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Don Jeffries

Thoughts On "From Hell" Film

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I just wondered what any of you thought about the movie "From Hell" starring Johhny Depp as detective Abberline. I really love this film; it's beautifully filmed and the performances, especially Depp's, are first-rate. I realize that theories involving the Royal family and/or freemasons are not popular among most Ripperologists, but I think the film does a good job of painting a plausible theory about what happened. It's based largely, but not totally, on Stephen Knight's original postulation, set forth in his "Jack The Ripper: The Final Solution." Imho, at this point, we'll never know who the Ripper really was, and I don't believe that much real evidence exists against any of the usual suspects (Druitt, Koslovski, Chapman, Tumblety, etc.). It's become just an interesting and probably unsolvable parlor game, and all we can really do is speculate. Something keeps drawing me back to Knight's theory, but then again I do really love conspiracies....

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Guest Stephen Turner
I just wondered what any of you thought about the movie "From Hell" starring Johhny Depp as detective Abberline. I really love this film; it's beautifully filmed and the performances, especially Depp's, are first-rate. I realize that theories involving the Royal family and/or freemasons are not popular among most Ripperologists, but I think the film does a good job of painting a plausible theory about what happened. It's based largely, but not totally, on Stephen Knight's original postulation, set forth in his "Jack The Ripper: The Final Solution." Imho, at this point, we'll never know who the Ripper really was, and I don't believe that much real evidence exists against any of the usual suspects (Druitt, Koslovski, Chapman, Tumblety, etc.). It's become just an interesting and probably unsolvable parlor game, and all we can really do is speculate. Something keeps drawing me back to Knight's theory, but then again I do really love conspiracies....

Hey Don, good to see you back.

Your correct, the film is a wonderful peice of nonsence, and Depp is about the only Hollywood actor who can muster a half decent Cockney accent, but, and boy is it a large but, any film that portrays Abberline as a young, handsome, drug abusing cop, with psychic abilities, and to top it off, having a love affair with poor Mary has, IMHO, to be treated with a certain degree of mistrust.

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"it's beautifully filmed and the performances, especially Depp's, are first-rate."

I agree. Am watching it at the moment. The 2 disk set is interesting in the additional content. Photos, histories etc. Tumblety seems the main suspect by the ripperologist interviewed. Fascinating.

How accurate are all the sets?

Edited by John Dolva

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I love this film and own the 2-disk dvd (the deleted scenes are astounding!), despite it's fantasy approach with history- but then, how many films tell us the truth 100%? Not many.

The casting, acting, cinematography and grittiness were great and the grim backdrops and social depictions were researched in depth by the Hughes brothers who co-directed the film.

They have a personal off-screen interest in the murders and it showed, thus they took time to attempt to recreate the sets accurately, even going to the lengths of filming in the Czech Republic as well as England, in order to more easily recreate the look and 'atmosphere of 19thC London which now has largely vanished.

I liked the Freemason theory linked with {spoiler) 'a certain character', and the way it was handled. Brilliant.

I also found the film oddly moving at the end?

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It's a heck of a lot of educated "fun," taking in a lot of Ripper lore and study - so a worthy contribution to the long shelf of Ripper entertainment, not fact.

The question is, why haven't the Hughes Brothers (the co-directors) worked outside of television in the intervening years between 2001 and their upcoming film. (I think it's a theatrical film - see the imdb.com page on the Hughes Brithers.)

Does anybody know the last good fictional Ripper film, "Murder by Decree" (1979), in which the Ripper meets - again - Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) and Dr. Watson (James Mason)? Well worth seeing, and it also packs in the Freemasons. See link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079592/

Come to think of it, all Ripper films are historical fiction...

Edited by David Andrews

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They are historical fiction, but some, like the killings in From Hell (not the film Abberline's youth, Mary's beauty etc), aim to delve beyond the ordinary efforts, I think?

The Freemasons will never be held innocent of involvement in some way, rightly or wrongly, largely because of the chalked writing on the alley wall.

Tumblety looms large as Prime suspect to me, and has featured as such in many Ripperologist investigations in latter years.

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While Tumblety certainly scares the Bejesus out of me, it is the comments from the former FBI profiler is his book on this and other other historical mysteries (sorry, I can't remember the title), that within a week of the last murder, Scotland Yard pulled all the enforcement off the case.

The author argues that the only way that would occur was if the Yard was convinced that they had their man in custody, which I certainly can believe. The author believes it truly was a mad immigrant butcher.

Not such an exciting explanation, but it is rather logical.

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Aw, and Tumblety seemed such a hissable and probable villain/culprit?! biggrin.gif

I heard about that mad butcher- a jew, i think? Or at least, someone of 'jewish appearance' was witnessed?

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