Jack the Ripper
Directed by: Jesus Franco,
Horror / Thriller, 92min
Distribution by VIP
Classic tale of the infamous Victorian time murderer who officially slaughtered at least seven women in
So perhaps sleaze monger Jesus Franco isn't everyone’s cup of tea. So it may well be. Crappy acting, terrible dubbing, atrocious camerawork, dreadful lighting and lashings of scantily clad men and women running all over on screen are just some of Franco’s trademarks, but somewhere at the root of all this is a true artist just dying to create that masterpiece to keep his flame alight. Sometimes Franco really gets it right, with the proper backing and people around him has managed to make a few gems of genre cinema, Gritos en la notche 1962, Vampyros Lesbos 1971, Sie tötete in Ekstase 1971, Jack the Ripper 1976, Loveletters of a Portuguese Nun 1977 and Faceless 1988. These few grains of watch able movies do on the other hand not forgive the other 180+ movies that didn't manage to make an impression. But, and this is a big but, almost every Franco movie I have ever seen has one or a few scenes of brilliance that always make me sit thought the rest of the movie. I will never forget watching the terrible Tendre et perverse Emanuelle 1973*, and just fast forwarding just to get through it, and all of a sudden, there's a wild 360 degree pan round the boat. Round and round two laps, and there's not a ripple in sight on the water, and the way its shot is from the deck and then out away from the boat. I can still to this day not understand how he pulled it off, but it still remains one of the most impressive pan shots I have ever seen. Today with digital technology it would be easy as hell, but in 1973! I have no idea how he did it.
Anyhow, back to Jack the Ripper. Shot on location in
Image wise it's a rather decent print, Anamorphic widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 and the colour tones are solid, and the print has been supervised by the movies cinematographer Peter Baumgarten.
Audio options on the disc are plenty, you can chose from the German, English, French or, Italian. The subtitles are the rather strange options of Finnish, Dutch or Greek. Although the audio of the English version is typical Euro trash standards, I'm positive that the VHS I owned years ago used to have more of a cockney tone to all the dialogue. Perhaps this also has been re-mastered for this director's edition.
The extras on this disc almost make it worth the price of the disc itself. A deleted scene of more carnage, short but gruesome taken from an old 16mm print, the kind that you used to be able to hire before the golden age of Vhs claims the text. A seventeen minute long production report about the restoration of the series of Franco films released on DVD by Dietrich’s supervision. Production stills, and trailers for both Jack the Ripper and Love Letters of Portuguese Nun. Cast & Crew bios, a factual text about Jack the Ripper's 1888
Overall a surprisingly good DVD release of one of Franco's better movies. It's going to be very interesting to check out the other Franco titles coming from VIP to see how long they can keep up the high quality.
*At least that's the film I recall it to be, if anyone knows better, let me know.