Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971 film)

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Murders in the Rue Morgue
Murders in the Rue Morgue 1971.jpg
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Produced by Louis M. Heyward
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (story)
Christopher Wicking
Henry Slesar
Starring Jason Robards
Herbert Lom
Christine Kaufmann
Adolfo Celi
Maria Perschy
Lilli Palmer
Michael Dunn
Music by Waldo de los Ríos
Cinematography Manuel Berenguer
Edited by Max Benedict
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • September 1971 (1971-09)
Running time
87 min / 98 min restored director's cut
Country United States
Language English

Murders in the Rue Morgue is a 1971 American horror film directed by Gordon Hessler, starring Jason Robards and Herbert Lom.[1] It is ostensibly an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name, although it departs from the story in several significant aspects, at times more resembling Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. In an interview on the film's DVD, Hessler said that he thought everyone already knew the ending of the story, so he felt it necessary to reinvent the plot. According to, the film was banned in Finland in 1972.


The story revolves around an early 20th century theatre troupe in Paris specializing in gory, naturalistic horror plays in the fashion of the Grand Guignol. The director, Cesar Charron (Jason Robards), is presenting Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue". Cesar's wife, the actress Madeline (Christine Kaufmann), whose mother (Lilli Palmer) had been murdered by axe, is haunted by nightmares of an ax-wielding man. Then, suddenly, Rene Marot (Herbert Lom), a former lover of Madeline's mother thought long dead after being horribly disfigured on stage, mysteriously returns and begins murdering members and ex-members of the acting troupe, confounding the Paris police, who initially suspect Cesar.


Restored director's cut[edit]

American International Pictures cut the film against Gordon Hessler's wishes, removing 11 minutes of footage and adding color tints to the flash forwards and flashbacks. The ending was also slightly altered. In 2002, a director's cut appeared on American cable television, restoring the missing footage and the film's ending. The MGM DVD release of the film is in the restored director's cut format. A featurette is included with director Hessler describing filming, working with the actors, restoration, etc.


  1. ^ Thompson, Howard. "New York Times: Murders in the Rue Morgue". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 

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