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When did the movie industry's interest in Jack The Ripper begin

01:00 Mon 28th Jan 2002 |

A.� The first Ripper films were silent German flicks. Earth Sprint (1923), later remade as Pandora's Box (1929), and Waxworks (1924). Alfred Hitchock's The Lodger: A Story of The London Fog (1926) is also based around the story. The Ripper has also featured in TV episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, The Others and Goodnight Sweetheart. One of the most outlandish screen solutions came from the film Amazon Women on the Moon which wonders if the Loch Ness Monster might not have been Jack The Ripper.

Q.� What's the most contemporary film

A.� From Hell, already dubbed the goriest film ever, has been made by Allen and Albert Hughes. It's said to have electrified American audiences and is due to open in the UK next week. It stars Johnny Depp as Inspector Abberline, the opium-addicted detective who falls in love with one of the Ripper's victims, played by Heather Graham. the Hughes brothers, who did Menace II Society (1993) and Dead Presidents (1995), say From Hell stems from the revered graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. The 500-page book is considered to be an astute, scholarly speculation on the Ripper legend.

Q.� Where was the film made

A.� Most Ripper films feature thick fog, but the autumn of 1888 was fog-free. Recent films tend to copy old black and white ones, missing the fact that the london fog was greenish-yellow. To recreate Victorian London, the From Hell production built the cobbled streets of Whitechapel at the Barrandov Studios just outside Prague.

Q.� Why is the public still so interested in the Whitechapel murders

A.� Ripper enthusiasts claim their interest stems from the fact that the Whitechapel killer is the early manifestation of a type of criminal who emerged from urbanisation and the breakdown of agrarian society. Others say the murderer's enduring appeal is much simpler, resting on the fact he was never caught. The name 'Jack The Ripper' comes from letters sent to a news agency during autumn 1888, written in red ink, purportedly from the killer himself. Almost all the police suspects at the time were foreign . Queen Victoria personally decreed that the killer "could not be an Englishman". The Ripper case is also the first time a killer had achieved icon status, which has happened since. Tabloid journalism is said to have been born out of that. At the time of the murder, there were only a couple of�handfuls of street journals. After a few victims, thousands of journals about the case began springing up.

Patricia Cornwell, the eccentric American thriller writer, says she has now identified the murderer as painter Walter Sickert.

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By Katharine MacColl

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