Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)

Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)

“There seems to be a killer instinct — frequently blind, pointless — running through the entire animal kingdom.”

A police inspector (Claude Dauphin) investigating a series of mysterious murders on the Rue Morgue suspects and arrests a psychology professor (Steve Forrest), not realizing that a nefarious zookeeper (Karl Malden) who is romantically fixated on Forrest’s fiancee (Patricia Medina) is actually responsible in some way.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations
  • Falsely Accused
  • Horror Films
  • Karl Malden Films
  • Murder Mystery
  • Primates
  • Roy Del Ruth Films

Warner Brothers’ 3D follow-up to House of Wax (1953) was this disappointing adaptation (directed by Roy Del Ruth) of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Forrest and Medina’s characters are pretty nondescript:

… and poor Malden is given a thankless role as a secretly deranged villain:

Most impressive is make-up expert Charles Gemora’s work on the gorilla suit used for a critical primate character in the film; it’s remarkably authentic and effective.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some reasonably atmospheric cinematography and sets

  • Charles Gemora’s gorilla suit

Must See?
No; you can skip this one.


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