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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Rebecca De Mornay,
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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
Have you thought about him?
And that's when I said he would not have stood for it. Suppose that unlike me,
[Clearing his throat]
he would not have allowed himself to be pensioned off without a battle.
My thought precisely. I'm sorry, Gust.
Don't feel badly. I often wonder why I accepted it without a fight. I've seemed to have lost all stamina - all forcefulness. Ted, my boy, you don't know what it's like not having a job without work.
The humiliation! The uselessness! The fear of not ...
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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.
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