Jack the Ripper

Dir: David Wickes
Staring: Michael Caine Frederick Abberline
Louis Collins George Godley
Armand Assante Richard Mansfield
Jane Seymour Emma Prentice
Hugh Fraser Commissioner Sir Charles Warren
TP McKenna Mr O'Connor
Susan George Catherine Eddowes
Lysette Anthony Mary Kelly
Cert / Year: 15 / 1988
Format: DVD R2

The brutal murders committed in London's East End by Jack the Ripper shocked the Victorian world. On the streets of Whitechapel a killer who time after time vanished into the shadows was tearing prostitutes to pieces. Leading the manhunt was one of Scotland Yards finest detectives Frederick Abberline played by Michael Caine.

The above is taken from the back of the DVD for this production and sums up well the stories content.

This production was originally shown on ITV in 1988 to coincide with the centenary of the Ripper killings, originally it was shown in three one hour parts but for its release on DVD has been made into one long film of 3 hours and 10 minutes.

For any one interested in the Jack the Ripper legend this is without doubt the finest dramatisation of the events in the autumn of 1888 ever produced. The dramatisation was conducted with interviews from leading criminologists and used its material from the Scotland Yard files with special permission from the Home Office.

Michael Caine stars as Inspector Frederick George Abberline hailed at the time as one of Scotland Yards best detectives who is placed on the ripper case almost from the beginning in the hopes of bringing a quick conclusion to the investigation. His assistant Sergeant George Godley played superbly by Louis Collins (Who Dares Wins and The Professionals) who is also highly respected for his insight and together they embark on their mission to catch the Ripper.

The names of the people involved are real, the sets are accurate down to the last detail, and where possible genuine architecture is used including Old Scotland Yard, the Royal Mews and Guys Hospital.

Abberline and Godley base themselves at Whitechapel Police Station following the first murder; they are visited by Clairvoyant Robert Lees who informs them that he has seen the killer in a psychic vision and that the killer has two faces.

They consult the advice of brilliant Doctor Sir William Gull who at the time was the leading man in Britain on madness and diseases of the Brain. He tells them they should be looking for a single individual who has a split personality, a man who would appear quite normal and then snap when his insanity broke cover.

I will not tell you the entire story needless to say the film is gripping from start to finish and it is only the last 40 minutes or so that are the directors own conclusions on the story, having watched this film many times and indeed doing my Media Studies Thesis on Jack the Ripper I think the conclusion in this film is the correct one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 16:9 Anamorphic I was impressed at the quality of the transfer to DVD, as certainly some of the darker scenes have gained a lot more clarity.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good
Features Audio commentary by director David Wickes with researcher Susan Davies and journalist Johnathon Sothcott
20 minutes of never before seen footage of the original photo shoot featuring Barry Forster as Inspector Abberline
Biographies on Michael Caine, Lewis Collins, Jane Seymour and David Wickes
A rather mundane photo gallery
Verdict The DVD is well presented with good cover illustrations although the extra freatures are limited with the film being over 3 hours in length I wouldn't have expected that many anyway

Rating: 3 out of 5

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