When Watson reads from the newspaper there have been two similar murders near Whitechapel in a few days, Sherlock Holmes' sharp deductive is immediately stimulated to start its merciless method of elimination after observation of every apparently meaningless detail. He guesses right the victims must be street whores, and doesn't need long to work his way trough a pawn shop, an aristocratic family's stately home, a hospital and of course the potential suspects and (even unknowing) witnesses who are the cast of the gradually unraveled story of the murderer and his motive. Written by
The Ripper's first victim, Mary Ann Nichols had just bought a new hat and was very proud of it on the night she was murdered. This bit of business is given to the Ripper's third victim, Long Liz Stride. See more »
In the same scene, Holmes rises to leave whilst checking his payment in his right hand. The shot changes, and without having dropped the change on the table he is now lifting his cognac glass. See more »
A Study in Terror is directed by James Hill and written by Derek and Donald Ford. Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, it stars John Neville, Donald Houston, John Fraser, Anthony Quale, Frank Finlay and Adrienne Corri. Music is by John Scott and cinematography by Desmond Dickinson. Out of Compton Films it's an Eastman Color production. Plot pitches intrepid sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Neville) against notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.
On paper it's a filmic match made in heaven, two characters as well known as they are invariably different. One a great work of fiction, the other infamously true and dastardly. Yet the story is flat, not that it doesn't lack for quality in execution, it just lacks any suspense or dramatic verve to fully make it worthy of further visits. Cast are mostly very good, especially Neville, who makes for a lithe and autocratic Holmes, while Alex Vetchinsky's sets are period supreme. The Eastman Color, also, is a plus point, British horror always tended to have a better sheen to it in the Eastman Color lenses, so it be here for the dark deeds played out in Whitechapel, London, 1888. But ultimately, and in spite of it being an intelligent spin on the Ripper legend, story doesn't play out well enough to make it a classic of either the Ripper or Holmes cinema adaptations. 6/10
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