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Mystery of Marie Roget

USA 1942
produced by
Paul Malvern (associate) for Universal
directed by Phil Rosen
starring Patric Knowles, Maria Montez, Maria Ouspenskaya, John Litel, Edward Norris, Lloyd Corrigan, Nell O'Day, Frank Reicher, Clyde Fillmore, Paul E. Burns, Norma Drury Boleslavsky, Charles Middleton, William Ruhl, Reed Hadley, Paul Dubov, Alphonse Martell, Lester Dorr, Charles Wagenheim, Dorothy Triden (voice)
screenplay by Michael Jacoby, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe, musical direction by Hans J. Salter

Universal's Edgar Allan Poe

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Paris, tail end of the 19th century: Marie Roget (Maria Montez), popular singer, disappears without a trace, and when top detective Dupin (Patric Knowles) and his sidekick the prefect (Lloyd Corrigan) pick up investigations, they soon find a dead woman with a torn off face who's likely to be her ... but when they report the death to Marie's grandma (Maria Ouspenskaya) and her sister Camille (Nell O'Day), Marie turns up out of the blue - but refuses to tell anyone where she has been ...

Marie though is by no means Ms Innocence, she has an affair with Camille's fiancé Marcel (Edward Norris) and conspires with him to murder Camille, because that's the only way for her to get her hands on the family fortune Camille is to inherit. Grandma Roget though overhears the conversation, and she hires Dupin to accompany Camille to the party the murder is to happen as a sort of bodyguard ... and then it's Marie who ends up dead.

After lengthy investigations, Camille becomes the key suspect when Marcel breaks down and admits that he murdered Marie, but only to save Camille's life, because when Camille conspired with him, he never meant to go through with the plan but saw so much criminal energy in her that he killed her pretty much in self defense - which would make this justified manslaughter. At a public hearing though, Dupin sees to it that the charges against Marcel are dropped, to the surprise of everybody, and claims the ultimate clue to the murderer is in Marie's diary ... only to later catch Marcel trying to steal same diary, which reveals him as the murderer for good. In a chase over the roofs of Paris, he's shot dead.

But why, you may ask, did Dupin see to it that the charges against Marcel were dropped in the first place? Because he could have gotten away with justified manslaughter scot free and couldn't have been tried again, whereas with murder (which this was, as Marie's death was part of his scheme to get his hands on the Roget fortune) he would have been hit with the full force of the law ...

 

A rather tired murder mystery that twists and turns so often it eventually bites its own tail but fails to make sense in the process. So several narrative threads lead to nowhere or are clumsily integrated into the story, plot devices are too far-fetched or too simplified to satisfy, the solution of the mystery is pretty much pulled out of the head, and all the characters remain lifeless throughout. Now add to this a purely functional direction and an at best mediocre ensemble cast, and you're left with ... rather little. Actually a very boring piece of work ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD