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During the latter half of 1888, a notorious serial killer nicknamed Jack the Ripper terrorises the East End of London by murdering prostitutes in a terribly violent way. Public outrage follows. Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline is assigned to the case, but finds that it is not just a simple murder enquiry. Based on a real-life event, this movie claims to have had access to top secret Home Office files and believe that their ending is the correct solution to the age old mystery.Written by
The position of Mary Kelly's bed as viewed from the window into which Thomas Bowyer peered is wrong. It is shown with the foot of the bed closest to the window, when in fact from that angle the view should have been the same view of the bed as shown in the photograph of Mary Jane Kelly's remains (which was found by Donald Rumbelow). See more »
"For over 100 years the murders in Whitechapel committed by Jack the Ripper have baffled the World. What you are about to see is a dramatisation of these events. Our story is based on extensive research, including a review of the official files by special permission of the Home Office and interviews with leading criminologists and Scotland Yard officials."
Jack The Ripper is produced out of Euston Films and is directed by David Wickes who also co-wrote it with Derek Marlowe. Released to coincide with the 100 years anniversary of the murders, it stars Michael Caine (Frederick Abberline), Armand Assante (Richard Mansfield), Ray McAnally (Sir William Gull), Lewis Collins (Sgt. George Godley), Ken Bones (Robert James Lees), Susan George (Catherine 'Kate' Eddowes) & Jane Seymour (Emma Prentiss).
Originally released as a TV mini-series in the United Kingdom, Jack The Ripper has long since been available to view as a three hour ten minute movie. Every second of which is worth sitting thru. For his story Wickes uses actual historical characters that were involved in the 1888 hunt for the notorious killer. Drawing heavily from the Masonic/Royal Family conspiracy theory that has been used before in tellings of the story (notably the film Murder By Decree born out of Thomas E. A. Stowell's theory), Wickes boldly proclaimed to be revealing the true identity of the Ripper. Something that unsurprisingly he was forced to recant, but regardless of that, this is a glorious telling, meticulous in detail and providing much food for thought.
In amongst the grizzly murders and the fraught search for the killer by the exasperated police, Wickes' movie fully forms the other issues to hand. Such as the role of the press during this dark time and why was George Lusk leading vigilante's across Whitechapel? The Government and Royal Family aspects are given screen time because that's how high the issue went. The pressure on Abberline from his superiors is told in full, as the murders start to escalate and Abberline runs up against questionable assistance during the investigation, his anger grows. We are with him every step of the way. The prostitutes aren't merely Ripper fodder characters either, we at least meet them, understand them, even seeing the role of the "pimp" in Victorian England. It's good stuff, well researched.
Technically, for a TV movie, its production value is very high. Great sets that bring to life Victorian England (the exteriors were actually shot in Belper, Derbyshire), the costumes catch the eye and the cast are hugely effective. Particularly Caine (throwing himself into the role) and Assante (switching his character's emotional state regularly with consummate ease). We also get the chill factor too, something that's needed in a film of such dark thematics. As the street girls walk alone in dimly lit cobbled streets, the air of unease is palpable. Then a silhouette of the man with the hat, cloak and bag brings a cold shiver down the spine. Witness to the sequences involving the play Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a nice put in to the plot by the writers, and one that provides genuinely creepy moments. It's a top film that has so much going for it.
There will be other Jack The Ripper film's no doubt, and for sure more books will arrive proclaiming this and that is true. But with this take, if you buy into the theory or not, is probably as good as it gets for detail and execution of the material. 9/10
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