Murders in the Rue Morgue

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Based on the work from the mind of legendary Gothic Horror novelist Edgar Allan Poe…

 

 

Murders in the Rue Morgue

 

 

 

 

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Sydney Fox

Directed by: Robert Florey

Rating: Internet Movie Data Base; 6.4/10 …Rotten Tomatoes; 83%

Our Rating; 8/10

Available Here From: Amazon and eBay

 

 

 

 

$$s-l225Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). Paris-1845. Two couples are at a fair enjoying the carnival atmosphere of exotic Arab dancers, savage redskin Apache’s and the usual fairground excitement and attractions. 

Pierre Dupin, a young medical student , his fiancée Camille and their friends, eventually come across the exhibition of a large African gorilla named ‘Eric’ and are persuaded to enter the tent and witness the show.

 

It’s here that Bela Lugosi makes another iconic appearance as ‘Dr. Mirakle’.

 

One of Lugosi’s Best Roles

 

He’s up on stage regaling the audience with what they will, and will not be seeing. Lugosi seems really at home in this movie, especially in this first sequence up on stage. Spending several years as a stage performer, it’s little wonder it seems so natural to him.

This early scene on stage, Lugosi’s commanding presence, along with the powerful dialogue and subject of evolution being described is really engaging. There’s a touch of humor too, in the way Dr. Mirakle translates what Eric is “saying”. 

 

Soon after the show both Eric and Mirakle take a liking to one of the ladies (Camille) and endeavor to find out where she lives.

Shortly after, somewhere in the foggy streets of Paris there’s a knife fight between two men apparently over the affections of a woman of the night. This poor girl, now being alone is approached and taken away by Mirakle to become the victim of his insane experimental ideas on evolution.




 

 

 

Very Disturbing for the Time…

 

Tied to a cross within Mirakle’s lair, her screams sound dreadful. Very unnerving stuff for the time.

This film was another which was made before the onset of the Production Code two years later, which is why the film contains such graphic imagery and concepts.

 

Mirakle is taking a blood sample from the victims arm with a scalpel as he tells her she’s to be the bride of science!

The suggestion of prostitution, the sadistic binding and torture of a female victim and the intended mating of a woman with an ape was, and is…pretty vulgar!

 

Murders in the Rue Morgue

An unnerving scene…even today!

 

The blood sample is intended to be mixed with that of the ape’s to determine if a suitable mate has been found. Under microscope, Mirakle discovers the blood is supposedly rotten… “Black!”, he say’s, “Like your sins!”

It’s all too much for the poor girl as she dies through sheer terror. Her body is let fall through a trap door and into the river below.

 

Meantime, Pierre is trying to detect the cause of death of several bodies recently being found in the river. After obtaining blood samples from the victims, he discovers a foreign substance present in all three.

He begins to focus his thoughts on the strange sideshow ‘charlatan’ he remembers, who stated he was going to mix ape blood with that of a human!

 

A Strange Visit

 

Dr. Mirakle has tracked down the residence of the lovely Camille and calls on her after he’s sure her sweetheart, Pierre has left.

Asking to be allowed to come in he’s refused. He tries to induce her to go with him in his carriage, ‘to a café, to talk’. “Impossible” she tells him. Then he explains that Eric has a message for her…that he talks only of her and cannot forget her…

With eyes aglow, leaning into her apartment and attempting to use all of the hypnotic emphasis he can muster, says, “There’s something which you must know..!” At which point Camille asks, “Are you insane Monsieur?” and abruptly closes the door on him!

 

A funny scene. It seems to make light of ridiculousness of Mirakle’s intentions. Lugosi almost appears personally offended by it!

 

Worse Date Ever!

 

Waiting in the carriage below is the ape in question. He’s sent by his master to scale a drainpipe and enter the apartment of Camille and her mother. There follows another questionable looking  scene with Eric doing who-knows-what with his victim, then proceeding to carry out his master’s instructions.

The end is a brilliantly filmed and suspenseful episode as the camera follows Eric and his ‘prize’ high above the screaming crowd, along the Parisian rooftops.

 

Masterfully Filmed

 

While not an exact adaptation of Poe’s story, the film is a success in it’s own right. Legendary Cinematographer, Karl Freund who was also responsible for Metropolis and Dracula the year before, is at the top of his game here.

Scene framing, lighting and zoom, all create exciting and quality effect. The influence of Freund’s Expressionistic style is present and helps make the movie very interesting overall.

Lugosi’s performance is great and while other’s may be a little critical of the other actor’s work, I don’t find any major issue with them.

 

The ape’s performance on the other hand is disappointing. Eric switches between being a gorilla to a guy in a costume to a chimpanzee whenever it suites him. This rather crude or hastened attempt at special effects isn’t too much of a problem, though a little disappointing.

With an element of humor throughout, this film finds a clever balance with controversial/alarming subject matter, while not taking itself too seriously.

 

 

 

 

What did you think about this review of Murders in the Rue Morgue..? Please let me know if you’ve seen the movie and agree with the above. You’ll find a space available below for comments…Thanks very much for visiting.

∼Jamie

 

 

 Available here from Amazon and eBay

 

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21 Comments

  • Shawn says:

    Hi Jamie, I love the look of your site. The ominous dark background is suited to the classic horror movie genre. I’m not a huge classic movie fan, so I certainly learned something new from you. It’s cool that you offer merchandise related to classical horror movies. It’s like visiting an online Halloween store.

  • Viljoen says:

    I have never seen the Murders in the Rue Morgue before and the movie is definitely on my bucket list to on movies to watch.

    The story line also sound interesting, but I would like to see the whole set playing in front of me. Oh, before I forget, your website theme and background looks awesome 🙂

  • Alex says:

    Such a great site! Thanks Jamie. Love your descriptions and pics!

  • Norm says:

    A great site Jamie and your research and comments very professional. Your update of your site is extremely first class. Up there with the best.

  • Yared says:

    WOW, I’m not a fan of horror movies but I was surprised to find myself reading the entire review of “Murders in the Rue Morgue” to the end. You certainly know how to catch the attention of your readers well.

    I think you have convinced me to somehow consider watching this movies. Great job.

  • Brandon says:

    I love these classic horror movies. I don’t think I seen this one though. The mating of an ape with a woman back in those days definitely most of stirred up so controversy. I bet the director and a lot of people that helped made the movie dealt with a lot of problems from the people. However from what you described it does seem pretty interesting, I am going to have to check it out.

    • admin says:

      I’ll bet it stirred up a ton of drama back in the day Brandon. For sure! Some of the scenes are definitely disturbing even today! There’s a lot of crude suggestion too. This film is TOTALLY interesting though as you say. A real favorite!

  • Matt Killy says:

    Hello there!

    Very interesting article!

    You really explained a lot about the movie and even if I watched a lot of old horror movies, I never heard of “Murders in the rue Morgue.

    I was actually looking for one to watch tomorrow and I think I will definitely try to watch it 🙂

    Hope it’s gonna be good!!

    Keep up the great content man!

    Best,

    Matt

    • admin says:

      Hey there Matt. Grateful for your visit and thanks for commenting!

      I think you’d definitely enjoy “Murder’s…” It has a lot of Gothic atmosphere, some very potent imagery and scenes, a great story based on a classic by Poe and a fantastic performance by Lugosi!

      As long as you appreciate that it was made in 1932, I think you’ll really get a lot out of it. If you like, please check out this post on why these old classics were so effective and how to fully enjoy and admire them. http://bestclassichorrormovies.com/how-to-watch-classic-horror-movies

      Hope you truly love this movie as I do!

      Thanks a lot Matt. Jamie.

  • Daniel Lara says:

    I will be honest.. I am not a big fan of the old style black and white horror movies. I might actually watch this one because of your review, but would you have anything more modern to suggest? I am thinking about something in the lines of Saw and The Blair Witch Project.

    • admin says:

      Hi Daniel, glad to hear you’re considering watching this original classic horror from the ’30’s. I’d definitely encourage you to give it a go. Trust me, black and white film really grows on you especially b/w horror films! There’s an extra sense of Gothic atmosphere to them. For me there’s times when all I feel like is b/w.

      Although I also love to watch modern horror movies, I’m not quite as familiar with them as the older classics. A couple of movies that really struck me though, would be the first 3 Paranormal Activity movies which were ‘found footage’ style like The Blair Witch Project. These 3 movies, like Blair Witch were TRULY effective and creepy! The Ring was pretty cool…The Host (2006) is superb! The Descent was good…28Days/Weeks Later.

      You might have already seen these Daniel? Sorry If I havn’t come up with anything new but as you can see, I’m not as well versed in modern horror as older films.

      If you’re interested in the best titles from as late as the 1960’s, please check out this post; Best Horror Movies of the 1960’s

      Hope I’ve helped! Thanks a lot for visiting!

      Jamie.

  • JJ says:

    Woah nice review Jamie! I used to watch “Murders in the rue morgue” with my cousins during middle school. I really like classic horror movies because of their black and white screen. While the idea of ape mating a human was freaky to me when I was young. Really brings back old memories.
    Cheers!

    • admin says:

      Heyyy…thanks a lot JJ! Absolutely love this film hey! Great that you used to appreciate this black and white classic with your cousins. You’ve got great taste my friend. The black and white really adds something special to the old horrors hey! Your right…the suggestion of an ape mating with a human would have been bizarre as a kid! Still is! Would have been very heady stuff in the 1930’s!

      Pleasure to have you drop in JJ!

      Thanks heaps! Jamie.

  • Win Back Your Ex Comments says:

    Great site 🙂 I have bookmarked you.

    I am a lover of horror films in all honesty both old and new.

    I have to say though I have a soft spot for the oldies 🙂

    I remember seeing this movie some years ago and I really enjoyed it… The old ones seem to have something about them that cannot be captured anymore.

    Who was your favorite old time actor or actress? Was it Bela Lugosi? For sure mine was Christopher Lee in the old Dracula films 🙂

    Really enjoyed my visit!

    Thanks

    Chris

    • admin says:

      Would have to say Bela Chris exactly right! Karloff superb too though. Probably the better actor actually though Bela just had an other-worldly uniqueness to him. Definitely like Christopher Lee too but I actually prefer Peter Cushing who played Lee’s rival in so many of the Hammer classics.

      Thanks for visiting again!

  • Spencer says:

    Wow, I love old movies and I’m excited to give the ones you listed a shot. Perfect background and theme, reminds me a lot of halloween or pretty much anything spooky. Look forward to more films on the list in the future for me to binge watch and that will provide hours of entertainment.

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