Ulmer began his career as a set designer to the famous theatrical impresario Max Reinhardt; by 1920 he was working in films, and although often uncredited labored on such legendary films as Fritz Lang's DIE NIBELUNGEN and METROPOLIS. By 1927 he was in Hollywood, and set design work led to assignments as a director. In 1934 Ulmer brought the full force of his talents upon Universal's THE BLACK CAT--a brilliantly realized film that many consider among the finest horror films of that decade. But Ulmer's affair with script girl Shirley Castle, wife of a studio executive, resulted not only in his termination at Universal but placed him on an industry-wide blacklist as well. He would never work at a major studio again.
But Ulmer had a knack for getting the most out of a tiny budget, and he soon found himself in demand as a director at second-string studios and for independent productions. Between his dismissal from Universal in 1934 and his death in 1972 he would direct more than forty films, and he was often noted for his ability to bring a remarkable artistic vision to the screen in spite of low budgets and questionable casts.
All that said, the 1957 DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL was, according to daughter Arianne, a project undertaken for the sake of a paycheck; it is far from Ulmer's most memorable. Even so, as 1950s B-horror flicks go, it is far from the worst--in spite of tenth-rate special effects Ulmer manages to endow the movie with an entertaining atmosphere and the occasional jab of humor, and it is considerably more coherent than most of its kind.
The story concerns orphaned Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott), who has now reached her twenty-first birthday and arrives at the home of her guardian Dr. Lomas (Arthur Shields.) She brings with her future husband George Hastings (John Agar), who soon wins Dr. Lomas' approval, and all seems pleasant. But Janet is in for a surprise: Dr. Lomas tells her that she is heiress to the estate, left to her by her father, the notorious Dr. Jekyll, and no sooner is Janet in residence than corpses begin to crop up. Has she somehow inherited her father's chemically-induced evil? The script here is extremely transparent, and you'll know what's going on long before Janet does. It is also more than a little odd, managing to wrap ideas about vampires and werewolves into the whole Dr. Jekyll package. Add to this extremely obvious miniatures awash in dry ice, mediocre special effects, and a cast that tends toward the obvious at every possible turn--well, the overall effect is somewhat hooty, to say the least.
THE DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL will never rank along side the likes of Ed Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE in the "so bad it's good" cult movie derby--Ulmer is too much of an artist to permit tipsy tombstones--but it is actually amusing in its low-rent efforts.
Review by gftbiloxi from the Internet Movie Database.