JACK THE RIPPER (1976)

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Jack the Ripper 1976 Cover It's a little known fact that the German dictator Adolf Hitler was conceived in the very same year Jack the Ripper committed his series of heinous crimes. What's more, another Ripper-German connection can be found in the following 92 minute movie made in 1976. It was Directed by Jesus Franco; and Starred: Klaus Kinski, Josephine Chaplin, with Andreas Mannkopff. 


Jack the Ripper


THE STORY:
Over the last couple of day's I would've loved to have spent more time with you, my darling Cynthia (Josephine Chaplin). But as you know, I was unable to do this because Jack the Ripper is at large in our most illustrious city.

Don't worry though. So far I've managed to track down six people who one way or another seem to know about his murders. Both a spinster and a blind-man have spotted his silhouette during one of his killings. A fisherman surprisingly found a hand belonging to one his victim's floating in the river Thames. Where as three prostitutes caught a glimpse of this fiend just after he cut-up one of their own. 

Yet the funny thing about this, Cynthia, is as soon as I gathered all of these witnesses in the same room together, and attempted to coheres from them a visual description for a portrait artist to draw, something very peculiar did occur. The fisherman suddenly began to secretly suspect that Jack was none other than our very own family doctor -- Dennis Orloff (Klaus Kinski).

Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all gets rather messy when you look over at me and say, 'My beloved Inspector Selsby (Andreas Mannkopff)! Could he be right?'. As victims are not to blame - a girlfriend plays a very dangerous game - an Inspector hopefully has a good aim - and the end end of the day, watching this film is a right bloody shame. 




THE REVIEW:
Now because this 1976 German version of 'Jack the Ripper' was so historically inaccurate, a part of me feels compelled to start off my review by presenting you with a number of noted observations. One: I presume the pub highlighted in this flick is 'The Ten Bells' -- situated on Commercial Street -- but during this period of time this drinking establishment never held a burlesque show there. Two: One of the girls in this adventure hummed the pop tune composed by Tony Sheridan called 'My Bonnie'. This song was made in 1962 though, and not 1888. Three: No one could catch fish in the river Thames amidst the 19th century, mainly because this easterly part of the river had -- and still has -- too much pollution in it to sustain aquatic sea life. Four: All of the victims names in this movie were completely wrong, as well as the why, the where, and the how of their demise. Five: The inspector in charge of the Jack the Ripper murders' was called Inspector Frederick Abberline, and he was happily married. Six: Whitechapel is nowhere near Chelsea, and there wasn't a forest in it either. Seven: The coat of arms shown outside Scotland Yard was incorrect, as it states 'ER' for Elisabeth Regina, whereas it should have been 'VR' for Victoria Regina.

Jack The Ripper 1976 Movie Poster Starring Klaus Kinski
Now I know I could go on and on and on, explaining how inaccurate 'Jack The Ripper' truly is. But no. I feel that would be wrong of me. As I'd much rather prefer to tell you if I liked this film or not.

Answer -- not a lot. 

Well, on the one hand it's a very gory and artistic production, and has that very grey looking seventies quality which I really do dig. Whilst on the other hand the story came across as very maudlin in tone, the characters were all of the one note variety, the sexual nudity felt very exploitative, and the dubbing in this project was the worst I've ever heard in my entire life!

Trust me. I've watched a lot of Hong Kong cinema so I know exactly what I'm talking about here. In this movie one of the policemen sounded like a drag-queen, some of the prostitutes sounded like posh people trying to sound common, plus the overall mix had a very strange echo-like flavor to it too -- and was rather distracting to say the least.

Of course, by in large I would normally overlook something like this because I can watch a film even if the dubbing is abysmal. However, due to its inaccurate account and very mannered story-line, I'm afraid to say it was a bit of a strain for me to follow.


Prostitute in Jack the Ripper 1976


Having said that, though, it is very good looking upon the screen. The gore is gory -- like a baroque painting. The actors come off OK -- especially Klaus, Josephine, and Andreas. The nudity is very 'German Porn' -- and you can get to see both tits and muff. And its Victorian era vibe is largely intact -- mostly. It's just everything else appears to be a bit of a dud. Including the ending. Just finishing as if it were 'another day at the office' -- so to speak.

Jack The Ripper Starring Klaus Kinski
Anyway. That's enough of that for the moment. So I tell you what, dear reader. Why don't we now sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts. (1) 'Elite Film' first released this production in West Germany on the exact same day as the infamous Ford / Carter TV debate. It was on the 23rd of September, 1976. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Butcher of Soho' in Finland; 'Erotic Deep' in Italy; and 'The Prostitute Killer of London' in Germany. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location within the Swiss city of Kanton Zürich. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'Close your eyes and whisper his name'. (5) Josephine Chaplin is the daughter of the esteemed British actor, Charlie Chaplin, and he was born one year after the Jack the Ripper murders. (6) Klaus Kinski was honored by his city of birth, Sopot, and he can speak fairly fluent English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. (7) Throughout numerous points in his career, Andreas Mannkopff dubbed the voices of the comedian's John Candy and Benny Hill. (8) The director of this thriller, Jesus Franco, hates his own work so much, he claims that he has never made a good film in his whole life. (9) The first depiction of Jack the Ripper in the media happened during the times of the crimes. In October, 1888, the author, John Francis Brewster, wrote a short story in the gothic Novel, 'The Curse upon Mitre Square', featuring the death of Catherine Eddowes. (10) Jesus Franco uses a number of jazz inspired pseudonyms to sign off his work with. Paying homage to musicians such as Clifford Brown, James Johnson, and Dave Tough.


The Cast of Jack the Ripper 1976


Overall I'd say 'Jack the Ripper' is a film that you should watch if you are either a fan of Jack or German cinema. Or alternatively, if you are in dire need of some Scandinavian porn. If so, you know where to look! Wink-Wink!

THE RATING: B