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
When the murderer flees the theatre after the death of Erik at the start, it is obviously a stuntman, rather than Herbert Lom, who jumps over the fence. See more »
Do you remember what we said in my dressing room the very night it happened? I asked you to set a date for our marriage, didn't I? Well... I'm still waiting.
Have you any idea, madame, what I look like? No, you find yourself a husband with a face worth looking at. A handsome young lord, like Charron.
I hate handsome men! I hate them, dear. All my leading men are handsome. Why else would a a man want to look into a mirror night after night? All tailor's dummies and empty hearts. All except you.
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British version puts a twist on the story (and previous versions) of Edgar Allan Poe. In this version, a stage troupe is putting on a version of Murders in the Rue Morgue when real murders start to happen. The lead actor (Jason Robards) and Inspector Vidocq (Herbert Lom) try and track down who is responsible. This version of the Poe story has been ripped to pieces over the years but having skipped it for thirty-plus years I was well aware that several liberties were taken. I can't say I blame director Gordon Hessler for wanting to change things around considering there had been several versions of the story already done. The biggest problem is that with the changes nothing too exciting is done and nothing here is as entertaining as what Poe wrote. I think the biggest thing going against the picture is the fact that it's rather dull and only comes to life during the opening sequence and the final one. Everything in between is rather lifeless and really drags to the point where you just simply don't care who's doing the killing. The version I viewed was the 97-minute director's cut, which restores some eleven-minutes that AIP had originally cut out. I don't know the whole history of the film so I can't say which version is better but I have to think that a lot of the material here was just filler. You'd think that having actors like Robards and Lom would have been a positive but it's really not. Yes, it's fun seeing them in a film like this but at the same time both are clearly just here to cash a paycheck. Robards seems extremely uninterested in anything going on and the same can be said about Lom who seems to be rushing through every scene just to get it over with. There are a few good things about the film including its colorful look as well as the atmosphere but this here just isn't enough to recommend it to others.
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