Monday, August 7, 2017

The Phantom Fiend (1932)

Earlier, I was reading an article on Jack the Ripper and yet another claim of solving that mystery. As a history buff, I have always been fascinated by the Ripper and enjoy consuming everything about the horrific tale. Incredibly, while searching for a movie tonight, I stumbled upon this 1930s entry based on a book about Jack the Ripper, The Phantom Fiend; a remake of the Alfred Hitchcock silent classic The Lodger.

Plot/ An enigmatic young man in a London boarding house becomes the subject of suspicion as the infamous Jack the Ripper begins his campaign of slaughter.

Being a fan of classic cinema (and of the Hitchcock silent gem), I figured I was going to be in for some head scratching moments with this one. Anytime someone attempts to remake Hitchcock, it never seems to end well. While this one is not unwatchable, there are a ton of flaws that make it fall well short of the inspiration. For me, any time Jack the Ripper is involved in the storyline, the movie has potential and this one does have potential. Unfortunately, between the uneven performances that made it feel like a poorly dubbed silent film, the poor sound quality (considering the dialog), and an ending that in no way serves justice for the original, this one is a tough watch. Sure, the storyline is not anything spectacular or groundbreaking, but there is something there that should have been better. In the end, this one is a bit of a disappointment. While it is not terrible, it is nowhere near anything that I would watch a second time.

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