In modern day London a series of murders are being committed by someone the papers refer to as the second Jack the Ripper. The women are being killed in a similar fashion as the victims being portrayed in a play about the legendary criminal. The similarities are not lost to the police or the public. The play has become quite popular with theater goers but is being considered an obscenity to members of parliament. In particular Sir George Edwards (Fritz Tillman).
Sir George’s former wards Dr. Morley Greely (Dietmar Schonherr) and Ann Morlay (Marianne Koch) both know the actor that plays Jack the Ripper in the play. He is Richard Sand (Hansjorg Felmy). Ann and Morley were childhood friends. Ann is Sir George’s niece and Morley is the son of government official and Sir George’s friend. Morley is also the police surgeon and does all the autopsies on the Ripper’s victims. Morley is in love with Ann and for a time they were sweethearts. Ann, however, is in love with Richard.
At Ann’s request, Sir George agrees to meet with Richard, but the meeting is short and neither participant is willing to see the other’s point of view. Sir George is determined to shut down the production. Richard is just as stubborn. As the play continues to draw in crowds the murders continue to happen. The police can’t help but notice that the Ripper’s murders look so much like those portrayed in the play. Many are beginning to look at Richard as a suspect, including the police. Ann, on the other hand has noticed that her uncle, Sir George, has been sneaking out at night and coming home late. She is beginning to suspect he may be the ripper.
A really bad private detective named Teddy Flynn (Peer Schmidt) decides that he is going to find Jack the Ripper and earn the reward money posted for him. His girlfriend Betty Ball (Chariklia Baxevanos) is not really too keen on the idea. Eventually she gets into trying to discover who the ripper is and ends up putting herself in harm’s way.
Police inspector Dorne (Hans Nielsen) is looking at everyone as a suspect, even the writer and director of the play, Mr. Maylor (Kurd Pieritz). At one time or another he focuses on just about everyone, but he mainly considers Richard his primary suspect.
“The Monster of London City” AKA “Das Ungeheuer von London-City” was released in 1964 and was directed by Edwin Zbonek. It is a West German crime murder mystery and a krimi. It is based on a novel by Bryan Edgar Wallace, the son of Edgar Wallace.
The movie is very much tongue in cheek. The main humor comes from Teddy and his girlfriend Betty. For the most part they are amusing and do add to the film but there are times when they are more than necessary. There is also at least one touch of the absurd during a car chase where a woman standing on the sidewalk has her dress whisked away, apparently due to the wind created by the cars racing by so fast.
The rest of the film is your standard krimi. There are murders but not a lot of blood. The mystery is not all that difficult to figure out, but the story was good. I’ll admit I have a fondness for Jack the Ripper style movies so I may have liked this film more than other people did. The ending explanation was a bit rushed but that too is standard in the realm of krimis. It’s also not as confusing as a lot of krimis because it only really had one plot.
There actually was a London Monster that roamed the streets of London in the late eighteenth century, a hundred years before Jack the Ripper. The London Monster reportedly would jab women in the buttocks with a sharp blade. Sometimes he would rip their clothing and verbally harass them. During a two-year period, he assaulted some fifty women. In 1790 a Welshman named Rhynwick Williams was arrested. His lawyer was an Irish poet named Theophilus Swift. Despite a rigorous defense Williams was found guilty. Whether or not Williams really was the London Monster is still being debated.