Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

UK, 1971
87m
35mm film, colour, 1.85:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Gordon Hessler.

Plot Summary

In turn of the century Paris, Inspector Vidocq investigates a series of brutal murders at a Grand Guignol-type theatre.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Gordon Hessler
© MCMLXXI [1971] American International Productions (Eng.) Ltd.
Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson presents. An American International picture
Executive Producers: James H. Nicholson, Samuel Z. Arkoff
Produced by: Louis M. Heyward
Associate Producer: Clifford Parkes
Screenplay by: Christopher Wicking, Henry Slesar
Based on the Story by: Edgar Allan Poe
Director of Photography: Manuel Berenguer
Film Editor: Max Benedict
Music Composed and Conducted by: Waldo de los Rios
Sound Recordists: Wally Milner, Enrique Molinero
Costume Designer: Tony Pueo
Makeup: Carmen Martín, Francisco Ferrer
Hairdresser: Carmen Sánchez
Special Makeup: Jack Young
Production Designer: José Luis Galicia
Filmed entirely on location in Spain

Cast
Jason Robards (César Charron)
Herbert Lom (René Marot)
Christine Kaufmann (Madeleine Charron)
Adolfo Celi (Inspector Vidocq)
Maria Perschy (Genevre)
Michael Dunn (Pierre Triboulet)
Lilli Palmer (Madeleine’s mother)
Peter Arne (Aubert)
Rosalind Elliot (Gabrielle)
Marshall Jones (Luigi Orsini)
María Martín (Madame Adolphe)
Ruth Plattes, Xan Das Bolas (Orsini’s assistant)
Rafael Hernández, Pamela McInnes, Sally Longley, Luis Rivera, Dean Selmier, Virginia Stach, Werner Umberg (members of repertory company)

Alternative Titles

Asesinatos de la Calle Morgue – Spain
Asesinatos en la calle Morgue – Mexico
Los asesinatos en la Rue Morgue – Venezuela
Assassinats en el carrer Morgue – Spain (Catalan)
O Assassino da Rua da Morgue – Portugal
Os Crimes Hediondos da Rua Morgue – Brazil
Double assassinat dans la Rue Morgue – Canada (French), France
Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue
Ta eglimata tis odou Morgue – Greece
I terrificanti delitti degli assassini della via Morgue – Italy
Mord in der Rue Morgue – West Germany
Morden på Rue Morgue – Sweden
Morg Sokağı – Turkey
Morgue-kadun murhat – Finland
A Morgue utcai gyilkosságok – Hungary
Morugu machi no satsujin – Japan
Zabójstwa przy Rue Morgue – Poland
Τα εγκλήματα της οδού Μοργκ – Greece
Убийства на улица Морг – Bulgaria, Russia

Links

Extracts included in
42nd Street Forever, Volume 2: The Deuce (2006)
Cinemacabre TV Trailers (1993)
Nightmare Theatre’s Late Night Chill-o-Rama Horror Show Vol. 1 (1996)

See also
The Bloody Ape (1997)
A.C. Dupin zasahuje: Vrazda v ulici morgue (1970)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1914)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1986)
Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)

Press

1971
Variety 1 September 1971 p.16
Edgar Allan Poe’s gory “Murders in the Rue Morgue” gets equally gory treatment in American International’s latest excursion into that author’s classics. Unfoldment offers one of the better horror pix, sparked by mystery and elements sufficiently confusing to fit the formula. Film should fare exceptionally well for its intended market. Fantasy frequently marks the Christopher Wicking-Henry Slesar screenplay, and production design by Jose Luis Galicia enriches the action for dramatic effect. Director Gordon Hessler takes ingredients and does a superior job of movement and building suspense […] Cast is firstrate [sic], Christine Kaufmann scoring as the actress-wife who nearly another victim, and Lilli Palmer in a brief appearance enacting her mother. Adolfo Celi is well cast as police inspector and Michael Dunn is in for one of his dwarfish roles. Both Manuel Beranguer photography and Waldo de los Rios’ music score succeed in catching and accenting the mood. Max Benedict’s fast editing, too, is a potent asset. – from a review by Whit

2003
Fangoria no.224 (July 2003) p.66
Banshee is deadly dull for the most part, an uninteresting rehash of witchcraft and werewolf themes… Murders is better, but despite some classy directorial touches and a strong cast […], it’s just another murder mystery in the end, and not a very involving one. – from an illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Cry of the Banshee/Murders in the Rue Morgue) by Matthew Kiernan)

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.38 no.455 (December 1971) p.243
In theory, Murders in the Rue Morgue essays a relatively sophisticated dialectic between life and theatre, with dream meditating, interpreting, and finally suggesting that ‘reality’ is a compound of all three. On this level, the intricacies of the plot work to the film’s advantage, creating a network of cross-reference between events actual, imagined and intuited; past, present and future. In practice, though (and this may largely be due to the rewriting of Christopher Wicking’s original script), the film lets itself down time and again with banalities of staging and characterisation, and a series of ‘instant’ climaxes reminiscent of the feeblest Forties serials. – from a review by Tony Rayns

References

Periodicals

  • Fangoria no.224 (July 2003) p.66 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Cry of the Banshee/Murders in the Rue Morgue by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Filmfacts vol.15 no.3 (1972) p.62
  • The House of Hammer vol.1 no.1 (October 1976) p.4 – note (Stop press: Late news)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.38 no.455 (December 1971) p.243 – credits, synopsis, review (by Tony Rayns)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.214 no.29 (15 January 1971) p.16
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.217 no.37 (30 August 1971) p.3
  • Today’s Cinema no.9955 (13 November 1971) pp.14, 15
  • Variety 1 September 1971 p.16 – credits, review (Film reviews: Murders in the Rue Morgue by Whit)