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Man in the Attic (1953)

After an enigmatic, self-described pathologist rents the attic room of a Victorian house, his landlady begins to suspect her lodger is Jack the Ripper.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Barre Lyndon) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Insp. Paul Warwick
...
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William Harley
...
Constable #1
...
Constable #2
Tita Phillips ...
Daisy
...
Chief Insp. Melville (as Lester Mathews)
...
Detective Sgt. Bates
Lisa Daniels ...
Mary Lenihan
...
...
Katy
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Storyline

London, 1888: on the night of the third Jack the Ripper killing, soft-spoken Mr. Slade, a research pathologist, takes lodgings with the Harleys, including a gloomy attic room for "experiments." Mrs. Harley finds Slade odd and increasingly suspects the worst; her niece Lily (star of a decidedly Parisian stage revue) finds him interesting and increasingly attractive. Is Lily in danger, or are her aunt's suspicions merely a red herring? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Life...The Loves...The Crimes of Jack the Ripper! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 December 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der unheimliche Untermieter  »

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

It is obvious during the horse and carriage scene that it is a stuntman, not Palance, participating. See more »

Quotes

Chief Insp. Melville: [Referring to the police dragnet] Can't get out of this if he's human.
Insp. Paul Warwick: Afraid he isn't human... not and do what he did to that girl.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Lodger (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Liebestod
from "Tristan und Isolde" (uncredited)
Composed by Richard Wagner (1857 - 1859)
Ostensibly dubbed by unknown pianist for onscreen Jack Palance
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Disappointing
28 March 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Curiously tepid re-telling of the Jack the Ripper legend. Jack Palance certainly looks the part. With his rictus-like face, long lean body, and sinister smile, he's the most unusual of figures. However his Ripper comes across as more neurotic than menacing. As his scenes with Smith suggest, he's emotionally vulnerable, soft-spoken, even with a slight unmasculine lisp and a rampant mother-fixation. Now this is an interesting interpretation of the serial killer. Still and all, it works against Palance's appearance and the menace the role needs. In short, it makes for an interesting psychological profile, but not for the imposing personality that would stir an audience. Palance certainly can't be accused of overplaying the role.

There's also too little of the glistening cobblestone streets and alleyways that create the needed background gloom. Likely the budget didn't allow for much of that atmospheric embroidery. Then too, director Hugo Fregonese does't appear to have a stylish feel for the material, which he films in a pretty straightforward unimaginative manner. What the movie does have is a gorgeous Constance Smith in a lively and compelling performance. Whatever happened to her. With her looks and talent, she should qualified for A-list parts, but her career looks a little mysterious, petering out in Italy in the late 50's.

Anyway, it's a good chance to scope out the early Jack Palance in a performance that unfortunately falls short of his absolutely spine-chilling gunfighter in the classic Western Shane (1953).


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