In 1888, Jack the Ripper is on his killing spree. Scotland Yard Inspector O'Neill is pleased to welcome to London his old friend Sam Lowry, a New York City detective who has come to visit him and is only too happy to help out with the case. Sam becomes attracted to Anne Ford, a modern woman for the age, but her guardian, Dr. Tranter doesn't quite approve. The good doctor also seems to be out when the Ripper murders occur. As the population edge ever loser to taking the law into their own hands, the police slowly close in the killer. Written by
This film was well remembered by horror and thriller fans from this period. The massive advertising campaign generated huge ticket sales and a high number of holdover dates. But, according to Joseph E. Levine, the film was a failure in the U.S. He claimed, "We dropped dead in every one! You'd think somewhere, a small town maybe, someplace, it would have done business. But no. That's a record they'll never come close to." See more »
I wasn't intending on watching this film as it got a bad review in my TV guide. But when I saw John Le Mesurier (whom I most associate with the TV series "Dad's Army") becoming a prime suspect at the start of this Jack the Ripper themed whodunnit, then I just had to watch the rest.
The film basically uses the Jack the Ripper case as a excuse for a whodunnit. Jack's identity is pretty easy to guess (not enough suspects!), but the motive for the killings takes a bit longer to figure out.
The inclusion of an American policeman in the story does rather pander to an American audience, but it works quite well. I was cynically expecting him to solve the case before the London policeman and have a fight to the death with Jack at the the end of the film. But I was pleasantly surprised with the ending (it was vaguely reminiscent of the endings of a couple of Dario Argento's gialli).
Overall it's not a great film, but if you're into whodunnits then it's worth checking out.
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