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|Index||11 reviews in total|
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.
I've been waiting to see this film for about 10 years. There never was and there NEVER will be a truly great screen adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe. Because it can't be done. Given that Poe is definitely one of my favourite writers, you probably would suggest that I shouldn't watch any movie (or TV movie) based on one of his writings. True. But I love movies, and one of the best I've seen is The Pit and the Pendulum, directed by the great Roger Corman, which is an adaptation of Poe's short story and has virtually NOTHING to do with it. But Corman is Corman and he did 5 or 6 movies based (inspired by...) on Poe, and they're all classics (if you love this kind of cinema), and Vincent Price is absolutely splendid and...enough about history. Therefore, you should never expect a brilliant(or even decent)adaptation of Poe, but if you agree with that and if you are prepared to swallow characters and facts that aren't present in Poe's story (Murders in the Rue Morgue, that is) then you're in for a treat. The lugubrious atmosphere, the fluid camerawork, the impressive production design and the magnificent location all add panache to a well told (by David Epstein) and well directed (by Jeannot "Somewhere in Time" Szwarc) tale. And let's not forget the great, late George C.Scott, whose presence alone makes the film worthwile. And listen closely...If you love Poe just on paper, better stay away! If you haven't read the story (and if you like Scott), stick with it! Just remember - if you want a gore movie, wait till Dario Argento makes his own version. If you want an intellectual/perverse/subversive flick, talk to Polanski or De Palma. This one is just a TV movie.
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
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.
-- The Book:
An very involving read. An intelligent murder mystery (albeit not too complex, as it is a short story) in which the reader can't do anything but tag along for the ride. Lots of clever deductions and conclusions will have you both scratching your head and smiling when the killer's identity is finally revealed.
-- The Movie:
This made-for-TV adaptation does stay true to the nature of Poe's short. It's an adequate adaptation, both in look, feel and atmosphere. David Epstein, writer of the teleplay, did his best to give the characters more depth as well as adding a few. More than decent performances by George C. Scott and Rebecca De Mornay. Val Kilmer, at the time a rather inexperienced actor, gave it his best shot too, one can tell. My only grief is, that the movie was made for TV. In Poe's story, the two murders - or at least the aftermath - are described in gruesome detail. They had to be, because those murders are the core of the plot; the events that jump-start the whole mystery. Sadly, we don't get to see the bloody details in the movie, and we can only guess how brutal the murders were. Revealing the killer at the end, worked a little better in the book (due to the nature of the killer), but the effects were convincing enough. It's a good film, though horror enthusiasts searching for kicks and thrills might find it a bit disappointing.
I checked this out last night from our Library. I was more than a little surprised by how good it was. I hadn't read Rue Morgue since I was in 6th grade, so I didn't remember the plot. This seems to have upset a few people, since apparently the movie didn't follow the plot of the original story. I truly enjoyed it and if hadn't been for the segways I wouldn't have known it was made for TV. It looked great and is by far one of the best made for TV movies I've ever seen...especially given that it was made in 1986. George C Scott is always such a presence on screen. If you get a chance please watch in on VHS instead of TV with all the commercial breaks. You could probably find it at a library..if you live in a metro area.
Considering the fine start in this film, the movie overall was a huge
disappointment. Part of that great beginning was the cinematography, a
real eye-grabber particularly in the first 5-10 minutes.
The story begins to drag after awhile and it wasn't worthwhile sticking with it all the way - even though I did - because the ending is very unsatisfying.
I didn't recognize Rebecca deMornay, she looked so young. Val Kilmer, too, must have been at the beginning of his career. Being a TV movie, the language was pretty tame, which was nice, but the story just didn't deliver. It's not something I would give a second look.
This is one of the classics truly brought to life. Edgar Allen Poe was one of my favorite authors and he was a true magician with the English language. This is a beautiful TV film that really did justice to one of his greatest works thanks to one of our finest American actors. George C. Scott was one of those rare breed of actors who could do everything and anything and did it!He was that good at what he did. He made any film that he was in excellent. He gave a masterful performance as the great detective Dupin in this film and Rebecca De Morney gave him excellent support as his daughter. This film really brought Paris to life and is beautiful to look at. There was an older version of this film starring Bela Lugosi that really took liberties with Poe's story and made it into a cheap horror film, they didn't do it here and that is what makes it worth watching. This was an early example of "psychological profiling" Dupin tried to match any individual into his profile of the murder and had to come up with the fact that it wasn't a human at all. It is far-fetched! but Scott makes it worth your while. Everything about this film from the musical score to the smallest supporting performances is A plus.
It isn't terrible, but it's just another mediocre TV movie in spite of the cast and story (the Poe story is ridiculous, but it's fun). The story lurches along until the last 15 minutes, when it falls flat on its face. The ending is abrupt, leaving major story threads flapping in the breeze, and the clumsy attempt to surprise the 1 in 100 viewers that hasn't heard the plot of the Poe story is very distracting. There is also a subplot involving a feud between the detective and the police commissioner that is totally unnecessary. Finally, the cinematography is occasionally muddy. On the plus side there is the good cast and the locations are very attractive, so it's tolerable.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1986)
** (out of 4)
Made-for-TV version of the Edgar Allan Poe story has Detective Auguste Dupin (George C. Scott) coming out of retirement after his daughter (Rebecca DeMornay) comes to him saying that her fiancé has been charged with the brutal murder of a group of people. There aren't any real clues and it appears the murderer just vanished from the scene of the crime and it doesn't take long for the veteran detective to realize something strange is going on. This version of the familiar story really comes across as a disappointment for a number of reasons, which is a real shame since we got such a good cast of actors. The screenplay is the real villain here because the entire thing is shown from the detective's point of view. I'm going to guess that if you were unfamiliar with the story then perhaps this approach would work but if you know who the killer is then the suspense is pretty much taken away from you. The entire film is built around who did the murders but those familiar with the story already know. I think a straight adaptation would have been much more effective had the film let us in on the "secret" and went from there. Another problem is that the music score gets quite annoying at times as it's constantly going into high gear to make you feel as if a scene is all the more dramatic than it really is. Director Jeannot Szwarc (JAWS 2) does a decent job with the material he has to work with. He does manage to build up a nice atmosphere and he also gets some good performances from his cast. Val Kilmer appears in a small role and does a nice job. DeMornay isn't too bad, although she isn't always believable playing the weak lady. She also has to deal with the screenplay giving her an incredibly annoying character. As for Scott, as you'd expect, he's terrific and really delivers a strong performance. It's really too bad he wasn't given a better screenplay because his performance does so much with little to work with. THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE is pretty flat all around, which is a shame because there's some good stuff scattered throughout.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is PATHETIC and BORING!. Kilmer and Mornay are stiffer than
concrete. the plot is ridiculous--nothing but the worst caricatures and
uninformed stereotypical behaviors ever portrayed in a film. the
illogical events in the film are untenable--e.g., having sworn to
protect the young virgin, the young detective then leaves her alone in
the dark park, to be subsequently attacked, even though he knows the
murderer is still at large and supposedly in the park! Moreover, it is
factually untrue that the "murderer" could have committed this crime,
as this species is completely vegetarian and non-violent towards humans
unless directly attacked. Check out writings by Birute Galdikas if you
have any doubts.
It is shameful to perpetuate such outdated notions about a fellow primate that is on the verge of extinction because of humans.
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