THE MONSTER OF LONDON CITY (1964) Reviews of Jack the Ripper Krimi

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The Monster of London City is a 1964 German Krimi murder mystery film in which a modern-day Jack the Ripper is recreating real-life killings.

Directed by Edwin Zbonek (The Mad Executioners) from a screenplay written by Robert A. Stemmle [as R.A. Stemmle] (The Mad Executioners; The Curse of the Hidden Vault; The Terror of Doctor Mabuse; Confess, Dr Corda) and Bryan Edgar Wallace (revised version). Produced by Artur Brauner.

The soundtrack score was composed by Martin Böttcher (Dead Sexy; The College Girl Murders; Creature with the Blue Hand; The Phantom of Soho; The Black Abbot).

The CCC Film production stars Hansjörg Felmy, Marianne Koch, Dietmar Schönherr, Hans Nielsen, Chariklia Baxevanos, Peer Schmidt, Fritz Tillmann, Walter Pfeil and Kurd Pieritz.

Plot synopsis:
A series of Jack the Ripper-style murders of prostitutes are taking place in contemporary London, leaving Scotland Yard detectives baffled. Coincidentally, a play about Jack the Ripper is proving very successful although an MP wants it shut down. The actor who plays Jack, Richard Sand (Hansjörg Felmy), becomes a suspect in the real-life killings…

Our view:
Krimis tend to be characterised by their bizarre, convoluted plots and outlandish villains, so the Jack the Ripper killer in this one is fairly routine. Nonetheless, there are plenty of murders and red herrings and director Edwin Zbonek creates some stylish sequences using shadows, bolstered by Martin Böttcher’s jazzy score.

The comic relief that is also a feature of many Krimi films is provided by a bumbling private detective and his female partner and their unnecessary exploits are at odds with the nastiness implied elsewhere. More bizarre is a speeded-up car chase that includes a brief comedic bit where a young woman’s skirt is whipped off to reveal her stockings and lingerie!

While it’s no classic and the killer’s identity is somewhat telegraphed most admirers of these kind of German crime thrillers will find The Monster of London City worth a watch. Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
“The comic relief is annoying but thankfully not overly intrusive. The acting is solid enough without reaching any great heights. The Jack the Ripper make-up is overdone but adds to the weirdness (and a good krimi always has at least some weirdness). Edwin Zbonek does a competent job as director.” Cult Movie Reviews

“The murders are very stylish, with the Ripper stalking ladies of the evening in dark street corners, sometimes utilizing some very effective shadowy imagery. It’s a very busy thriller to say the least, with lively characters and a simple but engaging plot, with the killings being pretty violent for the early 1960s…” DVD Drive-In

“Even with the dopey comic bits, The Monster of London City has enough to recommend – a great free jazz score, a sexy female lead in the form of Koch, a cool Ripper-esque modus operandi for the killer and even some completely gratuitous female nudity in one scene.” DVD Talk

“…there are some good moments here, especially towards the end of the movie. However, the confusion and repetitiveness of this one really started to wear on me; I really got tired of the tiresome police investigation (where they always take the time to tell you that this new murder is just like all the others) and the unfunny comic relief couple…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“This is a fine movie. There really aren’t any problems with it, it’s just pretty predictable and there isn’t anything all that remarkable about it. I liked the story well enough, the acting was fine… And sometimes it’s nice to see a movie that doesn’t challenge you at all.” Films in Boxes

” …it’s quite an entertaining little film, with lots going on in every scene, and its fast pace is helped greatly by the cast, who tackle their parts with manic zeal. While it’s clearly a low-budget effort, the production values are solid and the exterior scenes at times manage to convey more atmosphere than you’d expect with this kind of movie.” Horror Incorporated Project

“The complexities of the mystery aren’t particularly gripping, and the final reveal is not that much of a shock, but it’s a serviceable script, with atmospheric photography and a capable cast…” Mark David Welsh

“It pulls as few punches as it can get away with considering the era: not only does it refuse to shy away from the fact that this maniac is butchering prostitutes, it goes so far as to dwell on the murder sequences. Zbonek artfully stages them amidst heavy fog and shadow, avoiding the grisliness directly while heavily implying it with close-ups of straight razors and wide shots of strangulations.” Oh, the Horror!

” …The Monster of London City is more than a bit plodding. It also suffers from having way too many useless supporting characters […] The flick isn’t totally without merit though. There’s a nice chase scene in the foggy streets of London…” The Video Vacuum


Cast and characters:
Hansjörg Felmy … Richard Sand
Marianne Koch … Ann Morlay
Dietmar Schönherr … Doctor Morely Greely
Hans Nielsen … Inspector Dorne
Chariklia Baxevanos … Betty Ball
Peer Schmidt … Teddy Flynn
Fritz Tillmann … Sir George Edwards
Walter Pfeil … Horrlick
Kurd Pieritz … Maylor
Elsa Wagner … Housekeeper Emily
Kai Fischer … Helen Capstick
Gudrun Schmidt … Evelyn Nichols
Adelheid Hinz … Maid Betsy
Christiane Schmidtmer … Girl with sunglasses
Albert Bessler … Man in the insane asylum
Gerda Blisse … Assistant
Manfred Grote … Detective

Filming locations:
CCC-Atelier, Spandau, Berlin, Germany (studio)
London, England

Original title:
Das Ungeheuer von London-City

German trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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