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Whatever happened to Jack the Ripper? Jul 18

Last week’s story about Aaron Kosminski piqued my interest and so at the weekend I watched Jack the Ripper, a three hour long 1980s TV adaptation of the story, starring Michael Caine. While taking care in places to feature lots of detail from the time, for the sake of drama it also takes some significant liberties with the truth and, like most dramatisations, has to identify a culprit (whose identity was somewhat given away by the order in which the cast was billed). Caine does well enough, but it can’t be said his protrayal of Frederick Abberline is any more realistic than Johnny Depp’s.

The biggest problem with this adaptation, though, is that it’s badly made. The music is repetitive, the script is lazy, and the acting is, in too many cases, plain rubbish. Jonathan Moore has to be singled out for particular criticism because his journalist character, Benjamin Bates, appears regularly throughout the film, undermining every scene in which he is present. Thumbs down.

Last night I watched What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Despite having seen a French & Saunders spoof, I knew relatively little about the film. It was a little lengthy but entertaining, mostly for Bette Davis’s stomping around like a washed up old drag queen. Some plot elements were frustrating (Joan Crawford’s character seems, for no good reason, unable to shout to her neighbour for help) but it’s certainly worth a look.

One Response

  1. […] Having enjoyed Bette Davis’s peformance in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I ordered All About Eve, which reignited her career in middle age. It tells the story of stage star Margo Channing (a scene-stealing Davis) and her adoring fan and budding actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). George Sanders also stands out in a strong cast, which features a small role from Marilyn Monroe. It’s a drama and filmed in a stagey style, with some rooms noticeably filmed from one side only, but given the subject matter of actors and actresses and some sensibilities of drawing room comedy, this is not a problem. […]