Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed off. Scotland Yard suspects a madman, but Holmes believes the killings to be part of a diabolical plot.
A yakuza enforcer is ordered to secretly drive his beloved colleague to be assassinated. But when the colleague unceremoniously disappears en route, the trip that follows is a twisted, surreal and horrifying experience.
The Masonic signs Holmes makes to the Chief Inspector are: the Duegard of the Entered Apprentice (right hand palm down over left hand palm up), the Sign of the Entered Apprentice (drawing the right hand from left to right across the throat), a variation of the Real Grip of a Master Mason(the handshake with the thumb and little finger extended), and finally the Sign of a Fellow Craft (drawing the right hand across the body from the left breast to the right hip). The Signs all refer to the penalties associated with the divulging of the Order's secrets to outsiders, i.e., having the throat slit and the chest opened and the heart torn out. The Duegard refers to the gesture of holding the Bible during the initiation ritual in the left hand, with the right resting upon it. See more »
When Dr. Watson is writing on the black board, he says that Polly Nichols was the first victim, while the writing on the board says "victim #2." See more »
Dr. John H. Watson:
[Offended by the booing of the Prince of Wales by the theater gallery]
It's a damn disgrace!
On the contrary. I prefer bad manners in the theater to active violence in the streets.
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This is a remarkable little movie that has never reached classic status for some reason. Aside from an incredible cast, all of whom suit the dignified proceedings admirably, there are two other stars who lift this film above the level of an excellent thriller. One is the production design. The old Hollywood style of foggy streets and dark alleys, with sinister cabs skulking along, is the stuff nightmares are made of. The East End is horrible, a hell on earth. The other unsung hero is the music. A beautiful soundtrack which ranges from chilling strings and harps to the charming end music. Christopher Plummer is fabulous as Holmes, heroic and ingenious but with a strong sympathy which no other actor in the role apart from Jeremy Brett has captured. His scenes with Mason are a joy; the pair really work together, complete with catchphrases and a mutual respect. Donald Sutherland is also captivating as Robert Lees...his eyes are those of a man living in helpless terror. The film's finest moment is the scene between Holmes and Annie Crook. Genevieve Bujould is heartbreaking in the role,a perfect piece of casting despite her accent, and Holmes' reaction to her plight is deeply moving. Make no mistake, the theory of the Ripper murders is barmy, but wonderful entertainment. It does slander Sir Charles Warren and Lord Salisbury unbelievably; Anthony Quayle puts in a gloriously over the top turn in repulsive corruption. There is an interesting subtext to the film as well, namely the fight between decency and corruption. Annie's innocence and goodness is uncorrupted even by her plight, and the decency of Mary Kelly is a ghost that hangs over the last half an hour. The end credits are beautiful, with gorgeous theatrical and old-fashioned cast and credits, such as "Frank Finlay was Inspector Lestrade." There is decency in the most unlikely of places, and Holmes and Watson are the solid rocks while around them people sink and swim in the chaos. A moving, brilliantly realised and frightening film.
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