Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
22 Reviews
Sort by:
"I notice you have no ear lobes."
utgard1427 November 2014
In 19th century Paris, a series of gruesome murders baffles the police. In each case a woman is found beaten to death inside a locked room. Suspicion soon falls on innocent Professor Pierre Dupin (Steve Forrest). Maybe somebody should look at his colleague Dr. Marais (Karl Malden), who has a caged gorilla and bad luck with the ladies.

Warner Bros. horror-thriller, originally released in 3D. It's essentially a color remake of the 1932 Murders in the Rue Morgue, but with more ties to Poe than Universal bothered to have. Despite improving in some areas, it's not as good overall. Roy Del Ruth's direction is flat and Karl Malden can't match Lugosi's manic performance in that earlier film. Also, Lugosi's Dr. Mirakle had a far more interesting motivation than Malden's Dr. Marais. But the lack of chimpanzee close-ups and Steve Forrest making a better hero than Leon Ames are both pluses in favor of this over the 1932 film. Comparisons aside, this is a nice time-passer that you'll probably enjoy. Anthony Caruso is creepy as Malden's one-eyed henchman. It's not scary (it doesn't really try to be) but it is entertaining. Look for Merv Griffin in a tiny role as a college student.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Atmospheric Thriller
grantch6 November 2006
If you've never seen this Parisian outing in 3-D, you must. It's been decades since the last time I enjoyed it at a temporary 3-D revival, but I remember the effects quite well. I won't discuss the story because too many commentators have already discussed how it is modified from Poe's original, but the script works. It is a horror movie, after all, which makes me think the writer who critiqued the "over the top" and "stilted" acting, doesn't realize that like fair rides we go to these movies to be thrilled and shudder. By current slasher film standards, this movie is very tame ... but it effectively depicts enough to give you nightmares, if you really think a bout what's going on. As mentioned, the 3-D effects are stunning. No, this movie is not as good per se as "House of Wax" but it is definitely worth a look. Why the devil doesn't Warner Brothers release both HoW and PotRM on DVD in 3-D using the shutter process utilized for the Imax releases?
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Slow but ultimately enjoyable.
Snake-66615 August 2003
Rory Del Ruth directed this film supposedly based on the classic Edgar Allen Poe story 'Murders in the Rue Morgue' though showing only the slightest resemblance. A number of young women are brutally murdered and all evidence points to Professor Dupin (Steve Forrest). However, Dupin continues to protest his innocence but his attempts to prove it to exasperating Inspector Bonnard (Claude Daulphin) are ignored by the abhorrent police officer.

I found this movie to be quite entertaining. To begin with the story moves slowly and one has to question where this movie is going? However, the final twenty minutes or so are very tense leading up to an almost blistering and highly exciting finale. Steve Forrest is great as Dupin, the university professor apparently caught up in the middle of a very elaborate murder plan, and commands his role as if it were written for him. Unfortunately the rest of the cast did not seem to perform to the same standard in my opinion with the exception of Karl Malden in the role of Dr. Marais. Even though Malden certainly hammed it up a bit his performance was still of a high quality and during a particular scene gave one of the more fearsome horror performances I have been privileged enough to witness.

Phantom of the Rue Morgue's finest quality is in its thriller aspect. As all murders are off-screen and only the aftermaths are shown the film searches out for a different type of brutality and succeeds but unfortunately rather late on. During the first half of the film 'Phantom.' remains a pleasant crime thriller but suffers somewhat from slowness in places. All this changes when it becomes obvious to us all who the killer is and what their motive is for doing so. Upon acquiring this knowledge we are given an insight into one of the more disturbed killer minds in horror and also some marvellous final scenes.

Despite the occasional slowness and poor acting I still quite liked this film. Though I must admit I found the first half to be of only average quality and reasonably dull when the story eventually become more interesting 'Phantom of the Rue Morgue' managed to regain my attention. I can understand its low rating on IMDb but I don't think it's a true representation of this film. 'Phantom.' certainly has flaws but is worth watching if only for the blistering finale. My rating for 'Phantom of the Rue Morgue' - 6.75/10
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Phantom of the Rue Morgue
Scarecrow-8811 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A murderous fiend is destroying Parisian lovelies and law enforcement seems powerless to stop him. But who is it and what drives him to savagely attack beautiful women at night? Is it even a man? Zoologist Dr. Marais (Karl Malden) could hold the answer to the killer in Paris. A mean-spirited remake of Robert Florey's atmospheric 30s chiller starring Bela Lugosi, with Malden in the Dr. Mirakle role of devious scientist who can control ape to heinously kill women, implicating friend Professor Paul Dupin (Steve Forrest), a teacher of psychology, by placing items he had given to his fiancé, Jeanette (Patricia Medina; who Malden is in love with) at crime scenes.

With glossy sets and nice production value, "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" shows the destructive aftermath of the killer ape's rampage, with rooms laid to waste, female (and a male) bodies discovered bloodied, and the familiar "wrong man" scenario utilized (imprisoned innocent man trying to get police to believe that he didn't and couldn't commit the murders he is set up by Malden for). Malden implements "psychotic eyes" to convey his madness, simmering to the surface when Jeanette, who Marais is infatuated with, he feels betrayed because she denies his advances. Predictable and lacking real chills, "Phantom of the Rue Morgue", to me, is an interesting failure, probably of interest to horror fans for Malden's involvement and its status as a remake of an underrated classic. Not that well known, "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" has a dark streak, to be sure, and was perhaps pretty potently violent in its time. The melodramatic score adds to the Hollywood gloss of the picture; I felt this was an affectionate homage to Universal studios 30s/40s horror. The ending, where Malden's antics come back to haunt him, closing at his zoo, goes through the motions and lacks atmospheric thrills which came easily even with the lesser Universal studios' B-movie efforts, like the inferior Mummy series. Claude Dauphin is Paris Inspector, Bonnard, persistently assured that he has caught the right man for the crimes...even when it is obvious no human could commit the crimes where a great deal of strength would be needed and superior agility to escape from such heights. Anthony Caruso has a fun part as a surly one-eyed assistant to Marais, killing an acquaintance who knows too much about the ape in a memorable scene. There's a great knife throwing scene and an acrobatics demonstration, both providing some decent suspense. Good cast helps, even if the film never quite becomes altogether involving.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Phantom Of The Rue Morgue (Roy Del Ruth, 1954) ***
MARIO GAUCI23 January 2010
I recall watching this as a kid, though not the opinion I had made of it back then. With this in mind, I am baffled by its maligned reputation (the "Leonard Maltin Film Guide" gives it a measly **); mind you, I would not say that I prefer it to the classic 1932 Bela Lugosi version but it is more readily enjoyable (and faithful to its source). The film, in fact, is quite stylish in color – with special care given to the art direction – and a worthy follow-up to Warners' success of the previous year HOUSE OF WAX (1953); like that one, it was one of the numerous genre efforts from the early 1950s to be made in 3-D (though, typically, it was used gratuitously more often than judiciously). The cast is effective, too: Karl Malden adds an Actor's Method sensibility to the lead role of biologist/misogynist, Claude Dauphin is fine as the Police Inspector investigating the various gorilla slayings, Steve Forrest ideal as the handsome hero/accused and Anthony Caruso as Malden's loutish henchman/gorilla keeper. The murders are well-done, suggesting the animal's brutish strength without actually showing it – even the 3-D process comes in handy here as one of the victims throws something at the ape in defense and the latter responds by throwing a chair back at the girl!; there is, however, a goof in the scene depicting the killing of the circus performer (assisting her jealous husband in a knife-throwing act) as she is seen taking off the tell-tale bracelet but is then unaccountably back at her hand in a shot of the mangled (albeit conveniently covered) body! On a personal note, Malta's name comes up a number of times throughout the film: the Maltese cross on a sailor's (eventually revealed to be Caruso) scarf and his inopportune meeting in a dingy tavern with a drunken former 'colleague' (sealing his fate by unwisely disclosing his knowledge of the ape's existence). The latter stages, veering from the Poe tale, actually feel closest to Universal's earlier adaptation – as Malden cannot hold back his obsession with heroine Patricia Medina (engaged to his former student, and presently incarcerated, Forrest), an impulsive move which can only lead to the expected poetic justice of the climax in which the villain meets his own grisly come-uppance at the hands of the trained (read: abused) gorilla. By the way, having included a handful of films during this challenge in which this type of animal was featured as a menace (two more followed in quick succession), I came to realize just how many were made over the years. Finally, as I said in the beginning, this is pretty much underrated both as horror/monster movie and as adaptation of a highly-influential literary work.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More gripping than the 1932 version directed by Robert Florey...
Neil Doyle19 August 2006
Although not in the same league with Warner's HOUSE OF WAX, at least this version of the Edgar Allen Poe story has some interesting ingredients that make it passable entertainment. First and foremost, the always dependable KARL MALDEN as a sinister man terrifying Paris with his ape and a pleasant supporting cast that includes CLAUDE DAUPHIN, PATRICIA MEDINA and a very young and slim MERV GRIFFIN.

David Buttolph's music adds some flavor to the improbable Poe story and the sets and costumes provide additional quality. But the basic story is so silly that none of it seems quite credible. You just have to suspend your disbelief long enough to enjoy the tale, expanded a bit from Poe's original short story with only modest returns.

STEVE FORREST, as a man wrongly accused, gives the film's most earnest performance but it's KARL MALDEN and his ape companion that you're most likely to remember.

At any rate, a vast improvement over the stilted '32 version directed by Robert Florey with a very young Leon Ames as the romantic lead and Bela Lugosi providing the only thrills.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fun, enjoyable take on the story
GL848 May 2013
As a series of strange murders plague a small area of Paris, the lack of clues force the police to team up with the prime suspect in the case to find the maniac responsible when he claims a friend's trained killer gorilla is responsible and targeting his fiancée.

This was a fairly impressive and fun effort that has a lot going for it. One of the better elements here is the fact that there's a large amount of attack scenes on the victims, which really drives this one nicely as these continuous sequences provide plenty of action, shocks as well as generating some sultry teases with the women being targeted being quite attractive overall. As the attacks are framed so the audience doesn't see the culprit, and the only times they are is when they're obscured or casting a shadow on the wall, it leaves a distinct impression, and the fun continues due to the investigation done to recreate the crime at the scene, and the evidence either way makes for some fun times overall. The fact that these investigations point to the main purpose of this one is a little troubling since they can drag on at times especially when they keep trying to pin it on the hero through flimsy circumstances that won't work in any real courtroom. The other real flaw is the romance angle that appears late in the film, which stops the film cold and comes out-of-nowhere to create a really confusing mess, though it does solve the film's murders quite nicely. Overall, this one was pretty enjoyable.

Today's Rating-PG: Violence.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I liked this version very much
SkippyDevereaux31 October 2001
This is a good version of the Poe story, and I liked it much more than the Bela Lugosi version. This held my attention throughout the whole movie. The color cinematography was very effective and Steve Forrest and Patricia Medina make a very believable couple. The ending is a bit unintentionally funny, at least to me. And it sure is something to see a very young and a very slim Merv Griffin. LOL.

But I do like this version, I think because the Lugosi version has a weird look to it. This is the better version.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
This is the work of a maniac!
sol12187 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** Remake of the original "Murders in the Rue Mourge" both in color and 3-D with the added attraction of Charles Gemora repeating his role as the gorilla, he was an over-sized chimpanzee in the original, Sultan. Gemore does an excellent job swinging on fire escapes and rooftops despite being 22 years older and having a touch of arthritis in his arms and legs.

It's when there's a series of brutal murders at the Rue Mourge district in Paris that the bumbling Paris police inspector Bonnard, Claude Daphin, feels that the murders were committed by psychology professor Paul Dupin, Steve Forrest! That's only because he happened to be on the scene of one of them. It's when one of Paul's fellow tenants Camille,Dolores Dorn, is found murdered in his apartment house and stuffed up the chimney that Inspt. Bonnard has him arrested for her as well as the two other Rue Morgue murders. While Inspt. Bonnard and the Paris Police are barking up the wrong tree or chimney the real killer, the gorilla, escapes the scenes of his crimes through the Paris sewer system.

The gorilla who was a baby when he was caught by one-eyed Jacques, Anthony Caruso, in far off Madagascar was raised by Jacques' boss Dr.Marals, Karl Malden, back at his zoological center outside of Paris. It's Dr.Marals in is his experimenting on the nature of both man and beasts has come up with a way to turn on or off a person's or gorilla's aggressive behaviors. And most of all what makes them violent and how to control that violence. Dr. Marals who's wife left him by killing herself is obsessed with pretty Jeanette, Patricia Medina, who just happens to be Paul Dupin's fiancée! It's in trying to frame Paul in the Rue Morgue murders that the crazed and love sick Dr. Marals thinks he can win Jeanette over! That's if he keeps on fooling the police and Inspt. Bonnard that it's Paul and not him and his pet gorilla-Saltan-who's been doing all the killing!

It takes a while and a number of murders for Paul to convince the somewhat muddled headed Paris Police Insector Bonnard to realize what's reallying going on in the Rue Morgue but by then Dr. Marals had kidnapped Jeanette and locked her up, with the gorilla standing guard, in his mansion. With the police hot on his tail Dr. Marals releases his zoo animals, lion tigers and leopards, to distract them with the gorilla climbing up to his secret study room where he's holding Jeanette hostage!

***SPOILERS**** Trapped on a tree, after dropping Jeanette to safety below, with nowhere to go the gorilla in refusing to give himself up is then shot down to the ground by a barrage of fire by some half dozen police sharpshooters. But before he finally expires he gets his hands on the handcuffed Dr.Marals who ordered sultan not to surrender but to kill everything in sight and ends up ringing his neck thus killing him instead! The gorilla like we in the audience had realized what a total nut case his master Dr.Marals really was. It's when he started to mess around with Jeanette, whom the gorilla was madly in love with, that Sultan went totally bananas! And it was Dr. Marals as well as his assistant the one-eyed Jacques, whom the big monkey killed earlier in the movie, who ended up paying with his life for it!
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
This "Phantom" is a Scary Flick!!
DS352028 January 2012
This version of "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" is far superior to the earlier Bela Lugosi version in virtually every respect! Firstly, the music score by David Buttolph adds a sinister spine tingling note that heightens the element of fright. The cast members, all of them, led by Karl Malden and the underestimated Claude Dauphin as the Inspector, move the plot along and ably hold the audience's attention as the story unfolds. The mood, the period, the locale of turn-of-the-century Paris are all re-created very well by Director Roy Del Ruth. The garish hues of Warner Color, too, heighten the imagery. Having first seen this flick more than half a century ago as a young boy, I was terrified then. Given some of what makes it to the screen these days, "Phantom" is, indeed, quite tame by comparison! Nonetheless, it is a very entertaining horror flick of the period
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Phantom of the Rue Morgue
mhrabovsky691215 December 2007
A top notch horror thriller for it's time when it was released in the 1950s.....not a slasher film, those types of movies were not even considered during that time period....story concerns some very brutal murders of beautiful young women in and around some Paris France nightclubs in the very early 1900s....women are mutilated and the local gendarmes (police) are could they be so badly beat up and decimated....the local police question everyone and the local inspector pays too much attention looking for suspects at the local clues are to be found.... finally after another gruesome murder a local student is implicated since he was near the area looking for the murderer himself...the local cops are very anxious to pin the murder on the student since they have no other suspects and the heat is on to find the killer (s). After some serious head scratching the student, Steve Forrest puts two and two together and figures that no man could be physically capable of crashing through glass ceilings and mutilating and stuffing corpses up a chimney and severing limbs....the evidence points to an animal such as a gorilla...naturally the local gendarmes do not believe it a first. After the gorilla escapes from his local pen at the zoo and murders again, police have to release Forrest from custody. Evidence points to the local zoo and its curator Professor Marais (Karl Malden) Police quickly rush to the zoo to find the ape carrying around another potential victim, the fiancé of Forrest. The cops kill the gorilla and in a somewhat funny scene the ape lands on Malden and gives him a Mike Tyson working over...ugh!! This film was released in 3D in 1954 during a period when Hollywood was trying to figure out how to keep its audiences away from television.....3D was a silly gimmick that gave a few thrills by wearing plastic glasses to enlarge and somewhat make more believable the image on the looked like the image was coming right at the viewer more explicitly than in regular format. All in all this is a good, decent horror thriller for it's time...the music composed by David Buttolph is pretty good and adds a touch to the mystery. The guy in the gorilla costume is very believable and you feel almost compassionate seeing the gorilla in his cage responding to affection from the fiancé of Forrest. Decent little thriller.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A fun mystery
wurliguy10 November 2003
I have read all of Edgar Allen Poe's works, I don't think there is a faithful movie adaptation anywhere, of course if there was, most movies would be about 15 - 20 minutes long. The Phantom of the Rue Morgue is a fun movie especially if you can see it in 3-D as I did twice when I lived in Los Angeles. I have been watching 3-D movies for 40 years, and I search for them constantly.

I am also a Karl Malden fan and I think every movie he is in is great, and he overacts almost as well as Vincent Price, whom I consider the King. The color, photography and 3-D effects are absolutely great. Too many people expect a "slasher" type movie, "Phantom" was made before that type of movie was invented, and is very literate compared to today's movies.

As with all 3-D movies, "The Phantom of the Rue Morgue" needs to be seen in 3-D, to really appreciate it.

Look for a 3-D festival, or revival, and go see it. I wish Warner Brothers would release all of their 3-D movies on DVD in "3-D for shutterglass" versions. I would buy them all.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Nice Telling of the Poe Story
Michael_Elliott31 January 2012
Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)

*** (out of 4)

The police are baffled by some gruesome murders to local women and they think the case is solved when they arrest Paul Dupin (Steve Forrest). What Inspector Bonnard (Claude Dauphin) doesn't realize is that the real culprit is Dr. Marais (Karl Malden) who has trained an ape to do the killings for him. This remake of the 1932 Bela Lugosi film was Warner's follow-up to HOUSE OF WAX, their first 3-D and color horror film. Most reviews seem to be very mixed in regards to this movie and while it's not quite as good as that Vincent Price classic, I think there are enough effective moments to make it worth viewing. The one thing that really caught me off guard was how ugly and rather violent the movie was. I guess director Roy Del Ruth was wanting to go the extra mile by delivering some violent scenes and while we don't always see the violence the aftermath is on few view. There are several scenes of women badly beaten and bloody and an even more memorable scene has one wannabe hero getting thrown to his death in a violent fashion. Another memorable scene is when a model is being attacked by the killer and we see blood splash across the wall but then it's revealed to be something else. I thought the performances were also good, if nothing too special. Malden doesn't do his greatest work here but there's no question that it's fun to see someone like him in a horror movie like this. Forrest does a good job as the innocent suspect and Patricia Medina makes for a good female lead. We even get Anthony Caruso playing a creepy, one-eyed assistant. There are many flaws with this movie including the police who are downright annoying. Just watch how whenever someone is being attacked and they scream, whenever a police officer is around they simply walk to see what's going on. Had any of these guys actually ran to the scene then the murders would have been solved early on. The Technicolor is another major plus here as are the sets and costumes. PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE certainly isn't a masterpiece but it's good entertainment to kill some time.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Good Looking and Bloody 50's Slog of Standing Around & Screaming
LeonLouisRicci29 November 2014
Surprisingly Bloody, this was made after House of Wax (1953), also in 3-D, was Such a Hit. This one Holds Up pretty Well with the Vincent Price Movie, although Karl Malden seems Out of Place.

The Attraction of this Film is the Gruesomeness of the Violence. There are some Attractive Indoor Scenes. But when the Movie Ventures Outdoors it is Stilted and Stage Bound.

There is some Tension as the Brutal Murders continue and when the Evil Doctor Locks the Heroine in the Barred Room (cage) it is quite Terrifying.

Overall, a Man in an Ape Suit is Rarely Effective, although done somewhat Believable Here. The Movie is just about as Good as one would expect Considering the Limitations of the 3-D Format and 1950's Sensibilities, in Fact, maybe a Bit Better.

The Downside is the Aggravating Police Department and there are a lot of Scenes where Folks just Stand around and Jabber.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
JasparLamarCrabb24 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If you've read the Edgar Allen Poe story THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, be prepared to be wildly disappointed in this unexciting, awkwardly produced film version. Roy Del Ruth directs with such inertia it's impossible to recommend anything here. Poe's story of some sort of beast roaming the streets of Paris killing young women is transferred to the screen with all the excitement of a soggy croissant. In casting that is silly rather than intriguing, Karl Malden has the lead role and Steve Forrest is a professor who cracks the case. B-movie goddess Patricia Medina (later Mrs. Joseph Cotten in real life) and French acting legend Claude Dauphin add very little. Merv Griffin is in cast list but good luck spotting him. Creepy Anthony Caruso plays creepy Jacques, Malden's cycloptic assistant. The obvious music score is by David Buttolph and the cinematography is by J. Peverell Marley, who shot the much better HOUSE OF WAX a year earlier. Director Del Ruth followed this with the equally unscary horror film THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It looks nice, but this Poe adaptation is strictly by numbers
Leofwine_draca8 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A middling adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, this is no better nor worse than a hundred other old-fashioned horror films. In the typical crime thriller mould of American cinema in the '40s and '50s, the plot has a police force investigating various brutal murders. The police in this film appear even dumber than many of their contemporaries, using various haphazard contrivances to question and nearly arrest a number of innocent people. After noticing that the killer may have escaped by swinging from various flagpoles, they immediately visit a travelling circus and question the trapeze artists there. In other instances, they visit people living close to the crime scene - it's obvious that they don't have a clue what they're doing. When the actual killer falls into their hands in the final reel, they still don't believe in him, instead preferring to make up a confession and nearly hang some poor chap who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!

What spoiled this film for me was the fact that I'd already read Poe's short story - so I knew the identity of the killer all along, of course. For those who don't know, the killer is an ape - trained by (in this case) a hypnotist to attack and kill various women. What made this film interesting is the psychology used - like Pavlov and his dogs, the killer trains the ape to kill when it hears the tinkle of a bracelet - a bracelet worn by the intended victims. Other than this clever spin, it's a well-worn story with a nicely-choreographed ending which seems to have come straight from KING KONG. The ape decides not to kill the screaming heroine, and instead climbs up a tall building with her. There's no particular reason for this apart from the sheer spectacle of having a woman in peril and giving the police ample opportunity to gun the ape down and kill it (they also slaughter an escaped lion, obviously there was no animal protection in these days!).

The film lacks having a big-name "star" to add glamour to the proceedings - in the '30s version they had a sinister-looking Bela Lugosi, while in the '80s television movie veteran George C Scott played the detective Dupin. Karl Malden is the killer here, and to be honest he's not much cop - neither menacing nor convincing in his role, more laughable really. The monkey suit is also pretty fake-looking. The film does benefit from some surprisingly nasty murder scenes (in one, a man is violently thrown out of a window and down a flight of steps), giving us glimpses of bloody legs which make us imagine a lot worse. Although there is little atmosphere or suspense built up, PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE does have that colourful look about it, all full of vivid (sometimes garish) yellows and reds, much like in HOUSE OF WAX from the same period. They also manage to thrown in a few can-can dancers and a sinister eye-patched foreigner for good measure.

While not a particularly bad film by any means, there are just no original distinguishing features which would really make this movie stand out from the crowd or become a minor classic. It simply goes through the well-trodden motions and lacks a vital spark or pace to it. And, to tell the truth, there were so many ape movies made beforehand (THE APE MAN, THE GORILLA, etc.) that this has an air of familiarity about it which destroys a lot of the fun. Check it out for the colourful photography and grandiose look, but you'll realise why this has been all but forgotten in the annals of horror.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
a bit like the old Poe story...a bit which certainly isn't.
MartinHafer18 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allen Poe is considered to be one of the first detective stories. While it's been made and remade several times for the big screen, I've yet to see a version that sticks very closely to the original. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the Poe story lacks the excitement of many of the films and the story is a bit brief. So, I can cut the makers of "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" some slack for taking some rather large liberties with the story. And overall, it's a decent film.

Before I talk about the plot and my feelings, I should point out that this film must have either been 3-D originally or they planned on releasing that way in theaters. This is because again and again, the camera points directly at things as they are tossed at the camera---cheap 3-D tricks which were common in these films. It is also a color film...a bit unusual for 50s movies but not for 3-D pictures.

As for the story, several women have been horribly murdered-- mutilated by a killer with immense strength and acrobatic abilities. The Inspector is a total idiot and comes up with a theory and then attempts to make the facts fit it--a common theme in B-mystery movies. The unlucky guy who gets arrested for the crimes (Steve Forrest) obviously didn't commit the murders and couldn't have if he'd wanted to do so. The only logical solution to the problem is an ape. Oddly, while it's an orangutan in the Poe story, here it's a gorilla and I assume it's simply because they had a gorilla suit handy! The mystery isn't just the ape, however, it's also who is behind all this and why--elements that simply weren't in the original tale....but were entertaining nevertheless.

Not a brilliant horror/mystery film but an enjoyable time passer. It's also fun just to watch it and count the cheap 3-D moments where things are aimed at the audience...making this an excellent movie to be used as a drinking game with friends.

By the way, it doesn't harm the film in any way, but Karl Malden's character was described throughout the film as a psychologist. At this point in history, they were not called that nor were folks doing conditioning experiments like you see in the film. No biggie, however.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"This is the work of a maniac!"
classicsoncall23 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I recall the first time I read Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' how ludicrous it felt that he would have come up with a plot in which an orangutan was a murderer. I still can't get over it.

Anyway, here's the story put to film and it seems almost as ludicrous all over again. That's not to say I didn't find it entertaining enough, although I don't think I would have cast Karl Malden as the principal heavy. His character, Dr. Marais, was working on a theory that all living things have a latent killer instinct, while his experimentation in conditioned reflex reaction resulted in using bells to trigger a gorilla's response to kill victims at his command. One of the more comical elements of the story occurred when he pulled out some trinket to hypnotize old Sultan; can you really hypnotize a gorilla?

Inspector Bonnard (Claude Dauphin) also struck me as somewhat comical in the exercise of his police duties. It seemed he was always looking for the easy way out to find the guilty party, on the basis that "it's so much easier to find a criminal who looks like a criminal". That reminded me of a line Benson Fong used in the 1945 film "The Scarlet Clue" when he remarks to Sidney Toler's Charlie Chan - "That's easy Pop, the murderer will be the one with the guilty look". If only it should be so easy.

At least by researching this picture I'm now aware of the Bela Lugosi version of "Murders in the Rue Morgue" from 1932. I didn't know about that one so I'll have to be on the lookout for it. Lugosi strikes me more of the mad scientist type than Malden, who nevertheless got kind of spooky himself when he eventually turned on the girl who jilted him (Patricia Medina).
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Based somewhat on the Poe story, but is a stilted production.
William8 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
The Warner Bros. production of Phantom Of The Rue Morgue is somewhat based on Edgar Allen Poe's Murders In The Rue Morgue. This colorful, 1954 feature was released to theaters in 3-D during the popularity of the 3-D trend. Many changes and additions were made to Poe's story, but the main part of the story - a murderous simian (in this film a gorilla) - remains the same. Possible SPOILERS: Steve Forrest plays a man wrongly accused of murders in turn-of-the-century Paris, and desperately tries to prove his innocence. In the meantime, Karl Malden plays a man who has sent a gorilla to kill all the women who have rejected him. It so happens the girlfriend of the wrongly accused (Patricia Medina) ends up prisoner to Malden, and next victim of the gorilla. I found the film to be ludicrous with most of its plot, and aggravating with many of its characters (the police inspector tops my list.) The film is overloaded with stiff and stilted performances by all actors involved; including it main stars. Overall I found Phantom Of The Rue Morgue to be a stilted production.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Good Mystery, weak Horror
thewag77710 February 2005
This was a good mystery, and I suppose by 50s standards, a good thriller. As a young man obsessed with horror films, I was bored throughout the first half of the movie. It takes a long time to build up the plot, like so many movies of the 50s and 60s, like Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Ghouls.

I will not spoil it, but lets just say its better than night of the ghouls. From a horror standpoint, it is weak. However, it is a nice mystery. Because it is a mystery, I can't go into too much detail without spoiling it. Trust me though, if you like mystery, you will like this. Do not do what I did and watch it while drunk, you will need to pay attention to this movie. If you're like me, and like to watch bad horror movies that actually look good while drunk, than stick to "The House that Screamed" I and II and "Witchhouse II."

I gave it 6 of 10. Only the last 20 minutes are enjoyable, but you have to watch the whole thing to understand it, and be sober (an attribute I don't like in movies.)
3 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
what a waste of time
kyle_furr20 February 2004
A total rip-off of Edgar Allan Poe's short story. The plot is a bunch of crap, it has something to do with an animal running around killing woman. This reason why he does it is also a bunch of crap. Karl Malden is a good actor but totally wasted here. Watch house of wax instead.
3 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Veola Vonn covers her modesty as an artist's model
howardmorley15 June 2015
Being an amateur artist I paid particular to the voluptuous actress Veola Vonn as (Arlette)who is posing and playing an artist's model.In the unfinished painting (where work has stopped because the light has gone), the artist has already painted a blue sheet covering her on the bed but Arlette is holding up a green sheet to her body.Also freeze framing the scene where she impulsively gets up from the bed in an attempt to slash the unfinished work, clearly shows she is wearing panties even though she is playing a nude model.Of course censorship took its' toll in 1954.My DVD came with the option of French sub-titles or just English dialogue but I would have appreciated French dialogue dubbed on the soundtrack.For example I like to put on Italian dialogue for my DVD of "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" for the Jennifer Jones/William Holden classic from 1955 as Jennifer sounds really sexy with her voice dubbed in this language.

The above user comments do not register when you input "La Phantome de la Rue Morgue" into the search box on only the English title which I found surprising as this is how my copy was sold to me.There are some entertaining scenes so I awarded this film 6/10.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews