more »


Bernie breaks into a safe picks up a jewellery case, takes out the item or two, puts them into his pocket and replaces the case. Later when he takes the jewellery out of his pocket there's masses of it which the original case wouldn't have been able to hold. See more »


Version of The Duality of Man (1910) See more »


The Ugly Duckling Theme
Written by Brian Fahey
Played by Joe Loss & His Orchestra, conducted by Joe Loss
See more »

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User Reviews

In the vault of Hammer Film there was an Ugly Duckling.
4 November 2018 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Thanks to UK Cable channel Talking Pictures, The Ugly Duckling has resurfaced. While it's no hidden gem demanding to be sought out as a critical must, it is however a joy for fans of British cinema with knowledge of such.

Story is a reworking of the Jekyll and Hyde story, with Bernard Bresslaw as Henry Jekll, a descendant of the not so good doctor. Henry is a bumbling buffoon, sweet, amiable and harmless, he does however drive all around him to distraction. Messing about in chemistry Henry transforms into Teddy Hyde, a womanising spiv, a man easy in the company of girls and gangsters alike. Trouble ahead does wait...

It's all very jolly and harmless, the center piece of plotting being a robbery of precious jewels that thrusts Henry/Teddy to the front of things. There's nothing deep on offer here, the dangers of messing with science, personality changes to fit in etc are not explored, this is played for light entertainment and works on those terms.

The dance hall background is firmly of its time, nicely so, with the Joe Loss Orchestra in full effect. While the period flavours are engaging as the rocking 50s close out as the more decadent swinging 60s beckons. The delight for Brit cinema fans here is with the cast, where lining up for some jollification are Jon Pertwee, Reginald Beckwith, Maudie Edwards, Richard Watiss, Michael Ripper, Shelagh Dey and David Lodge all propping up the ever likable Bresslaw. Bonus here is to get a rare look at the adorable Jean Muir, only two film credits when really she should have had more.

The Jekyll & Hyde axis of the story gives way to the jewel robbery in the final third, making this a tad disjointed, and the comedy is gentle and not likely to bring about raucous laughter (though one great line from Pertwee is absolute gold dust). Ultimately this has the ability to cover a compliant film fan for this ilk of cinema with a warm comfort blanket, for it be a time capsule worth opening. 7/10

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