A young American painter and his French wife move with their small daughter to the US when the husband's father dies. His mother takes an instant dislike to the wife, and when she finds out... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
A stripper is horribly disfigured in a car accident. A brilliant scientist develops a treatment that restores her beauty and falls in love with her. To preserve her appearance the doctor ... See full summary »
Anton Giulio Majano
Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. When an ascetic young scholar ventures into the countryside, searching for... See full summary »
Edgar G. Ulmer
A killer of young women, dubbed Bluebeard, is loose in Paris. Lucille and her friends meet Gaston Morrell, a puppeteer. He invites them to a show the next night; they go. Afterwards, he walks with Lucille; she offers to make costumes for his next show, he accepts, and feelings develop that may lead to love. She suspects he has a tragic past. Meanwhile, his leaving the show with Lucille prompts the jealousy of Renee, Gaston's sometime lover. Lucille's younger sister, Francine, comes back to Paris - her boyfriend is Inspector Lefebre, who's hunting for Bluebeard. Some clues point toward Lamart, a greedy art dealer. Who is in danger, and can Gaston be trusted? Written by
I saw this on a cheap DVD copy, and the film may have lost a bit in translation, but time has not been kind to the soundtrack, the dialogue muffled, and the background music overbearing. Even so, this is clearly a very uneven production saved mainly by the two leads and the high notes of artistry within an overall muddy piece.
Carradine is fantastic. This is a great role for him, displaying diverse talents. He is unfortunately not directed with any subtlety, and it is clear that he is the villain from the beginning, so this becomes more a story of "will the villain be redeemed by love?" That makes this film more interesting than a standard thriller.
Jean Parker is really luminous and lovely, and is the only young female in the cast that captures the feeling of the time period. The actress playing her sister is arch and tart enough to be playing a film noir gun moll, and the other young actresses are just horrible, and horribly directed, and completely out of place in a period film... they must all have come from the local bar.
The movie has elements that make it interesting and artistic, the focus on painting style, the accomplished and beautiful puppet show. It becomes fairly clear that this movie should have been called The Puppetmaster... that kind of "just missed the mark" moment mars many elements of this film. It starts with the title BLUEBEARD, which is bandied about, but never followed up on, and continues. THE PUPPETMASTER would have been a great premise and title for this film that could have unified it.
Others have mentioned this being a poverty row film, and that does endear it to me... but being from 1944, this is not that early a film, and it is simply a grade B shocker - a precursor to Vincent Price's wonderful performances in many B thriller shockers. If this was an attempt to make a period film in film noir style, it was a mismarriage.
Still, I give it a 4 - slightly below average, because in the overview of film history, we have much higher budget films that are infinitely worse on all levels. A similar, earlier film, but much better on all levels, is John Barrymore's SVENGALI. If you liked this, you will LOVE that.
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