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 <email@example.com>
The movie is a remake of 20th Century Fox's previous film, The Lodger (1944), starring Laird Cregar as Slade. It was released under Fox's Panoramic Productions label. Barré Lyndon's screenplay for the earlier film was updated for the remake by Robert Presnell Jr., and Hugo Friedhofer's music score from the earlier film is also reused. The movie was shot on the same sets, and reuses footage from the earlier film of the police pursuing Jack the Ripper through the streets and over the rooftops of London. See more »
In the opening and closing shots which include London Bridge at night, anachronistic cars and buses clearly can be seen crossing the Thames. See more »
[as they are looking for Slade's body in the river]
It's too dark, and it's too deep.
Insp. Paul Warwick:
Not so dark and not so deep as where he's going.
See more »
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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