Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932). Director: Robert Florey.

In this very loose adaptation of Poe's famous short story, Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi), who works in a sideshow with an ape named Erik, kidnaps, binds, and tortures women, ultimately injecting them with the ape's blood, bringing about their deaths. (He callously drops their bodies through a trapdoor into the river.) Mirakle has developed an unhealthy interest in pretty Camille (Sidney Fox), and there is a recreation of a scene from the story when the ape comes into the home of a young woman -- in this case, Camille -- and her mother and attacks them. A disconcerting note is that close-ups of an obvious chimp are intercut with long shots of a man in a gorilla outfit, and they certainly don't match. However, there are some great Parisian sets and shots, and the acting isn't bad. Leon Ames [as Leon Waycoff] plays "Pierre" Dupin, a friend of Camille's who investigates the case when the police get nowhere. Not one of the great Lugosi's better roles or performances.

Verdict: For those who can't tell the difference between a chimp and a gorilla! **.

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