I have read some commentary seeking to both explain and explore the incredible number of filmed versions -- silent and talkie -- as well as the number of theatrical incarnations of the Jekyll/Hyde yarn (Wikipedia.org suggests that it's presently well over one hundred different ones), but so far as I'm concerned there's been no solid explanation that truly solves the mystery. I suppose the whole 'duality of man' is probably the single greatest hook for those seeking to give it a narrative whirl; and, of course, it equally explores themes of how mankind might inadvertantly use science in some sick and twisted way to ultimately get what it wants from the world-at-large. Some might suggest that the Stevenson tale says something about the inevitability of violence as it relates to the removal of man's inhibitions (via the central concoction), and there's no doubt a wealth of other creative angles -- big and small -- that figure into the mix. Whatever the case, let's just agree that the work's popularity is nothing short of staggering and be about our business.
In point of fact, I'd long overlooked this 1913 version of the landmark Horror tale mostly because I'd honestly confused it with one that was released only months previous -- in 1912. Some of the websites where I do a bit of my own reading on these older releases have even used stills from them interchangeably, and, yes, as you can imagine this also led to my confusion. The modern era has had its share of studios competing to get their respective interpretations of some big story on the silver screen in the same scope of time, so this isn't anything new. But it's still nothing short of astonishing to imagine that this 1886 novel has inspired so many interpretations that -- dare I say -- it's practically an annual affair with creatives?
As popular as the central story is, I'd argue that the 1913 version had one thing that the others didn't, and that was it cast a king in the big role: actor King Baggot was -- for a time -- referred to as the "King Of The Movies" by not only his contemporaries but by audiences who frequented his pictures. His resume on IMDB.com boasts an incredible 361 different screen appearances, all clocked in between the years of 1909 thru 1947. Anyone good at math can tell you that's a gobsmacking average of ten films per year ... and that's a lot of flicks! With credentials like that, it's easy to see why (as per Wikipedia.org), the man was also called "The Most Photographed Man In The World."
Here's this version's plot summary as provided by the good people at IMDB.com:
"Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself."
Other than that, I've found very little written about the picture. Its citation on Wikipedia.org does indicate that reviewers and audiences were definitely smitten with the Jekyll/Hyde transformation sequence; apparently, this was a very effective use of dissolves that helped illustrate physically that change from good to evil. One other interesting tidbit (found on Scifist 2.0) states that this version was produced by Carl Laemmle who would go on to found Universal Pictures ... making this incarnation of the Jekyll/Hyde story debatedly the beginning of the whole Universal Pictures Movie Monsters Universe!
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!