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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
This telling of French serial killer Bluebeard (why was he called Bluebeard?) is notable for two reasons - one is John Carradine's haunting yet believable portrayal of a madman's psyche, and the other is for Edgar G. Ulmer's ability to create mood and even grandeur on a tiny budget. While Carradine's acting skills have never been in question, his over-the-top scene stealing in many small roles would make one approach him with caution in a leading role. However, Carradine manages to restrain himself enough to never grow old or cumbersome in the role, while simultaneously delivering his lines memorably - leading to the excellent final crescendo. The plot never tires, the direction is masterful, the ensemble acting (especially the devious art dealer Lamarte) far better than expected, and the final feeling one of satisfaction. While all of this is unadulterated praise, the movie does appear a tad bit stagey (via budgetary concerns) at times, and also moves slowly at certain points. Despite this, Bluebeard is not merely an excellent time-waster, but a movie worthy of any viewer going out, renting, and popping in.
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