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.
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
A detective (George C. Scott) comes out of retirement to help his daughter's fiancé (Neil Dickson) prove that he did not commit a series of murders.
I really enjoyed this film, and was surprised to see it was the only attempt to adapt the Poe tale since the 1930s (the one in the 1970s hardly counts as being remotely close to the source material). While I think some liberties were taken (my memory of the story is not perfect), it follows the general feel and does its best to keep the mystery going as long as it can.
And, indeed, that is what I enjoyed most about the film -- the mystery! How did the killer get in and out of the house? What was the motive? Why did he not want the gold coins? Even though I already knew the story, they successfully brought me along for the ride.
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