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
John Carradine plays Blubeard--he paints women and then strangles them to death. He doesn't want to do it but is compelled to (we find out why at the end). Then he falls in love with beautiful Lucille (Jean Parker) and tries to fight his desire...
John Carradine said this was his best performance--he's right! He's dead on target in the title role. He shows that Bluebeard is not evil and driven by impulses beyond his control. He uses body language and facial expressions perfectly. Also director Edgar G. Ulmer directs this beautifully with strange camera angles and lots of shadows making this very atmospheric. Also there are some beautifully done background paintings.
But this was done over at PRC--a poverty row studio. Unfortunately it shows. The furnishings and costumes look pretty tacky and it just FEELS low budget. Also the biggest problem is constant background music. It's ALWAYS playing and very annoying. Half the time the music doesn't even match the mood of what's being acted! These prevent the film from becoming a true classic.
As it stands I'm giving it an 8 for Carradine and Ulmer. It should be seen just for them. Also this is one of the few films that prove what a good actor Carradine actually was.
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