Jack the Ripper (1959 film)

Jack the Ripper is a 1959 film produced and directed by Monty Berman and Robert S. Baker. It is loosely based on Leonard Matters' theory that Jack the Ripper was an avenging doctor.[3] The black-and-white film stars Lee Patterson and Eddie Byrne and co-stars Betty McDowall, John Le Mesurier, and Ewen Solon.[4] It was released in England in 1959, and shown in the U.S. in 1960.[5]

Jack the Ripper
Directed byMonty Berman
Robert S. Baker
Screenplay byJimmy Sangster
StarringLee Patterson
Eddie Byrne
Betty McDowall
John Le Mesurier
Ewen Solon
Music byStanley Black (UK)
Jimmy McHugh (US)
Pete Rugolo (US)
CinematographyRobert S. Baker
Monty Berman
Edited byPeter Bezencenet
Distributed byRegal Film Distributors (UK)
Embassy Pictures (through Paramount Pictures) (US)
Release date
  • 28 May 1959 (1959-05-28) (UK)
  • 17 February 1960 (1960-02-17) (US)
Running time
84 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$1.1 million (US)[2]

The plot is a "whodunit" with false leads and a denouement in which the least likely character, in this case "Sir David Rogers" played by Ewen Solon, is revealed as the culprit.[6] As in Matters' book, The Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Solon's character murders prostitutes to avenge the death of his son. While Matters had the son dying from venereal disease, the film has him committing suicide on learning his lover is a prostitute.[7]


In 1888, Jack the Ripper is on his killing spree. Scotland Yard Inspector O'Neill (Byrne) welcomes a visit from his old friend, New York City detective Sam Lowry (Patterson), who agrees to assist with the investigation. Sam becomes attracted to modern woman Anne Ford (McDowall) but her guardian, Dr. Tranter (Le Mesurier), doesn't approve. The police slowly close in on the killer as the public becomes more alarmed. The killer's identity is revealed and he meets a ghastly end.



The film's budget was raised from a combination of pre-sales to Regal Film Distributors at the National Film Finance Corporation.[1]


Joseph E. Levine bought the US rights for £50,000. He later claimed he spent $1 million on promoting the movie and earned $2 million in profit on it.[1]

According to Variety, the film earned rentals of $1.1 million in North America on initial release.[2]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "the most memorable line of dialogue in Jack the Ripper is read, appropriately enough, at an inquest. In the stentorian tones typical of the new Victorian melodrama, the coroner declaims that the London police are "incompetent, inadequate and inept." He may have aimed his verdict at the law enforcers, but visitors to neighborhood theatres this week are likely to give his words a broader interpretation. That coroner would have made a good film critic." [8]


  1. John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 56-61
  2. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. Meikle, Denis (2002). Jack the Ripper: The Murders and the Movies. Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1-903111-32-3, pp. 75-79. Woods, Paul; Baddeley, Gavin (2009). Saucy Jack: The Elusive Ripper. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-3410-5, p. 198.
  4. "Jack the Ripper (1958)". BFI.
  5. Woods and Baddeley, p. 197
  6. Meikle, pp. 76–77
  7. Meikle, p. 79
  8. https://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9803E0D61138E333A2575BC1A9649C946191D6CF
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