In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's ... See full summary »
In late Victorian London, Jack the Ripper has been killing and maiming actresses in the night. The Burtons are forced to take in a lodger due to financial hardship. He seems like a nice young man, but Mrs. Burton suspects him of being the ripper because of some mysterious and suspicious habits, and fears for her beautiful actress niece who lives with them.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The police inspector says that a fingerprint was taken from one of the Ripper murder scenes, and the inspector himself carries a vial of fingerprinting powder. However, the Ripper murders took place in 1888; the first criminal identification from fingerprints took place in Argentina in 1892, and the British police did not adopt fingerprinting until 1901. See more »
Old Cockney Man:
"Murders being committed in our midst. Police inadequate. We intend offering a substantial reward to anyone, citizen or otherwise, who shall give information bringing the murderer or murderers to justice." Hmm.
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Though heavy hints suggest the "Jack the Ripper" murders, this name is deemphasised in the film. Here the killer is known mainly as "The Ripper" and possibly for censorship reasons his victims are identified in dialogue as "actresses" and "showgirls" but never "prostitutes".
Many of the victims are downtrodden cockney women who may once have danced or acted on stage but are now reduced to street busking and begging to support their rowdy drinking sessions in cosy East End pubs. Save for their career designation as given in the dialogue, the film is clearly suggesting prostitutes as victims, and the killer is shown to find showgirls immoral. (It is also important to note the great pains made by the script to show the victims as kind and generous and in no way deserving of their fate.)
In any event this is a well-made film with excellent black and white photography, good camera work and some interesting images. The film is foremost entertainment, it is not a detailed documentary of the "Jack the Ripper" crimes, nor is it a mystery. Only a rudimentary exploration of the killer's psyche is made, and much screen-time is lavished on showcasing song and dance numbers performed by Merle Oberon in her leading role as a gaily dressed showgirl. Indeed the police investigation takes second-place to the fluffy romance between Oberon's character and a police detective, and the final twist involving the killer's possible left-handedness a rudimentary boy's-own-adventure style plot twist.
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