A detective comes out of retirement to help his daughter's fiance prove that he did not commit a series of murders.A detective comes out of retirement to help his daughter's fiance prove that he did not commit a series of murders.A detective comes out of retirement to help his daughter's fiance prove that he did not commit a series of murders.
Several factors contribute to this. First, David Epstein's screenplay effectively rips all the subtlety out of the source material. Second, director Jeannot Szwarc makes absolutely no attempt to film this in a way that takes advantage of its low budget and venue. Finally, the casting is utterly random. Accents and nationalities are thrown together with total abandon.
In spite of all that, some the cast members manage to put in good performances. George C. Scott (as Auguste Dupin) is really excellent, with great command of his dialogue. Naturally, he is miscast, but acts as if he is in a far better film. A very young Val Kilmer (as Phillipe) is good, but has almost nothing to work with. He too, is miscast, though the main reason I originally watched this. Ian McShane is certainly entertaining, but his character has no subtlety.
After the acting, there's little to say. The only quality the film has left it owes to its source material. This might have been acceptable for an original script, but as a badly adapted story, it is simply disappointing.
The editing seems haphazard at points, either that important scenes were removed, or never filmed. Dupin's realization of the culprit is never explained, nor the contents of his newspaper ad, or any of his deductive process for that matter. Phillipe's process of discovering Adolphe's unfaithfulness is also never explained.
Finally, the intelligence of the script dips considerably by the final scenes. I won't elaborate, but they have all the brains of a 1950s horror B movie. Really weak.
RATING: 6.2 out of 10
- Sep 25, 2008