Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)

83-84 mins | Horror, Mystery | 27 March 1954

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Producer:

Henry Blanke

Cinematographer:

Peverell Marley

Editor:

James Moore

Production Designer:

Bertram Tuttle

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of the film were The Phantom Ape and The Murders in the Rue Morgue . Opening title cards read: " Phantom of the Rue Morgue from Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue.'" Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Fred Rapport, Frank McMahon, Larry Arnold and Johnny Clark. For other films based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story, see the entry for the 1932 Universal production Murders in the Rue Morgue in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . ... More Less

The working titles of the film were The Phantom Ape and The Murders in the Rue Morgue . Opening title cards read: " Phantom of the Rue Morgue from Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue.'" Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Fred Rapport, Frank McMahon, Larry Arnold and Johnny Clark. For other films based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story, see the entry for the 1932 Universal production Murders in the Rue Morgue in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Mar 1954.
---
Daily Variety
25 Feb 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Feb 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 1953
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1953
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1953
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1953
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1953
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1953
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Mar 54
p. 2206.
New York Times
20 Mar 54
p. 10.
Variety
3 Mar 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward by
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe in Graham's Magazine (Apr 1841).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Phantom Ape
Release Date:
27 March 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 March 1954
Production Date:
early September--early November 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 December 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4544
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
WarnerColor
Widescreen/ratio
3-D
Lenses/Prints
prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
83-84
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16714
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Paris, in the 1890s, Police Inspector Bonnard is stymied by a brutal killing on the Rue Morgue. Three months later, Yvonne, a cabaret performer, is killed in a fashion similar to the Rue Morgue murder. Police find a bracelet with tinkling bells on Yvonne's arm, and in her room, photographs of her jealous stage partner Rene and her boyfriend, university student Georges Brevert. One of Bonnard’s men notes that the bracelet’s clasp, once locked, cannot be opened, and is meant as a symbol of eternal love. When neighbors claim they saw the shadow of a man escaping over the roof, Bonnard suspects the athletic Rene, until a spurned and jealous wardrobe mistress inadvertently provides him with an alibi while trying to prove his guilt. Bonnard then turns his attention to Brevert, but Sorbonne psychology professor Paul Dupin and Dupin’s fiancée and laboratory assistant, Jeannette Rovere, provide Brevert with an alibi. Dupin introduces Bonnard to a fellow professor, a guest lecturer from the zoo, Dr. Marais, who trains mice to respond to bells and has theories about the killer instinct in animals. Later, a mysterious assailant enters an apartment through a rooftop window and kills a painter’s model, Arlette, who wears a tinkling bracelet exactly like Yvonne’s. In their search for a strong and agile suspect, Bonnard and his men check out circus performers, but evidence points back to Dupin when they find a cameo in Arlette’s room, which he claims was bought for Jeannette and stolen from his apartment. At the university, Marais lectures about an unresponsive deaf-mute named Marie, who turned hostility inward after suffering her husband’s rejection. Later, Camille, a young woman living in Dupin’s boardinghouse, ... +


In Paris, in the 1890s, Police Inspector Bonnard is stymied by a brutal killing on the Rue Morgue. Three months later, Yvonne, a cabaret performer, is killed in a fashion similar to the Rue Morgue murder. Police find a bracelet with tinkling bells on Yvonne's arm, and in her room, photographs of her jealous stage partner Rene and her boyfriend, university student Georges Brevert. One of Bonnard’s men notes that the bracelet’s clasp, once locked, cannot be opened, and is meant as a symbol of eternal love. When neighbors claim they saw the shadow of a man escaping over the roof, Bonnard suspects the athletic Rene, until a spurned and jealous wardrobe mistress inadvertently provides him with an alibi while trying to prove his guilt. Bonnard then turns his attention to Brevert, but Sorbonne psychology professor Paul Dupin and Dupin’s fiancée and laboratory assistant, Jeannette Rovere, provide Brevert with an alibi. Dupin introduces Bonnard to a fellow professor, a guest lecturer from the zoo, Dr. Marais, who trains mice to respond to bells and has theories about the killer instinct in animals. Later, a mysterious assailant enters an apartment through a rooftop window and kills a painter’s model, Arlette, who wears a tinkling bracelet exactly like Yvonne’s. In their search for a strong and agile suspect, Bonnard and his men check out circus performers, but evidence points back to Dupin when they find a cameo in Arlette’s room, which he claims was bought for Jeannette and stolen from his apartment. At the university, Marais lectures about an unresponsive deaf-mute named Marie, who turned hostility inward after suffering her husband’s rejection. Later, Camille, a young woman living in Dupin’s boardinghouse, is killed, and the police capture Dupin on the roof. Dupin protests that he was chasing the killer, but when the police find other incriminating evidence, Bonnard arrests him and refuses to believe that someone is framing him. As with the other victims, Camille is found wearing a bell charm. Still baffled by the killer’s ability to escape from the victims’ apartments, Bonnard hires a circus acrobat to find a means of escape from Arlette’s room. When the acrobat fails, Dupin suggests to the incredulous Bonnard that the killer is an animal. Later at a waterfront dive, Jacques, a brute who labors for Marais, kills a sailor who teases him about an ape he brought from Malta. Meanwhile, Marais offers Jeannette a job studying the behavior of animals in the zoo and introduces her to a caged ape that responds to her show of affection. After she leaves, Jacques and Marais discuss how the ape accidentally killed the first victim on the Rue Morgue, but has since been trained by Marais to kill at his behest. Jacques taunts Marais by saying that Jeannette will reject him, just like the other women Marais had the ape kill. In his house on the zoo grounds, Marais finds Jeannette studying a portrait of his late wife, who he claims committed suicide. Urging her to forget Dupin, Marais kisses Jeannette, but she cringes. Then, realizing that the portrait shows fear in Mrs. Marais' eyes, Jeannette correctly guesses that bars on the windows of the room were meant to imprison the woman, not keep her safe from zoo animals. At Jeannette’s rejection, Marais becomes resentful, but gives Jeannette a tinkling bracelet, claiming that it is from Dupin. Seeing Marais’ hostility, Jeannette has another insight, that he, like Marie, has developed a neurosis in response to rejection. After locking Jeannette in the bedroom, Marais proceeds to the ape’s cage, but the animal has killed Jacques and escaped. As Marais searches, the ape breaks into a dressmaker’s shop and kills the proprietress. Meanwhile, at the police station, Bonnard wants Dupin to sign a pre-written confession, but Dupin, seeing the victims’ bracelets on his desk, recalls how Marais trained his mice with bells. He suggests that Marais could train an ape in the same way, but Bonnard refuses to consider the theory. Then, a policeman reports the dressmaker’s murder and brings in witnesses who saw the ape and a well-dressed man go down a manhole near the crime scene. Bonnard, Dupin and several policemen race to the zoo and Marais’ home, where Marais has sent the ape to break into the bedroom window and kill Jeannette. Although the bracelet on her arm tinkles, the ape gently carries the fainted Jeannette out of the room, to the roof and into a tree. Seeing the police, Marais releases a lion from its cage, but the police shoot it, grab Marais and set up a safety net. Marais orders the ape to kill, but instead, it drops Jeannette onto the net. When the police then shoot the ape, it kills Marais in the fall to its death. Later, at the station, Bonnard cuts the bracelet off Jeannette’s arm and closes the case. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.