HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jack the Ripper Victorians FallBuy this film here.
Year: 1959
Director: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman
Stars: Lee Patterson, Eddie Byrne, Betty McDowall, Ewen Solon, John Le Mesurier, George Rose, Philip Leaver, Barbara Burke, Anne Sharp, Denis Shaw, Endre Muller, Esma Cannon, George Woodbridge, Bill Shine, Marianne Stone, Garard Green, Jack Allen
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Historical
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1888 and the place is Victorian London, where tonight on these now-quiet streets there is a prostitute emerging from a pub, drunk and trying to put her makeup on. Her powder box falls into the gutter, and as she crouches to pick it up she looks up to see the only other person around is standing over her, asking the name "Mary Clarke?" in rough tones. She isn't that person, but before she can make that clear a knife appears the man's hand and stabs her: she is the first victim of one of the world's first serial killers, Jack the Ripper, and the city is whipped up into a frenzy of suspicion, swooping down on anyone who they don't like the look of, including visiting American Sam Lowry (Lee Patterson)...

Wait a second, how come the lead character in Terry Gilliam's sci-fi classic Brazil and the protagonist in this rather tawdry little shocker have the same name? Coincidence? Possibly, because there wasn't much else to connect the two films, this being a minor exploitation flick from Britain, one of the few from that nation to exploit the possibilities of investigating, or at least positing a solution to, the most sensational set of unsolved murders of the nineteenth century. Fresh explanations seem to erupt every few years from various theorists known as Ripperologists, but they don't take this seriously, one of the horrors drawn from a Jimmy Sangster script after he struck box office gold with his Hammer screenplays.

This was a rather more impoverished production, with some underdressed sets and cheap black and white photography, bolstered for the Continental market by the inclusion of topless extras as was often the case in those days. None of that in the British or American releases, however, though if there had been it might have increased its takings since the U.S. distributor Jerry Levine thought he could make a hit out of this and pushed it with a huge publicity campaign, only to see that optimism, not to mention a hefty advertising budget, go down the drain when Americans weren't as interested as he had hoped. In its country of origin, it did fairly well as it rode the crest of the wave of the European horror boom of the nineteen-fifties.

There was one aspect Sangster took from his research that made it to the screen, a suspicion that the actual Jack had medical knowledge, so here our three prime suspects all work at the local women's hospital. Two are surgeons, Sir David Rogers (Ewen Solon) and Dr Tranter (John Le Mesurier - imagine him as a murderer!), and one is a hunchbacked, mute assistant straight out of a mad scientist movie, Louis Benz (Endre Muller); they all seem obvious, so could all be red herrings, or maybe that's what the film wants us to think, or perhaps... well, you get the idea, preserving the mystery was uppermost in the story. That said, it may have been easier to predict who would be revealed as wielding the scalpel by the grand finale than they might have expected, though that finale was notably lurid for its day.

As for Lowry, in spite of having no purpose in the plot other than to romance Tranter's ward Anne Ford (Betty McDowall, whose voice was better known than her appearance after years starring in popular radio soap opera The Archers), he was actually present to make sure international markets were served by having an American prominently cast (though Patterson was technically Canadian). He also got to be the sidekick to the actual inspector on the case, O'Neill (prolific character player Eddie Byrne), and helped out when the other concern the script brought up was apparent, which was not simply being murdered by a maniac, but the threat of mob violence. Time and again after each murder a crowd will assemble and starting seeking someone to blame, and if their chosen victim had an alibi it didn't really matter, they wanted a scapegoat so if they said their target was guilty, then guilty he was, who needed evidence? This added an interesting tension to what was rather too basic as a thriller and not macabre enough for a chiller, though the bit everyone remembers, where the monochrome film turns to colour to see the killer's blood bubbling up between floorboards, had a certain nasty ingenuity. Music by Stanley Black.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1653 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: