Although Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is widely recognized as a monumental piece of fiction, Stevenson's concept of duality within human identity was not completely originally. In fact, he had encountered precursors to his tale long before he wrote the novel. Most frequently as influential to the development of Stevenson's work are . Hoffman's The Devil's Elixirs (1816), Thomas Jefferson Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), Edgar Allan Poe's William Wilson (1839), and most significantly, Theophile Gautier's Le Chevalier Double (1840). Gautier's story centers on the protagonist, Oluf, who has a double nature and leads a tormented life, much like Jekyll and Hyde.
Variety ran a somewhat less favorable but still positive review. Alfred Rushford Greason wrote that "the picture doesn't build to an effective climax" because it was too slow and labored in getting there, and that while the initial transformation sequence "carries a terrific punch", its effect became lessened with successive uses. However, Greason credited March with "an outstanding bit of theatrical acting", declared the makeup "a triumph", and said that the sets and lighting alone made the film worth seeing "as models of atmospheric surroundings."