The movie didn’t go down so well and I feel after the success of the Invisible Man there might be a new remake coming soon to help solidify the return of the Universal Monsters. While there were a lot of ups and downs within the film, this was one of the subtle highlights.
Hugo Weaving plays Inspector Francis Aberline, a character who is based on Frederick Abberline, a Scotland Yard Inspector that investigated London’s Jack the Ripper murders in 1888. This fantasy version of him very much resembles the one in From Hell (2001).
On entering the pub, the scene mimics American Werewolf in London, this is one of several wolf/dog references that are dropped throughout the film, from Max Von Sydow’s silver wolf head walking stick to lots of talk about wild dogs. But it is a common trope, an outsider enters a local pub and the silence drops. Being a confident man he just takes a seat and waits to be served. Being a man of little words he mutters “Pint of Bitter”, The Landlady Mrs Kirk (Lorraine Hilton) insists on him doing his job and finding her husband. The dynamics of the shot is all about heights and levels. She towers over the seated man but remains in the corner of the screen, she’s not a major player and is attempting to force some dominance over the situation.
Aberline is cool and calm in his response, he’s basically had enough of searching for a vicious killer and is getting no where, and probably just wants a drink but he’s willing to entertain the locals at this moment. Announcing that he thought he’d spend time with the victims in hope of catching the killer. This causes a rare funny moment as the locals can be heard spitting out their drink in shock and fear, the landlady gulps and stands back as she realises that she might be joining her dead husband soon.. Aberline drops another dog reference in the conversation (you honestly can’t get away from them anymore) but apparently it’s a Dog Eat Dog World!
As the conversion continues Aberline slowly takes control and the levels between the two evens out as the camera backs off, until we go a full 360 and Aberline once again announces.. ”A Pint of Bitter please”.
One other slightly interesting fact, for those who are eagled eyes, the inspector is reading a newspaper and on the back there’s an advert for Odgens, this is from the intended period an a very popular brand of tobacco, one which is known for issuing series of collectable cards, some of the 1920’s editions include Lon Chaney Jr as the original Wolf Man.