The Ugly Duckling (1959)

UK, 1959
35mm, black and white

A British comedy science fiction/horror film directed by Lance Comfort. The film is often regarded to be lost though this isn’t true. The British Film Institute holds a 35mm print, albeit without a soundtrack, and a 16mm print is held by the archive at UCLA. The film was eventually aired on British television by Talking Pictures TV in 2018.

Plot Summary

Victor Jekyll is a successful band leader working with sister Henrietta who runs a dance team. But their artistic endeavours are ruined by the youngest sibling, the huge and clumsy Henry, a gentle giant who just wants to be loved. Henry desperately wants to join a teen gang, The Rockets, but is rejected, despite his friendship with one of their number, the tomboyish Snout. Brooding and alone one night in the family chemist shop, he discovers old Dr Henry Jekyll’s secret formula and transforms himself into the smooth talking spiv Teddy Hide. But things get out of hand when crooked theatre owner Dandy Kingsley hires him to join his gang in a daring raid.


* = uncredited

Director: Lance Comfort
Hammer Film Productions
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Executive Producer: Michael Carreras
Producer: Tom Lyndon-Haynes
Associate Producer: Tommy Lyndon-Haynes
Production Manager: Don Weeks
Screenplay: Sid Colin, Jack Davies
Story: Sid Colin
1st Assistant Director: John Peverall
2nd Assistant Director: Tom Walls
Continuity: Marjorie Lavelly
Lighting Cameraman: Michael Reed
Camera Operator: Len Harris
Supervising Editor: James Needs
Editor: John Dunsford
Incidental Music Composed by: Douglas Gamley
The Ugly Duckling Theme Composed by: Brian Fahey
Music Played by: Joe Loss and his Orchestra
Sound Mixer: Jock May
Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
Chief Make-up Artist: Roy Ashton
Hairdresser: Henry Montsash
Production Designer: Bernard Robinson
Casting Director: Dorothy Holloway
A British picture made at Bray Studios

Bernard Bresslaw (Henry Jekyll/Teddy Hyde)
Jon Pertwee (Victor Jekyll)
Ian Ainsley (Fraser)
Roger Avon (reporter)
Reginald Beckwith (Reginald)
Elwyn Brook-Jones (Dandy)
Jill Carson (Yum Yum)
Cyril Chamberlain (police sergeant)
Alan Coleshill (Willie)
Jess Conrad (Bimbo)
Robert Desmond (Dizzy)
Shelagh Dey (Miss Angers)
Alexander Doré (shop customer)
Jean Driant (M. Blum)
Maudie Edwards (Henrietta Jekyll)
Harold Goodwin
Sheila Hammond (receptionist)
John Harvey (Sergeant Barnes)
David Lodge (Peewee)
Joe Loss
Norma Marla
Reginald Marsh (reporter)
Vicky Marshall (Kitten)
Verne Morgan (barman)
Jean Muir (Snout)
Geremy Phillips (Tiger)
Michael Ripper (Benny)
Keith Smith (Figures)
Richard Statman (reporter)
Nicholas Tanner (commissionaire)
Michael Ward (Pasco)
Richard Wattis (Barclay)
Ian Wilson (small man)
Mary Wilson (Lizzie)
Malka Alamont [Fifi] *
Jack Armstrong, Jamie Barnes, Richard Dake, Stella Kemball, Aileen Lewis, Peter Mander, Lola Morice, Alecia St Leger [old time dancers] *
Heather Downham [Margo] *
Lucy Griffiths [cellist] *
Aldine Harvey [Jane] *
Ann Mayhew [Lucienne] *
Jacqueline Perrin [Ursula] *
Helen Pohlman [Amanda] *
Helga Wahlrow [Rosemary] *


The Daily Cinema no.8185 (29 July 1959) p.9 – review
The House That Hammer Built no.2 (April 1997) pp.107-109 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
Kine Weekly 13 August 1959 p.25 – review
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.26 no.308 (September 1959) p.125 – credits, synopsis, review

The Columbia Checklist: The Feature Films, Cartoons, Serials and Short Subjects of Columbia Pictures, 1922-1988 by Len D. Martin p.372 – credits
Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1929 by Michael R. Pitts pp.266 – credits
English Gothic by Jonathan Rigby p.75 – note
Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.510 – credits