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The Diary of Jack the Ripper
The Diary of Jack the Ripper
Actors: Tom Baker, Martyn Whitby, Michael Winner
Directors: Chris Short, Martin Howells
Genres: Drama, Educational
NR     1999     1hr 19min

After more than a century--out of the mists and fogs of Victorian London comes this astonishing new documentary. Reading from the infamous murderer's 63-page diary, a macabre record of obsession, horror and madness, Jack t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Baker, Martyn Whitby, Michael Winner
Directors: Chris Short, Martin Howells
Creators: Martin Howells, Laurence Ronson, Michele Kimche, Paul Feldman
Genres: Drama, Educational
Sub-Genres: Drama, Educational
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/16/1999
Original Release Date: 01/01/1993
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1993
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 19min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An OK Video About a Truly Dubious Diary
rocky-o | 04/28/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I had never heard of the alleged diary before renting the video and I must say that it was an interesting diversion, but I felt almost guilty after watching it. Over and over again the document in question was treated as something actually written by Maybrick--something for which there is no evidence and something the man cannot come back from the grave and denounce.I don't know a lot about the Ripper case, but I am a student of hoaxes and this alleged diary simply screams "hoax." Just some of the more obvious points:1. We are told by one of the experts that little ink from Victorian days survives because ink evaporates and therefore, the ink used for the document was either genuine or would have to have been carefully recreated by an expert. Such is not the case, however. The fluid evaporates but the pigment does not. All one would need to do is add water to a bottle of dried pigment.2. The handwriting not only doesn't match that of the Ripper or what is said to be Maybrick's writing, but is simply too modern in execution to be authentic. It lacks the characteristic flourishes that Victorians would have used even in informal writing. I was amused by the handwriting expert they consulted, as graphology is a pseudoscience on par with astrology. There simply is no logical basis for the statements she makes (example: a T with an elongated cross being a sign that the writer likes games).3. The documentary holds that the word "Jewes" scrawled on the wall near one of the victims could also be read "James"--as in James Maybrick. This is offered as proof of his cleverness. Problem is that a pun has to make grammatical sense and this one doesn't.4. Much is made of the supposition that Maybrick was a drug addict and consequently, ripe for schizophrenic behavior. Given that cocaine and opiates were available over-the-counter, lots of people would have fit that description. If legions of addicts did not commit such crimes under the influence of drugs, why would this one man have committed them?5. The explanation that the missing pages in the diary were removed out of angst was ludicrous. It is far more likely the hoaxer found an old ledger that had been filled part way and simply ripped out the pages that had writing on them. The fact that the missing pages all preceded the "Ripper" text would seem to bear this out.6. "Ha-ha" written in various places was a literary touch that a deranged person writing an actual diary would most likely not have used--but it certainly is in keeping with somebody wanting to sound deranged for their readership.7. The composites of the Ripper looked nothing like the photos of Maybrick--the tip of the nose was entirely different! The only similarity was that both had a husky face and mustache, which is enough to implicate half the men in London at the time.8. All of the references in the diary are old news. Again and again the documentary tried to prove its thesis by matching facts of the Ripper case to the diary, when it is the diary that seems to have been written to match the facts of the Ripper case.These are just some of the obvious flaws in the Ripper Diary story--dozens of others cropped up while I was watching the video. It wasn't long before the whole thing took on a Shroud of Turin or Chariots of Fire feeling that made the documentary more of a shlockumentary. What is really sad, when you think about it, is that the name of yet another man who can't defend himself is being dragged through the Ripper gore."
...yours truly...
rocky-o | 'peripheral view' | 01/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the main reasons I give this video five stars is that this truly unique video doesn't try to exploit the idea of the diary's fact, it tends to discourage it's viability, and with the semi-plausible/almost laughable excuse for the diary's possesion, and if it weren't for the timeline, i would even suggest that the 'possesor' was also the guilty party...however, with this being impossible, we must accept the possibility that this is indeed the diary of one knows for sure, and even by the end of many repeat viewings, i have yet to come to a conclusion myself...but one conclusion i can draw is that this is one of the most fascinating cases of a video featuring 'talking heads' actually see every point of view, you're given facts, both pro and con, and even if you are an afficienado of the ripper tales, i guarantee you will still get more insights,not to mention that slight chill up your spine...."
The diary was proven to be a hoax.
ruzzante | 10/15/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"The so-called diary of Jack the ripper was proven to be a hoax despite what one poster said.I guess that you can fool some of the people some of the time.Avoid this DVD."
More of an expose of human nature
it | Sunnyvale, CA USA | 09/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What is most interesting about this video is the way different journalist sift the evidence.

There are two key items in the presentation:

1. A British government department did a forensic examination and dated the diary at the time of the murders.

2. Things described in the diary were kept secret by the police until recently.

The only conclusion that comes from these two facts is that the diary was written by either Jack or one of the few police detectives that knew the facts at that time."