Movie Review: Bluebeard (1944)

Synopsis: A successful Paris painter and puppeteer, Gaston Morel, has a terrible secret. After painting his models, he later strangles them. When he meets Lucille Lutien, he begins to fall in love with the woman and decides to give up both his painting and homicidal ways. However, his past is threatening to catch up with him.

Who's in it? The movie stars John Carradine, Jean Parker, Nils Asther, Teala Loring and Sonia Sorel.

Review: I had heard of this movie but hadn't taken the time to watch it. However, I came across it last night and, since I wanted something to watch before going to bed, decided to give it a try. Overall, it ended up being a good choice.

Even though I'm still a little confused about how Morel (Carradine) earned the nickname Bluebeard (he doesn't even have a beard and it makes him sound more like a pirate than a serial killer), I thought the overall story about an artist with homicidal tendencies intriguing. This is both because I wondered if he'd be able to overcome them or would ultimately want to kill Lucille (Parker) and because I wondered just why he felt the need to strangle everyone he painted. He did, after all, seem like he had his life together otherwise.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the fact it wasn't as predictable as I was expecting it to be. Part of the reason for this was Morel, while deserving to be punished, didn't seem like all that bad of a guy overall and I wasn't sure if this would end with him receiving some sort of redemption. To be fair, I never truly liked the guy but he at least seemed like he was trying to overcome what could be described as a mental illness.

Morel's art agent (Ludwig Stossel) contributed to the movie's lack of predictability. He knew Morel's secret (or at least suspected it) and was greedy enough to cash in on it. I suspected he would ultimately be a big part of the artist's downfall, though I wasn't 100 percent sure exactly how it would play out.

I am going to admit, the movie's ending was a bit more intense than I was expecting, creating just enough suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat, especially when Lucille figured out the truth about him and he became more desperate. Basically, his ultimate fate wasn't much of a surprise but I did wonder just how many bodies he'd leave behind, something that kept me interested until the very end.

Final Opinion: The title still makes this sound more like a pirate movie versus what it really is but it was still an enjoyable film to watch. I recommend taking the time to see it if you get a chance.

My Grade: A


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