Jack the Ripper Reviews
I saw this excellent version of the story when it originally aired on television. David Wickes (London Weekend Television) had done it again. Without getting overly graphic - made for TV, remember - the story of the East End prostitutes was brought to life with beautiful production values, an intelligent screenplay, and a top-flight cast.
The characters of Inspector Abberline (Michael Caine) and Sgt. George Godley are probably more accurate here than they are as portrayed in "From Hell." (One major error in "From Hell" is the character's death; Abberline died in 1929 of old age in Bournemouth.) They are played here as real; the sub-plot of Richard Mansfield (Armand Assante) is woven in authentically. The mood of the times is re-created with startling clarity, and the sequence of events holds with historical facts, only two or three minor exceptions.
The plotline of this version starts with Mary Nicholls' death, and follows through the investigation and confusion of the case, with each successive death adding to the tensions and social unrest. Mary Kelly was the last, and then Jack vanished into the mists of history. Although the running time on this version seems overlong (it was shown in two parts originally), the pacing never allows boredom to creep in. Wickes' production (he also directed) came to a conclusion similar to those presented in "Murder by Decree" (fictionalized to include Sherlock Holmes) and "From Hell." What is presented here is labeled as opinion, and it is plausible.
This is the one I watch again and again. If you see a copy, grab it! Here's hoping the DVD will become available.
Michael Caine rather younger than I'm used to seeing him, but still as charming as ever, if not even more! And a rather interesting story off course.
The entire production is top-notch. Michael Caine is fantastic as always, as is Armand Assante. Lysette Anthony pops up to remind us once again that she could have been a major scream queen had she been working in the age of Hammer. The sets, costumes and lighting are also all worthy eye-candy for lovers of period drama.
As for the theory presented as a resolution, the same was handled in a much more compelling way by Alan Moore in From Hell (the comic, not so much the movie).