Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

Article #1725 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-4-2005
Posting Date: 5-3-2006
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Featuring Jason Robards, Herbert Lom, Christine Kaufmann

A masked madman is killing members of a theatre troupe situated in the Rue Morgue.

I believe I once complained about the liberties that the 1932 movie THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE took with the original Poe story. Well, compared to this one, that earlier version was downright faithful. This one jettisons Dupin and the Orangutan altogether, and though it could be argued that the actor in the hairy costume qualifies as the latter role, to me it just looks like they decided to recycle the mask from TROG. For the most part, the movie seems content to recycle THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – scarred masked guy terrorizes members of an acting troupe. There are some other elements. One woman is having dreams about a man falling to his death and of being chased by a man with an axe, but these dream sequencecs are more silly than scary. There’s also a sinister dwarf, and as far as I’m concerned, the presence of Michael Dunn in the role is the best thing about the movie. Herbert Lom (who had already played the Phantom of the Opera in the Hammer version of the movie) is on hand as the masked villain, and it was entertaining to see one-time Bond villain Adolfo Celi as a detective on the case. All in all, I found the movie dull, unfocused and confusing, yet oddly predicatable nonetheless; certainly the revelation about who was responsible for the scarring of the villain was no surprise.

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