MURDER AND MYSTERY TRIPLE FEATURE
A Study in Terror (1965)"A second murder. Now, that is interesting."
"Because it is the second murder."
Jack the Ripper begins his murder spree. The opening scenes remind me of Hammer horror, with all the period detail and cleavaged women whose dresses end up caked in dirt, water or blood. The ripper scenes are tough for 1960s, especially the victim Mary Kelly, which has an actual police photo on the Ripper's Wikipedia page. The film suggests the gruesome killing well and lingers uncomfortably long on the doomed woman. The script seems to stick as close to the facts as they could possibly get away with, and then for speculating who is Jack the Ripper they do something interesting.Watson
: Someone should have sent for us before this, Holmes.Holmes
: Someone has. The woman who sent me that instrument case.Watson
: Oh, but then why doesn't she come out into the open?Holmes
: Being a woman, she uses a women's art. She intrigues
us to White Chapel.
The true crime murder spree comes up against England's greatest detective. This isn't the only time someone has matched Holmes against Jack the Ripper, but it's the best version I've found. While John Neville (Adv. of Baron Munchausen) won't crack my Top 3 Holmes - Cumberbatch, Rathbone, Cushing - he plays the part well, and the script almost constantly has him logically deducing a number of leads from one small clue, which is the great fun of Holmes. The mystery has few suspects, but they're high level of obviousness makes it tough to figure who the real killer is. Besides, as Holmes says, that's the easy part. It's bringing them to justice that's the real puzzle.Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Good
- Slightly Scary. Occasionally vicious.
The poster suggests this film's marketing was attempting to appeal to fans of the Batman TV series.
Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
A gaslight thriller built on the mysterious return of a long lost relative who the lead (Anne Baxter) insists is not who they say they are. We know from the opening scene there's a con at play, but it's fun watching what they're after and how they plan to get away with it. While this is certainly a tight (87min) and smart thriller, it suffers for building to a twist I'm familiar with from another film that I love. It's a great twist, I just saw it coming right from the start. Also, because of All About Eve, there's a fake "I'm just acting" quality to Anne Baxter that makes it tough for me to have sympathy for her.Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Okay
- Safe for Sandy
The Ninth Guest (1934)
Very similar to Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, coming out 5 years before her book but not as well-plotted. Eight people are gathered for a dinner party "in their honor" where they are to be executed one every hour. (The Ninth Guest is Death.) Despite the familiar elements, this is a fun murder mystery.Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Okay
- Safe for Sandy