From Hell: Engraved In Stone
So it didn't come as a surprise to many that the two hour 2001 FILM ADAPTATION failed to live up to the source. To be fair to the film's directors, THE HUGHES BROTHERS, they were faced with the formidable task of adapting something that would be practically unfilmable at a conventional length.
The comic was a dark and disturbing look into the mind of JACK THE RIPPER, who we knew from the start. But the film was a straight whodunnit with a proxy Holmes and Watson and a romantic subplot tacked on. Some of the casting choices were very poor yet some were outstanding including the film's lead JOHNNY DEPP. But his efforts were for nought, as his character Abberline had been given magic powers to see into the future, rendering him a joke.
HOPE THERE'S SOMEONE by Antony and The Johnsons
ASLEEP by The Smiths
- 20 of the 22 deleted scenes cut back in (Almost all being of a darker tone)
- Order of many scenes radically re-arranged
- Film converted to high contrast B&W* to render the film more sombre and timeless
- Pop-video-style editing techniques have been removed where possible
- Abberline's magic powers are gone
- Abberline's backstory removed. His depression and addiction is just who he is now and not as a direct result of a personnal tradegy
- Godley's unlikely attack on special branch removed
- Poor performances removed or minimised
- Heather Graham is no longer a primary focus of the film**
- Gull, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria play a more significant part earlier on
- Many of the "Happy" moments have gone to keep the mood dark
- Dodgy dialogue such as Depp saying "Knob" have been trimmed
- Netley is now a more ominpresent spectre of death
- Without spoiling it, the film's ending is now less "picture-postcard-happy"
- The final scene now plays out without dialogue to heighten the unspoken emotion
- Credits music changed to something more appropriate in tone and lyrical content (It no longer features a drum 'n' bass remix of Marilyn Manson...ffs!)
* Due to the soft/low-contrast/high-saturation of the original DVD image, this has caused some visual noise in the blurrirer backgrounds in some shots as I had to be very aggressive with the contrast to get the look I was after.
** She now becomes more important as the film goes on in a natural way, due to the deaths of the other characters and other factors. Kind of like the emergence of Ripley in 'Alien'.
FANEDIT LENGTH: 109 MINUTES
ORIGINAL LENGTH: 117 MINUTES
20 DELETED SCENES RESTORED
TIME ADDED: 22 MINUTES / TIME REMOVED: 30 MINUTES
It has been a while since I've seen the original; going to have to re-watch it. I do like the original. I've never read the graphic novel!
So, now about this edit - I really enjoyed the cut; I do love my B&W movies!
This was a very strong edit of From Hell. Compared with the original, this is a much grittier, more somber and (dare I say) "Victorian" rendering. The black and white plays beautifully, with some particularly striking city-scapes really selling the environment.
The music plays more strongly, too, with greater resonance.
A couple (small) nitpicks:
1. The name "Jack the Ripper" comes out of nowhere; at first multiple names play out in the public's musings. Then, suddenly, we are talking about Jack with no introduction. This may have been a flaw in the source material - I forget. But it jars.
2. The last murder I believe is a mirrored shot from the original. This is slightly frustrating, as the historical photos of this murder show the lady to have been lying head-right rather than head-left as here. Also an inspector later comments that her *left* arm is draped over her stomach, but last we saw her it was clearly her right arm. I suspect the Editor flipped this scene for aesthetic reasons, and it will probably slip by most. As someone who has been fascinated by the Ripper story in the past, I noticed ;)
3. Skyled noted below that the film in general has a palpable lack of suspense. We aren't really invested in any of the characters, and since Depp is not really ever in any direct danger it plays a bit weakly. This is not TM2YC's fault at all: the film (possibly even the original comic?) suffers from playing to certain beats we know are coming: we know the prostitutes will all be murdered - the only question is when. A stronger script might have overcome that, but alas they missed their opportunity. I think this edit improves on the original's mood vastly, but one will still be relatively unconnected to the characters.
Overall a very strong edit. Unfortunately the original material is still weak enough that this is simply an "enjoyable" film rather than a truly "good" or "great" one. That being said, this is much more artistically bold than the original.
The change to a deep black and white is very striking and fits the mood of the film perfectly. It looks great and gives the film a visual sense of creeping dread. I especially like how dark it was when the woman was grabbed from the shadows and disappears into them. The darker deleted scenes also aid the film in feeling darker and less like a typical Hollywood film.
However, these changes cannot overcome the fundamental flaws that the movie has. This should be a dark and disturbing movie with a low budget and no-name actors to justify its poor box office prospects. Instead there are big name actors so of course the movie has to have Johnny Depp doing his standard eccentric performance and the cliche of the prostitute with the heart of gold. It can't be too disturbing either and there has to be a happy ending. TM2YC succeeds in cutting down the eccentricities, removed the happy ending, and made the mood darker so it's a definite improvement. But the big problem I still have with the movie is that it's rather boring. Mostly we just wait until one of the prostitutes is killed and then Johnny Depp strolls up and says there's a mad doctor on the loose. Since Jack the Ripper's identity is a mystery for most of the movie we either follow the prostitutes which are uninteresting and mostly just drink and bicker or we follow Johnny as he does not very interesting detective work. There's not really much suspense as it's mostly just people wandering down dark cobblestone streets and occasionally dying.
In conclusion, this edit is far superior to the original and has a bold look, but some things just can't be fixed through editing. Based off how well the changes were made and what a difference they make, I recommend the edit on the chance others will enjoy it more than I did.
i didnt think i would like the black and white but after watching the edit i loved it and think the movie should have been released that way in the 1st place.great job with this edit done by TM2YC and thanks for your time and effort i really enjoyed watching this
TM2YC is a talented chap and very helpful to boot and he has taken this hit and miss movie which was a relative flop at the time and critically under rated until it had a sufficient cult following due mainly to home cinema and mr Depp enduring popularity.
In this far gritter non-official reprisal version of his role from the excellent but equally 'loose' Sleepy Hollow, Mr Depp detects (stumbles) his way through Victorian London, falling over countless mutilated bodies and with the most improbably Jack Sparrow precursor of an English accent committed to film.
The original edit was a bit of a mess and much derided by fans of the source material and film goers and critics alike with had multiple reshoots , endings and cut scenes i.e. all the usual paraphernalia associated with a troubled shoot +even worse test screenings.
how does the edit stand up!?
Well obviously it's excellent due to the 2 editors (old and new lol) , as much as it can be with what there is to work with and saying that the overall effect is good, very good in its own 'interesting, macabre way' but the movie has inherent flaws which all the editing in the world cannot correct.
What I did like:
The film now works lol (that's really all you need to hear so move along).
It is more focussed and coherent and settles into its tone and sticks with it.
The film is much darker to the point of being bleak and nihilistic....it is gritty and almost documentary like and this makes a fascinating slice of history in a very DEADWOOD style of authenticity.
The film is black and white and plays like one of the films characters, the elephant man aka Mr J Merrick which was an easy call but a sensible and brave one none the less as not only is it nearer to the source but it is nearer to the time period lol and helps with all that work print footage!
The ending he has chosen is real nasty which lends an air of authenticity and shock and far removed from the garbage currently being force fed to us from hollywood lately, so it is a refreshing change.
As the film is a little slow though not nec. boring!!! it still meanders in the middle though but this ending was necessary to pick up the pace for the 3rd act, whilst the happy ending original had us all snoozing before the credits rolled.
What I did not care for:
not much but maybe the film in general lol I mean that the film is good but not great and this is the directors fault and Depps and Graham who both sleep walk through the movie with their atrocious accents (I am a brit and I also lived in Victorian britan lol no just the former). Fortunately the edit has significantly improved upon the original release.
I did not like the inclusion of the Queen in the middle as it was clearly stock or work or a first take and jarred horribly but I see the need for it to keep the royal connection (though it was nicely edited in).
I think the film could be slimmed down significantly but then it would not be a fan edit as I found this version to be like the LOTR extended which is heaven for fans.
The opening credits had two knife scenes back to back which were a little confusing and maybe the 2nd one could have been lost which would get us to Depp quicker as the story really only starts with the protagonist starts to investigate and I guess I think it drags to a point but again that is the fan aspect of it and certainly the slice of horrific life in Britain at that time is fascinating in the sheer detail shoved into every shot.
The final credits songs were not to my liking and not in keeping with the film we had just seen (even if there is significance for those songs they do not work at all in my opinion).
That is it really......nothing really to moan about which can be attributed to the editor.
The question is did he take a diamond in the rough and make it shine or polish a turd lol which is entirely your own decision but I personally found it very enjoyable and nearly flawless in execution.
Well done, go see this go to version of this film for now, 9/10 for editing (credit songs killed your 10) and 8/10 overall :D