One of the great evocations of that strange lost city of Hollywood imagination, the fogbound London of Jack the Ripper. It might almost be a continuation of Pandora's Box as a blind man haltingly taps his way through Whitechapel past posters announcing a reward for the Ripper's capture, a hulking figure prowls in the obscurity, a woman's screams are accompanied by animal panting while the camera stares blindly into a dark hole in the wall. Huge, feline, softly obscene as he builds his sonorous facade of biblical quotations and secretly rinses his bloody hands in the waters of the Thames, Laird Cregar gives a remarkable portrayal of perverted sexuality, at once horrific and oddly moving. Stunningly shot by Lucien Ballard, this is one of those rare films - like Casablanca - in which everything pulls together to create a weirdly compulsive atmosphere.
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