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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The mysterious and grisly murders of a mother and daughter leave police investigators puzzled. Few clues were left behind. The killer could not have fled via the windows as they were nailed shut. Nor was the killer observed leaving by neighbors. It seems the only person with the skills to solve the crime is Auguste Dupin, who has been released from the police department by the new prefect. After much persuasion from his daughter, whose fiance is charged with the crime, Dupin begins to investigate the case on his own, and puts together quite an interesting scenario in solving the crime. Written by
For 42 years I went into battle with every case that was put before me. The solution of a crime made my blood pump. I thought it was my reason for living. Nothing came before my work. Nothing! When my wife died, I was out sorting for buttons from a dead man's shirt. I never regretted it. Never once! I had a higher calling. An honorable cause. The public trust! Hmmm. I thought it was my life. I let it become my life, and I'm a fool because of it! I can no more consult with you than apologize to ...
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While the basic crime plot of Poe's story is the framework of this color film noir, we have tacked onto it a melange of elements not in the story, not the least of which is having Dupin as a cashiered, or maybe just retired, Inspector of Police. The "real" Dupin was often consulted by the Prefect of Police, but he was a private citizen, a recluse if you will, with marvelous powers of ratiocination. Furthermore, where did the writers get the idea that the Prefect hated Dupin. According to the stories he pretended a supercilious attitude, but knew that often without Dupin he was nowhere. In this film, we see Dupin at work but get no details about his "ratiocination". It's a good cast, though, and interesting seeing them at work. Give it an A+ for atmosphere, but a C- for classic tale telling.
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