Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture: Top Hat, Gladstone Bag by Clare Smith

By Clare Smith

In 1888 the identify Jack the Ripper entered public realization with the brutal murders of ladies within the East finish of London. The assassin was once by no means stuck, but movie and tv depicts a killer with a recognisable gown, rationale and personality. This publication examines the origins of the monitor presentation of the 4 key parts linked to the murders – Jack the Ripper, the sufferers, the detective and Whitechapel. Nineteenth-century historical past, paintings and literature, psychoanalytical theories of Freud and Jung and feminist movie idea are all used to deconstruct the illustration of Jack the Ripper on reveal.

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Extra info for Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture: Top Hat, Gladstone Bag and Fog

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On 4 July 1885 The Pall Mall Gazette issued, in film terminology, what would be described as a blockbuster trailer. It warned anyone who was squeamish or prudish not to read the paper over the coming few weeks. This of course guaranteed huge public interest in the article ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’.  T. Stead, the editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, described his crusade to make the Government pass the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which would raise the age of consent from 13 to 16. To prove that child prostitution occurred in London, Stead, disguising himself as a prospective client, purchased a girl of 13 called Eliza Armstrong from her mother.

This event not only formed the view of the dangerous socialist but for the working class population caused more anti-police feeling. During the winter of 1887 crowds had gathered in Trafalgar Square and some of the unemployed had set up camps in the Square. On 13 November a loose association of groups—radicals, liberals, socialists—met to march to the Square to protest a variety of issues. The police commissioner Sir Charles Warren banned any gathering in the Square. He stationed 2000 policemen in the Square and during the afternoon of the march called in the army to control the unarmed crowd.

One of these figures is Spring Heeled Jack or Jack the Ripper. The young man writes at a desk that is overlooked by the figure of Jack, and the young man keeps looking behind him to confirm that the figure has not moved. Towards the end of the film the writer falls asleep and dreams that the waxwork has come to life and is chasing him. 7 8 Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny (London: Penguin, 2003). Freud, The Uncanny, 139.  T.  Hoffman’s tale ‘The Sandman’ to explore and define the uncanny in relation to the automaton Olimpia.

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