- Ax 2013
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Carl Laemmle jr for Universal
directed by Robert Florey
starring Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Waycoff (= Leon Ames), Bert Roach, Betty Ross Clarke, Brandon Hurst, D'Arcy Corrigan, Noble Johnson, Arlene Francis, & as gorilla Charles Gemora
screenplay by Tom Reed, Dale Van Every, with additional dialogue by John Huston, based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe & its adaptation by Robert Florey, cinematography by Karl Freund
Universal horror cycle, Universal's Edgar Allan Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue
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Paris 1845: Pierre (Leon Waycoff) & Camille (Sidney Fox) visit the
gorilla-show of doctor Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) at a carnival, where Pierre
is almost strangled by the gorilla (Charles Gemora), while Camille catches
the eye of the Doctor.
What nobody knows though is that the Doctor is collecting women at
night & has the strange idea of reversing evolution & turning them
back into gorillas by injecting them gorilla blood - with the result that
these women regularly die & soon everybody suspects a run-of.-the-mill
serial killer - but not so Pierre, a medical student who has developed an
almost unhealthy interest in the case ... & soon discovers gorilla
blood in the women's veins. & he only knows one man with a gorilla,
Mirakle, who by the way is desperately trying to get a date with his
girlfriend. & then Pierre finds out that Mirakle doesn't leave town
with the rest of his carnival but puts up camp in an abandoned house with
his gorilla ...
Eventually, Mirakle & his ape not only kidnap Camille & kill
her mother but also manage to put the blame on Pierre ... & he is
hard-pressed to convince everyone to accompany him to Mirakle's house
instead, where Mirakle is already preparing to give Camille her a gorilla
blood infusion ... when his own ape objects, kills his master & drags
the girl off over the Paris rooftops. Only when he puts the girl down for
a while to make menacing gestures towards his pursuers does Pierre manage
to shoot him ...
Murders in the Rue Morgue has little to do with Edgar Allan
Poe's classic, groundbreaking detective tale (but stay comparatively
fatihful to its source considering Universal's later Poe
adaptations The Black Cat & The Raven, which isn't
saying much). Instead the audience is presented with a pulp tale about mad
scientists, gorillas & Paris in the fog (London would probably have
been more appropriate, actually). It is silly alright, but if you can see past that,
it's also a beautifully photographed, atmospheric film, done in wonderfully
artificial Paris sets, & Bela Lugosi, naturally, is great.