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Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) meets Sir Charles who had earlier been introduced into the story:
Watson: "Who is that fellow, Holmes?"
Holmes: "Sir Charles Warren. New head boy, Scotland Yard."
Watson: "Oh yes I remember. Damn fool. Last year, those riots in Trafalgar Square."
Holmes: "Exactly. Bloody Sunday the papers called it
Watson: "He was every bit as responsible as the radicals, in my opinion." [00:23:50]
Further description is given of Sir Charles when Holmes is called to a meeting with Sir Charles Warren.
Inspector Foxborough: "Sir Charles would like to see you in his office immediately. Don't provoke him. He is determined to have you off the case. He is a dangerous man. He has many secret friends. Go carefully." [00:39:29]
Holmes reveals that Sir Charles is a freemason by using "secret signs". [00:40:25]
Watson: "I say, Holmes. What is this mumbo jumbo?"
Holmes: "The handshake and the ring, Watson, are archaic rituals preserved by the thirty-third degree members of the secret order of freemasons."
Warren: "We are not a secret order!"
Holmes: "Your existence is no secret, Your rituals and membership are secrets you guard as closely as you may, which is why you removed the writing from the wall."
Holmes: "You did not remove that writing to protect Jews against antisemetic rage. The Juwes, or Juw-es, referred to, are from your own secret society of the Loyal Order of Freemasons [00:41:59]
Warren: "We are a benevolent society!"
Holmes then gives a sign—dragging his clenched right fist from his left shoulder diagonally down to his right side—purporting to be the penal sign [00:47:33]
Watson: "I can't imagine what that peculiar gesture of yours was all about. I couldn't make head nor tail at it."
Holmes: "Well, it gave Sir Charles pause, don't you think?"
Watson: "It shut him up. Quit a thing too."
Holmes: "I don't know which caused him the greater anxiety, the fact that I knew the secret signs, or the possibility that I too might be a mason."
Watson: "Meaning what exactly?"
Holmes: "That each of those signs which are employed by a freemasons, in their ceremonies, to establish each other’s rank."
Watson: "But how are the masons involved?"
Holmes: "Ah, whoever wrote that message, is a mason. Or a man like myself, whose made a study of their practices."
Watson: "You mean he accuses the masons? He wants us to believe that Jack the Ripper is a mason? Oh, come on, Holmes!"
Holmes: "Oh, no. I form no opinion either way, Watson. But the Juwes, or Juw-es, against the accusations that have been made, were three men who murdered the Grand Master, builder of Solomon’s Temple."
Watson: "Oh, really."
Holmes: "According to masonic ritual. And their names were Jubala, Jubalo and Jubalum, hense Juwes or Juw-es."
Watson: "The things you know, Holmes."
Holmes: "Well, when they were brought before Solomon, they confessed to their guilt and Jubala said, 'Oh that my throut be cut across,' and Jubalo said 'Oh that my left breast be torn open, my heart and vitals taken and thrown over my left shoulder,' and Jubalem said, 'My body severed in the midst.'"
Watson: "My God, that poor women’s body was mutilated in just that savage way. Now assuming, as you say, that there is some connection between those ghastly murders and the masonic ritual, in what way were these wretched women involved?"
Several facts should be noted. The names of the three allegorical "ruffians" were not part of masonic ritual then worked in England. A published author on masonic topics, Sir Charles' masonic affiliation was no secret. The signs and handshake, as depicted, are not a part of regular Craft Freemasonry, nor would be used to establish rank. They appear to be derived from an early nineteenth century published exposure. Neither the handshake nor ring are part of the thirty-third degree of the Scottish Rite. And in the real world, the coroner’s reports on the murdered women do not describe a mutilation similar to that described in any published exposure of masonic ritual. There is no evidence to link Freemasonry or freemasons to the Whitechaple murders. The handshake bears a curious resemblance to one found in criminal circles, or at least in film depictions such as White Heat (1949).
Murder by Decree (1979)
Directed by Bob Clark, written by John Hopkins, Elwyn Jones. Christopher Plummer, James Mason, David Hemmings, Susan Clark, Anthony Quayle, John Gielgud, Frank Finlay, Donald Sutherland, Geneviève Bujold, Chris Wiggins, Tedde Moore, Peter Jonfield, Roy Lansford, Catherine Kessler, Ron Pember, Geoffrey Russell. 124 min, UK / Canada, English, Metrocolor, Mono.
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