Paris...at the turn of the century. Inspector Vidocq investigates a series of unexplained murders at a Grand Guignol-type theatre...where the players have suddenly become real-life victims. Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe.
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In Paris, in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Cesar Charron owns a theater at the Rue Morgue where he performs the play "Murders in the Rue Morgue" with his wife Madeleine Charron, who has dreadful nightmares. When there are several murders by acid of people connected to Cesar, the prime suspect of Inspector Vidocq would be Cesar's former partner Rene Marot. But Marot murdered Madeleine's mother many years ago and committed suicide immediately after. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There are so many complex scenes, so many amazing sets and costumes, and lots of moving camera that implies intelligent filmmaking it's a miracle this film came out so wooden. And frankly boring.
Part of the problem is Jason Robards in the lead--another actor might have pulled off the drama and intrigue anyway. And the leading victim-female is almost terrible--Christine Kaufmann. But the director, Gordon Hessler, I think gets the worst of everyone, and all this apparent money and talent is squashed under bright even light and uninspired performances.
There are lots of horror film clichés that might be satisfying to some, including just the use of the theater as a set (somewhat like Phantom of the Opera). But some of the clichés are cheezy 1971 versions, like dreamy sequences with double exposures or slow motion, and strange sound effects of choral voices.
There were enough people who really liked this movie for the director to mades an official director's cut with eleven extra minutes. Well, why not? It's all voluntary, and I'd vote against it unless you are really into the themes here, the actors, or just have a lot of time free and here it is. It's no awful, it's just slow and clunky. And why did they film it with such shadlowless flat bright light? It's a horror film, for goodness sake.
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