Presented here are four tales of suspense that I believe were part of a ten episode series created by Hal Roach Studios called The Veil, a series that was never broadcast on television. The show stars Boris Karloff, who presents each story, and then appears at the conclusion to wrap it up. He also appears in three of the four stories available here.
The first episode deals with a bachelor who witnesses from his apartment window a crime that happens in the building across the way. When he contacts the police to investigate, they discover the apartment is empty, and no one has lived there for quite awhile. The police, thinking the man has a screw loose, take him to a mental hospital, where Karloff plays a psychiatrist. When the crime actually happens the next day, the man is considered the prime suspect, even though he can accurately describe the perpetrator to a tee. Can this man see events before they happen? Or is he the actually the man behind the crime?
The second story is about a family living on a farm and the father passes on. After his death, it is discovered that there are two wills, one leaving everything to the older, more responsible brother who wants to keep the farm and care for his mother, and a second that names the younger, reckless, self-involved brother who wants to sell the farm, keep the money, and put the mother into an old folks home. Which one is real? A spectral vision will tell for sure. Karloff plays the family lawyer in this episode.
The third episode tells the tale of a cold-hearted sea captain and his tumultuous relationship with his wife. The love has left the marriage, and the captain sees an opportunity to finance a new ship in the arms of another woman, one who has recently come into a large sum of money. If only he wasn't married...What to do? Karloff stars in this episode as the sea captain.
The fourth and final episode is a story about a man who has dreams about Jack the Ripper. He sees the crimes before they occur, and can give great detail about the events. The police are skeptical, and then believe the man may be the Ripper due to his intimate knowledge of the crimes, but soon discover otherwise as the crimes continue despite the man with the visions being locked up. Do they discover the identity of the Ripper before he kills again? Karloff does not appear in this last episode at all, only prior to the story starting and then again at the end, to wrap things up.
This isn't a bad little collection of made for television stories with a slight, macabre twist. The stories aren't really all that shocking, but I suspect the passage of time may have lessened the overall effect. Of the four stories here, the first two are pretty tame, the third having a bit more juice, and the forth being quite tasty and atmospheric. I really enjoyed seeing Karloff, and he added much to those episodes he was in, always presenting a point of interest for the viewer. The title of this collection, obviously used for the sensational appeal, may be misleading to some thinking that this would be an entire movie or something about Jack the Ripper, but it isn't. Only the last episode deals with that subject. There is another release, one by Image Entertainment called The Veil (1958) that has all ten episodes of the unreleased television show, along with some extras worth looking into, and is available here, on this website. It cost a little more, but you get a whole lot more. Karloff fans and anyone else interested would probably be better off searching that out rather than settling for this partial release.