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Bluebeard (1901)

Barbe-bleue (original title)
A young woman becomes the eighth wife of the wealthy Bluebeard, whose first seven wives have died under mysterious circumstances.

Director:

Georges Méliès (uncredited)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Georges Méliès ... Barbe-bleue
Jehanne d'Alcy Jehanne d'Alcy ... Le nouvelle épouse de Barbe-bleue (as Jeanne d'Alcy)
Bleuette Bernon Bleuette Bernon ... La fée
Thomas White Thomas White
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Storyline

In his adaptation of the grisly French folk tale, the pioneer director, Georges Méliès, divides the story of Cinderella (1899)'s writer, Charles Perrault, into ten scenes, placing it amid a plethora of intricate and sophisticated sets. Having been already seven times a widower, the infamous aristocrat, Bluebeard, prepares for the nuptial ceremony, after buying himself a hesitant wife despite his dark reputation. Following a sumptuous wedding banquet, the wealthy nobleman gives his young wife the castle's grand tour--she is welcome to have the run of the manor, apart from that very specific room which is off limits. But with the key to the forbidden door in her hands, the temptation is insufferable. What could possibly lie within? Written by Nick Riganas

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Genres:

Short | Horror

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

3 May 1902 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bluebeard See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Grimm Masterpiece Theatre: Ao hi ge (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
strange Méliès classic
27 July 2018 | by framptonhollisSee all my reviews

Like many of the classic films of Georges Méliès, 'Bluebeard' is groundbreaking, surprising, and filled with fun camera tricks and special effects magic, and it is also, no doubt, one of his darkest films. It's one of the earliest horror films ever made, and it gets pretty wild, particularly towards the end in which Méliès just fills the screen with action and suspense and special effects and death and ghosts and so on and so on.

The first portion of the film is actually fairly comedic, which makes how bizarre and tense it gets later on all the more surprising, shocking, and uniquely amusing/entertaining. Much of the comedy is in the common vaudevillian and slapstick vein Méliès's films, whether they be science fiction, romance, fantasy, etc., often indulge in. It helps set a tone that is harshly shifted by the end in a very enjoyable and fun way.

Of course, it gets better once it becomes a full blown horror film. Images of hanging women and keys that grow and shrink and spirits and an extremely energetic devil come and go and it's surreal and extremely impressive for the time. Méliès experiments with the overlaying of images atop other images, an effect we now take very much for granted, in a very thrilling nightmare sequence, and the jump cut tricks and theatrical bursts of smoke are very much in the vein of many of Méliès's other fantastical shorts.


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