Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932 film)  

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Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) is a Universal Pictures pre-Code horror film loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Bela Lugosi, one year after his legendary performance as Dracula, portrays a lunatic scientist who abducts women (one a prostitute played by Arlene Francis) and injects them with fresh blood from his vicious caged ape. The atmospheric cinematography by Karl Freund has been singled out by critics as superb, along with Robert Florey's direction. Thanks to Freund and Florey, the film has the look and feel of German expressionist films of the 1920s. However, some strongly violent scenes apparently prompted Universal executives to cut the film back to 61 minutes from what was originally an 80-minute running time.

This film was provided as a sort of compensatory package for Lugosi and Florey after both were dropped from Frankenstein (1931). Lugosi had been originally cast as Dr. Frankenstein, and the film was to be directed by Florey. Lugosi was subsequently demoted to play the monster, which he claimed to have turned down. Florey was soon fired as director in favor of James Whale.

Box office results were disappointing, and Lugosi's original Universal contract for Dracula was not extended. But today's critics and Universal Horror-fans consider the film to be a classic.

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