Friday, October 2, 2015


"Uncle" Carl Laemmle had a penchant for speaking directly to theater-goers through Universal Pictures' printed advertising. When a movie title was preceded by the phrase, "Carl Laemmle Presents", he wasn't kidding.

In this case, he was puffing Robert Florey's MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, starring Bela Lugosi and Sidney Fox in the March 1932 issue of PICTURE PLAY. After being dragged, kicking and screaming into producing horror films by his son, "Junior" Laemmle, it was obvious he saw the profit potential in them -- especially after the box office successes of DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN -- when he stated in this ad, "The majority of the people love grim and mysterious pictures". Notice the term, "horror film", that is used commonly today is absent from the description.

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE is widely acknowledged as Laemmle's consolation prize to Robert Florey after he was pulled from the director's chair of FRANKENSTEIN. Lugosi, whose actor's pride would not allow him to be made up into a shambling, green-faced laboratory experiment was thrown a bone as Florey's lead. Despite Lugosi's sometimes overly-acted, melodramatic moments, RUE MORGUE still is a potent, pre-code brew of obsession, blood-lust, heretical science and sexual perversion.

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