The Beer is Fuller’s Black Cab Stout accompanied me in my film-watching, which comes from a brewery established in 1845. That means when the Jack the Ripper killings took place, Fuller had already been brewing for 43 years. Maybe they weren’t brewing that style in that summer of 1888, but who knows? Maybe they were? It’s smooth, creamy and low alcohol (4.5%), with chocolate malts and a head the color of antique lace.
Also, though there is a car on the cover of this bottle, there are quite a number of spooky carriage appearances in this film that are harbingers of scary shit.
The movie is Murder by Decree directed by Bob Clark, director of A Christmas Story and (a personal favorite) Black Christmas. I love Bob Clark’s cinematography and in certain moments how he uses a fish-eye lens to plunge the viewer briefly into insanity.
The movie, is the story of Sherlock Holmes hunting down Jack the Ripper, and unfortunately, it kind of gives away its hand in the title. Then again, anyone who knows anything about the Jack the Ripper case/has seen “From Hell” knows about the “royal theory”. That’s pretty much what’s going down here.
One of the cool things that Bob Clark does is do POV shots where you are not exactly sure whose eyes you are looking through. He incorporated these sort of dreamy slow motion scenes where Donald Sutherland, a psychic, is seeing through the eyes of the killer. Donnie has the most fabulous fu manchu, but he gets threatened to stay out of the royal family’s business and is super intimidated after that. Mostly he drops out of the story. Then again, he was a psychic so it’s not like he could testify in court.
Performances are satisfactory plus, with Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason the crankiest Watson that I have ever seen (and every time he opened his mouth all I could think of was Eddie Izzard). Interestingly, Plummer takes Holmes completely in the opposite direction that normally seen: glassy-eyed and empathetic toward the poor prostitutes out in Whitechapel getting hacked up. And Captain Janeway plays the discarded-imprisoned lover/baby mama gone cray-cray.
Anyway. I’m not sure I like the worked-up, morally outraged Holmes but I don’t exactly hate it either. So–great violin playing, lots of evil Masons and made-up Masonic secret handshakes, a fairly accurate reproduction of the Mary Kelly crime scene (but never from the straight-on angle in the photograph), and some great sound-mixing. Not a terrible choice, especially enjoyed with a creamy London stout.