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Bluebeard Reviews

A film that can marginally be considered horror, BLUEBEARD is one of director Edgar G. Ulmer's best works and contains one of John Carradine's greatest performances. Set in 19th-century Paris, BLUEBEARD stars Carradine as Gaston Morel, the operator of a popular puppet show that stages marionette versions of the Faust legend. Unfortunately, Gaston is himself a victim of sinister urges--which drive him to strangle women with his bare hands. In flashback, we learn that Gaston, who is also an artist, murdered his first victim after he had painted her portrait, then discovered that she was not the idealized woman he had created on canvas. Gaston is now condemned to pick up models for his paintings and then murder them. In this extremely low-budget Producers Releasing Company production, Ulmer again turned monetary liabilities into advantages through his brilliant narrative sense, savvy camera placement, and skillful direction of actors. One inspired solution to the budget problem is Ulmer's effective use of the Faust puppet show. Filmed as if the puppets were actual human actors on stage, with several minutes of running time devoted to the show, the performance becomes a haunting--and inexpensive--metaphor for Gaston's plight. A must-see.