L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 05/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Bluebeard" is suspense packed thriller. If you love the old Black and White films of the horror genre, this one is for you. It was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and stars John Carradine who is at the top of his form in this one.The legend of Bluebeard is a frightening one. It is 19th century Paris, and young women are being murdered by Gaston(Carradine), a serial killer. On the surface, he is a quiet artist and puppeteer, but deep down he is psychotic and homicidal(naturally he claims a woman made him this way... HA!). All the models he paints, seem to disappear. But now he has fallen for the very beautiful Lucille, can he control his thoughts when it comes to her,will she be his next victim, or will Lady Jusitce prevail? It's a nail biter!The DVD I have looks to be the same one here. The image is the one of John Carradine in a red jacket strangling his victim, with a shadowy charcater in the background. The title is in bold blue letters(I mention this because there are a few different editions). The only difference is that in the tech info here the studio of release for this edition is Gotham Distribution but on my copy it says Alpha Video (both released in 2002). The transfer is not the best I've ever seen for a film made in the 40's, but it's not too bad. The film shows it's age, but there was nothing distracting to take away from the enjoyment of the film. The sound was decent, although a bit muffled at times. But I would say, for the price, you get a good old scarey movie to enjoy on a rainy afternoon. Oh and don't be fooled by the cover art..this IS a good ole black and white film. Short but good! So get the popcorn ready..and...enjoy..Laurie"
A DIRECTOR TO REDISCOVER
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 05/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly, just a word or two about the images and sound quality of this DVD. If I except the Madacy productions which everyone knows to be awfully bad, I haven't seen until now a so terrible DVD transfer. Considering the fact that most of the action of BLUEBEARD is filmed at night in a foggy Paris, the defaults of the transfer are patent. Shameful. As bonus features, you will find a gallery of photos and posters and a very interesting featurette presenting, among other goodies, an interview of director Edgar G. Ulmer's widow.BLUEBEARD is the first Edgar G. Ulmer's movie I have the opportunity to see and I cannot wait now to see the other two DVD available here at amazon. It's so obvious that Ulmer was a movie genius and that solely the lack of money has prevented him to direct masterpieces. The artistic quality of BLUEBEARD is far ahead of the quality of, let's say, a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie. There are minutes of pure cinema in BLUEBEARD that reminded me at times of the dreamy atmosphere of Charles Laughton's NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. John Carradine, in the role of a schizophrenic puppeteer, is perfect with his voice so sweetly innocent. At last, a special word regarding the quality of the musical score ; Edgar G. Ulmer's BLUEBEARD lasts 73 minutes and so does the musical score that is literally a character of the movie.A DVD for your library if you are a movie lover."
Great movie but terrible print
vincent martin | Boulogne France | 08/25/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bluebeard is definitely a film to rediscover. It might not be Ulmer's best but there's enough here to please any serious movie lover. John Carradine gives the performance of his life and although it's obvious that budget is non existent, Ulmer solves the problem with beautiful expressionist sequences, very Caligaresque. Real problem is the print that is often pretty terrible, bringing serious frustration. Have Scarlet Street from the same editor and print is terrible as well."
John Carradine: Puppeteer, Painter, Master Of Mayhem
Robert I. Hedges | 07/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I did not know what to expect when I ordered this movie. All I knew was that it starred John Carradine and was made in 1944. It turns out that it is not a pirate movie; it is about Carradine as a tormented artist. Carradine, playing a nineteenth century French artist in Paris is the notorious 'Bluebeard' who kills models and dumps them into the Seine. Although I generally associate Carradine with grade Z horror movies from the sixties, he was at one time a very fine actor capable of a wide range of roles and emotions. Here he is excellent as the tormented painter and puppeteer who is haunted by an early encounter with a woman he helped, but ended up destroying him emotionally. Many of Carradine's talents are put to good use here, including the use of his singing voice. (Actually that wasn't a talent to write home about. The next time I can think of John singing is in the disastrous Coleman Francis cold war fiasco "Red Zone Cuba".)Carradine is backed up by a talented cast including Jean Parker who plays the object of his desire, and who ultimately helps unravel his doings via a cravat she mended for him after he kills her sister. Also in fine form is Ludwig Stossel, who plays a nervous art dealer who seeks money from an unholy alliance with Bluebeard. Silent screen star Nils Asther plays a police detective very coolly, though when he speaks with his French accent he sometimes seems to be channeling Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.The film is well done, with excellent acting all around, although there are a few problems. The print is very dark and sometimes the outdoor action (generally at night) is hard to follow as the characters blend into the shadows more than was even intended. The music is public domain, and frequently does not fit the action onscreen, and the outdoor sets look like they were representations made for live theater on stage. Carradine makes this picture what it is: he is excellent in the role of Bluebeard, and despite the occasionally exaggerated bug-eyed facial expressions (and the singing) this stands as one of the best performances in his very long career."
An artist...his cravat...and a tender throat. One out of thr
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 12/31/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It must have been frustrating to have the mastery of a craftsman and the instincts of an artist, but without the means, and most likely the talent, to put the two together. Instead, Edgar Ulmer became an ambitious director of low budget movies. Most are forgotten, but upon a few rests his reputation for style on the cheap. Watching them requires as much tolerance for schlock as appreciation for what a talented man can do with limited means. Which brings us to The Black Cat, Strange Illusion, Detour, The Strange Woman and...Bluebeard.
Gaston Morrell (John Carradine) is a painter and puppet master in turn-of-the-century Paris. Morrell's paintings never reach the level of excellence he aims for...so he strangles the model, pitches the body in the Seine, and looks for someone else to pose for him. He often finds them when they come to enjoy Morrell's puppet shows. Right after a fresh body is found floating by the police, Morrell accidentally meets Lucille (Jean Parker), a milliner who, with two friends, are on their way home late one evening from work. All Paris, especially young women, are on edge with this killer on the loose. Before long Morrell is presenting his puppets in Gounod's Faust before a crowd in the park...and Lucille is there with her friends. Soon after, Lucille has agreed to make new costumes for Morrell's puppets and Morrell is becoming attentive to her. But wait. Inspector Lefevre (Nils Asther) has discovered a painting by an artist no one seems to know and the woman in the painting looks exactly like the fourth victim of the murderer the people of Paris now call Bluebeard.
The movie looks just fine with all those classy costumes, dark Parisian streets and, especially, the puppet show of Faust with which Ulmer starts things off. There's Marguerite, Faust and Mephistopheles on strings, with a premonition of what may come. It's an unusual and effective way to get us into the movie. Ulmer had to fight to keep it. The movie becomes too involved with the search for models and collectors; a lot of this is played for laughs or badinage. It is, after all, hard to picture Iris Adrian as French. Things also sag when Inspector Lefevre sets a trap for Morrell. But Ludwig Stossel brings us back to the issue of unstable artists who tie their cravats around other people's throats. Stossel plays Jean Lamarte, Morrell's unscrupulous art dealer who knows what's going on and doesn't mind as long as Morrell's paintings sell well and anonymously. Stossel was a great character actor. Here he is not playing a nice man.
But what quality the movie has, and it has glimmers, comes from Carradine as Gaston Morrell. Carradine gives a sad, shrewd performance as a driven man, compelled to paint, compelled to frustration, compelled to kill. Carradine chews not a single piece of scenery and never wrings his hands over his compulsion. Morrell's monologue an hour into the movie, trying to explain himself to Lucille, is a skilled, sympathetic piece of work. Gaston Morrell is a smart, sensitive, talented man who cannot help himself. Carradine doesn't just allow us to feel sad for Morrell, but to respect him in an uneasy way. It's a fine performance.
Carradine appeared in miles of celluloid trash in order to pay the bills -- four wives, five sons -- and finance during the Forties his own theater touring company. When he had a film role that called for it, Carradine could be excellent. Just watch him as Hatfield in Stagecoach, Jessie Wick in Swamp Water ( The Man Who Came Back ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Netherlands ], Caleb Green in Son of Fury, Professor Madley in Fallen Angel (Fox Film Noir), Casy in The Grapes of Wrath...or his performance here as Gaston Morrell. John Carradine, I think, was a man to admire.
Be wary. The movie is in the public domain. The DVD transfer is not very good."