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. The black-and-white film stars Lee Patterson and Eddie Byrne and co-stars Betty McDowall, John Le Mesurier, and Ewen Solon. It was released in England in 1959, and shown in the U.S. in 1960.
|Jack the Ripper|
|Directed by||Monty Berman|
Robert S. Baker
|Screenplay by||Jimmy Sangster|
John Le Mesurier
|Music by||Stanley Black (UK)|
Jimmy McHugh (US)
Pete Rugolo (US)
|Cinematography||Robert S. Baker|
|Edited by||Peter Bezencenet|
|Distributed by||Regal Film Distributors (UK)|
Embassy Pictures (through Paramount Pictures) (US)
|Box office||$1.1 million (US)|
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. 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.
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.
- Lee Patterson as Sam Lowry
- Eddie Byrne as Inspector O'Neill
- Betty McDowall as Anne Ford
- Ewen Solon as Sir David Rogers
- John Le Mesurier as Dr. Tranter
- George Rose as Clarke
- Philip Leaver as Music Hall Manager
- Barbara Burke as Kitty Knowles
- Anne Sharp as Helen
- Denis Shaw as Simes
- Jack Allen as Assistant Commissioner Hodges
- Jane Taylor as Hazel
- Dorinda Stevens as Margaret
- Hal Osmond as Snakey the pickpocket
The film's budget was raised from a combination of pre-sales to Regal Film Distributors at the National Film Finance Corporation.
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.
According to Variety, the film earned rentals of $1.1 million in North America on initial release.
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."
- John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 56-61
- "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
- 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.
- "Jack the Ripper (1958)". BFI.
- Woods and Baddeley, p. 197
- Meikle, pp. 76–77
- Meikle, p. 79