IMDb > Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
Murders in the Rue Morgue
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Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   2,334 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Edgar Allan Poe (story)
Robert Florey (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Murders in the Rue Morgue on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 February 1932 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Innocent Beauty - this was her wedding eve. On the wall a shadow . . the beast was at large grinning horribly-cruelly. What was Her Fate ? See more »
Plot:
A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Expressionist horror in the sound era... See more (61 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sidney Fox ... Mlle. Camille L'Espanaye

Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Mirakle

Leon Ames ... Pierre Dupin (as Leon Waycoff)
Bert Roach ... Paul

Betty Ross Clarke ... Mme. L'Espanaye
Brandon Hurst ... Prefect of Police
D'Arcy Corrigan ... Morgue Keeper
Noble Johnson ... Janos The Black One

Arlene Francis ... Woman of the Streets
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ted Billings ... Sideshow Spectator (uncredited)
Herman Bing ... Franz Odenheimer (uncredited)
Agostino Borgato ... Alberto Montani (uncredited)

Iron Eyes Cody ... Indian at Sideshow (uncredited)
Christian J. Frank ... Gendarme Using Snuff (uncredited)
Charles Gemora ... Erik, the Gorilla (uncredited)
Harrison Greene ... Sideshow Barker (uncredited)

Charlotte Henry ... Blonde Girl in Sideshow Audience (uncredited)
Harry Holman ... Victor Albert Adolph Jules Hugo Louis Dupont, the Landlord (uncredited)
Edna Marion ... Mignette (uncredited)
Torben Meyer ... The Dane (uncredited)
Charles Millsfield ... Bearded Man at Sideshow (uncredited)
Monte Montague ... Workman / Gendarme (uncredited)
John T. Murray ... Gendarme (uncredited)
Tempe Pigott ... Crone (uncredited)
Dorothy Vernon ... Tenant (uncredited)
Michael Visaroff ... Mirakle's Sideshow Barker (uncredited)
Polly Ann Young ... Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Florey 
 
Writing credits
Edgar Allan Poe (story)

Robert Florey (adaptation)

Tom Reed (screenplay) &
Dale Van Every (screenplay)

John Huston (additional dialogue)

Ethel M. Kelly  uncredited

Produced by
E.M. Asher .... associate producer
Carl Laemmle Jr. .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Karl Freund 
 
Film Editing by
Milton Carruth 
 
Art Direction by
Charles D. Hall 
 
Makeup Department
Jack P. Pierce .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Scott R. Beal .... assistant director (uncredited)
Charles S. Gould .... assistant director (uncredited)
Joseph A. McDonough .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Herman Rosse .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
C. Roy Hunter .... recording supervisor
 
Special Effects by
John P. Fulton .... special effects
 
Stunts
Joe Bonomo .... stunt double: Charles Gemora (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Frank D. Williams .... special process photographer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Maurice Pivar .... supervising editor
 
Music Department
Heinz Roemheld .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Carl Laemmle .... presenter
Carl Laemmle .... president: Universal Pictures Corp.
Richard Schayer .... scenario editor
Howard Salemson .... technical advisor (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
61 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)
Certification:
Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1932) (heavily cut) | USA:Unrated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Many censors cut parts of the death scenes of the woman of the streets, eliminating her stabbing and her being tied to the cross beams.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The movie is set in 1845 and mentions "evolution" of humans from apes. The concept was not absolutely original with Darwin, who published it in 1859, but the words "evolve" and "evolution" were not applied to it before then.See more »
Quotes:
Dr. Mirakle:[Responding to an audience member who has accused him of heresy] Heresy? Do they still burn men for heresy? Then burn me monsieur, light the fire! Do you think your little candle will outshine the flame of truth?See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)See more »
Soundtrack:
Swan Lake OvertureSee more »

FAQ

Is Poe's short story available to read online?
How closely does the movie follow Poe's story?
Was Eric played by a real ape?
See more »
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Expressionist horror in the sound era..., 19 June 2007

After the enormous success of Tod Browning's "Dracula" in 1931, producer Carl Laemmle Jr. finally proved that his vision had been correct and that the horror genre was an excellent source of stories to film. With that in mind, he began to work immediately in a follow up for that success with an adaptation of Mary Shelley's immortal novel, "Frankenstein", in the expressionist Gothic style of Browning's film. The film was set to be written and directed by French director Robert Florey and starred by the recently discovered Hungarian star of "Dracula": Bela Lugosi. However, people at Universal changed the plans and assigned the film to British director James Whale, who had a different idea for the movie and replaced Lugosi with Boris Karloff. Owing a film to both Florey and Lugosi, Universal gave them a project based on a tale by Edgar Allan Poe: "Murders in the Rue Morgue".

Set in Paris during the late 19th Century, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is the tale of a series of unsolved crimes where women are abducted and murdered by an unknown method. Since the murders began to take place after a carnival arrived to the city, young medicine student Pierre Dupin (Leon Ames) suspects that Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi), a scientist who owns one of the sideshow attractions, is behind the crimes, but so far he finds himself unable to prove it. His suspicion has its source in the fact that Mirakle has claimed to be looking for a way to finally prove that man and ape are related, and apparently has been experimenting on his sideshow attraction: an intelligent ape named Erik, which Mirakle claims is the missing link. Dupin fears that Mirakle's experiments are related to the murders, but the truth is far more horrible than what he thinks.

"Murders in the Rue Morgue" is not exactly a faithful adaptation of Poe's short story, as the script (written by Tom Reed, Dale Van Every and Robert Florey himself) focuses more on the reasons behind the murders than on the investigation done to solve the case. It is because of this reason that it is Dr. Mirakle who is in the spotlight while Poe's famous character, Dupin, has been transformed from cunning detective to a young student of medicine. With this change, the writers allow themselves to completely focus on horror, and deliver one of the darkest and most violent stories among Universal's classic horrors. However, as many have already pointed out, the story is not only an exploration of Poe's tale, but also a charming tribute to German expressionism's most celebrated triumph, "Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari", as the plot mirrors the classic silent film in more than one way.

The tribute to "Caligari" is not only a part of the script, as director Florey, aided by the legendary cinematographer Karl Freund and the wonderful art direction by Charles D. Hall, extended the tribute to the overall visual look of the film, following the expressionist style to the letter with an amazing use of light and shadows to create a powerful and haunting atmosphere. However, not everything is lifted from German expressionism, as Florey adds his own realist style to the mix resulting in a powerful combination that enhances the violence of the script. As the film was done before the Production Code was introduced, Florey manages to bring to life a lot of the vicious images of the script with an amount of detail that would be impossible a few years later. Sadly, Florey's skills at directing actors aren't as good as his skills with the camera, and some bad performances end up damaging the movie a lot.

While Florey doesn't seem to direct his actors as good as he does with the visuals, Bela Lugosi shows off his talent in a tremendous performance that's probably among the best of his career. As Mirakle, Lugosi is incredibly believable as a demented scientist, and despite being one of his most menacing roles he even manages to be sympathetic at times. The sadly ill-fated Sidney Fox is also good as Camille, the damsel in distress of this eerie horror, but sadly her counterpart, Leon Ames, isn't up to the challenge. While he later proved to be a talented actor, in this movie Ames delivers an awful performance that looks stagy and simply out of place in the movie. Bert Roach, who plays his sidekick, is not much better, as his delivery of comic relief is mediocre at best and ludicrous at worst.

This varying quality of the performances and the sharp contrast between them and the superb visual look of the movie may had played a part in the relatively disappointing reception the film had at box office, but the main reasons the movie failed was probably the fact that the audience wasn't ready for the dark nature of the plot and the violence displayed on screen. In fact, there are rumors stating that Universal removed almost 20 minutes of the original cut, taking away scenes supposedly too violent for being released. Anyways, whether this rumor is true or not is ultimately irrelevant, as the film's main problem is still in the actors' performances and that's something that missing footage hardly could improve. It is a shame that one of Lugosi's best performances ends up in the same film as one of Ames' worst.

Despite its many troubles, Robert Florey's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is still an effective tale of horror and mystery that keeps the classic Universal feeling to the max. Dark and atmospheric, it is also an unusual movie due to its raw portrayal of violence on film. While not exactly a classic of the level of Universal films like "Frankenstein" or "The Black Cat", this movie is definitely a must see if only for Karl Freund's masterful cinematography and Bela Lugosi's amazing performance. 7/10

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