Jack The Ripper 1959 Cover It has once been alleged that the notorious 'Jack the Ripper' had a sister called 'Jill the Stripper'. I'm not entirely sure what her profession was though. Yet I suspect it must be something to do with the wood restoration industry. Or better yet, something to do with the following 84 minute movie made in 1959. It was Directed by: Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman; and Starred: Lee Patterson, John Le Mesurier, with Eddie Byrne.

Jack The Ripper: The Film - The Book

God damn it, Sam (Lee Patterson)! Who is he, eh? Who do you think is that mysterious figure lurking around the streets' of Whitechapel, London, and killing whoever doesn't go by the name of 'Mary Clarke'?

Yeah-Yeah-Yeah! I know the press have given this creep the alias, 'Jack the Ripper', my American ally. Yet what I'm trying to say here is who is he exactly? I mean, could he be someone working at the local hospital, perhaps? And if so, who?

Now my first bet would be on the venerable surgeon called Sir David Rogers (Ewen Solon), because it has been alleged that Jack has some sort of anatomical knowledge. Next up I would lay my money on someone like Doctor Tranter (John Le Mesurier), who is both a brash and charitable man by nature. Especially when you take into consideration how he's sponsored the erstwhile pursuits of his new ward, Anne Ford (Betty McDowall). And last but not least I'd say Clarke (George Rose) was in the running. And the reason why I say this is because this disabled porter does act rather strangely on occasion.

Still, whatever the case may be, that's most probably why what next transpires kicks off when you say to me, 'Look out Inspector O'Neill (Eddie Byrne)!!! Jack has stuck again!!!'. As a woman points two policemen in the right direction - a victim's demise needs further inspection - an American ally smells a low down dirty rat - and at the end of the day, a misguided doctor ultimately goes splat.


Being an avid Ripperologist you might have thought I'd be very hypercritical about any of the Jack the Ripper movies I've seen. But no. On the contrary. Half of me always presumes' that the filmmaker's will miss out on most of the pertinent details relating to the case. Whilst the other half of me is just glad to watch something related to 'The Autumn of Terror'. Well, I'm not normally a very fussy person by nature. However, in this instance... errr... how can I put this?

Jack The Ripper Movie Poster
Oh! I know. To begin with I'd say from a literary perspective the structure of this film was all over the shop. It starts off with a killing. It then introduces the two principle 'police figures'. Then it showcases the suspects. And after that, it goes from another killing, to an arrest, to a release, to a segway, that meanders too and throw until the eventful outcome finally presents itself.

No. It wasn't a very focused story-line I'm afraid to say. Plus I wasn't very keen on how the numerous characters took center stage without any logical explanation whatsoever.

Also, even though I understood on a commercial level why the two main detectives were from America, on a visceral level this aspect felt very much out of place. I mean, what if the roles were revered, eh? And it was a couple of Englishmen who tried to solve the JFK assassination! Tonally, this just feels very-very obtuse in execution. Particularly when it is placed within the confines' of Victorian era London.

On the flip side if things though I did enjoy gawping at the set-designs and the eventual conclusion. Now where the sets were concerned -- smashing -- slightly above the usual high standard for a period film such as this one. And where the conclusion was concerned -- yeah -- that was pretty smashing too -- mainly because some much needed back-story was conveyed, and the final 'chase sequence' presented a very cleaver quandary. A quandary, I might add, that was complemented by a bunch of great actors who did a fairly fine job at conveying their respective roles -- especially John Le Mesurier -- who did seem tonally out of character than the norm.

Leonard Matters Book on Jack The Ripper
Anyway. Before I get too carried away with myself, dear reader, let us now have some filmic-facts, shall we? (1) Although the American version of this film was credited by the American production company, 'Embassy Pictures', in actual fact it was an English company called 'Mid Century Film Ltd' who produced it, and it was first released in the UK on the 28th of May, 1959. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Woman Killer' in the Netherlands, 'Ripper London' in Mexico; and 'A City Is Looking For A Murderer' in Austria. (3) The majority of this movie was shot at 'Shepperton Studios', located within the English county of Surrey. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'This "Lady" Has Taken Her Last Walk!'. (5) This flick was loosely based on a thesis published in 1924 written by the Australian journalist, Leonard Matters, who hypothesized that Jack the Ripper was a medical man, who had a son that tragically passed away from syphilis caught from a prostitute. The name of this book is 'The Mystery of Jack the Ripper', and it was the first non-fictionalized account written about him. (6) Jimmy Sangster, who was the scriptwriter that adapted this film for the big screen, was one of the driving forces behind the legendary 'Hammer' film studios. (7) This picture has been referenced in Gorman Bechard's 1987 horror-comedy, 'Psychos in Love', as well as Anthony Hickox's 1992 horror-comedy sequel, 'Waxworks 2: Lost In Time'. (8) Despite brandishing a $1 million dollar advertising campaign, ultimately this flick was deemed a failure in the eyes of its producer, Joseph E. Levine. He once said to a journalist, "We dropped dead in every state! You'd think somewhere, a small town maybe, someplace, it would have done business. But no. That's a record they'll never come close to. (9) For any more Ripper related information please click on over to our pals at The Jack The Ripper Tour.  (10) The two musicians who composed the musical score for the U.S. version of this movie -- Jimmy McHugh and Pete Rugolo -- teamed-up with Steve Allen to produce the following promotional novelty 'Jack the Ripper' record, sung by Nino Tempo. 

Overall I'd say this 1959 'Jack the Ripper' film was very much a hit and miss affair. The concept was a good one, yet the story and the execution wasn't. Still, you can't win them all, can you? Unless you're Jack that is. Jack the Ripper, HahAHAhahahaa!