Jack the Ripper (1959) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman
Starring: Lee Patterson, Eddie Byrne, Betty McDowall
Rated: UR/Region O/1:66/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Severin Films
In 1959, legendary showman Joseph E. Levine unleashed this grisly UK thriller on American moviegoers. But when audiences were horrified by the film’s startling violence, graphic nudity, and bloody Technicolor climax, it became one of Levine’s most notorious failures. Today – in its notorious UK cut and the American version with a brassy new score – it remains among the most underappreciated and provocative shockers of its time.
It’s Hammer time with Severin’s Jack the Ripper here on Blu-ray. This is a movie that probably set the M.O. for what most use in regards to red herrings these days, as at different times during this one a number of people look like they could very well be the dreaded Ripper. I’ve seen a number of movies dealing with Jack the Ripper and this is one of the better ones of the bunch I believe. The movie offers up a number of violent acts and in a lot of ways, you have a movie here that could pass for a good early example of what would go on to become the American slasher. The plot isn’t always moving a nice pace but usually, if you can wait it out you find a good scene coming up sooner than later with this one. We also eventually lead to a reveal and a cool ending.
This release also packs two versions of the film with the US and UK versions. While I feel both are about on equal footing when it comes to the movie, I do think you’ll find a better transfer in the US cut. For 1959 I’d say this movie looks pretty solid in HD. It isn’t a perfect movie by any means but it doesn’t get unwatchable during any time either. If you guess the killer before the end it might take away a little from it, but otherwise, you also have a horror “who done it?” that pre-dates such things as Scream by a few decades. Jack the Ripper is a more lightly paced affair but it’s a movie that was a blueprint for a lot of things to come later.
– British Version
– US Version
– Audio Commentary With Co-Director/Co-Producer/Co-Cinematographer Robert S. Baker, Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, Assistant Director Peter Manley, Moderated By British Horror Historian Marcus Hearn
– Alternate Continental Takes
– Interview With Denis Meikle, Author of “Jack The Ripper: The Murders And The Movies”
– The Real Jack the Ripper Featurette
– Theatrical Trailer
– Poster & Still Gallery
Quality of Transfer: 85%