Bluebeard (1972)

Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, Virna Lisi, Nathalie Delon,
A World War I pilot whom everybody envies as a "ladykiller" actually is one. After he beds a woman he's after, he murders her.
  • 5.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Ennio De Concini, Maria Pia Fusco, Luciano Sacripanti, Writer:
  • Edward Dmytryk, Director:
  • Alexander Salkind, Producer:

Trailer:

7 / 10

BLUEBEARD (Edward Dmytryk and Luciano Sacripanti, 1972) **1/2

In the past, I’d watched three other versions (four, if one includes Charles Chaplin’s variation MONSIEUR VERDOUX [1947]) about the famous fictional serial killer Landru – the 1944 Edgar G. Ulmer/John Carradine and 1963 Claude Chabrol/Charles Denner BLUEBEARD and the W. Lee Wilder/George Sanders BLUEBEARD’S TEN HONEYMOONS from 1960.

Actually, this one is best approached as “Euro-Cult” (what with its flashes of nudity from a bevy of international beauties) rather than a historical piece – BLUEBEARD, incidentally, was a production of the Salkinds, soon to enjoy critical success with Richard Lester’s “Three Musketeers” films and, eventually, the money would come pouring in with the “Superman” franchise. Besides, the tone is unsurprisingly one of black comedy – with the titular ladies’ man revealed as an impotent who’s forced to kill a succession of spouses so as to keep this embarrassing fact a secret! Incidentally, it also transpires that events as depicted on-screen may well be fabricated since the real reason for the killings only emerges towards the end: “Bluebeard” – a WWI air ace – recounts his romantic misadventures to his latest conquest, a young American showgirl, after she’s cajoled by her husband towards the discovery of a secret passage leading to the vault wherein all the bodies of his former wives lie frozen!

The treatment is somewhat heavy-handed (with obvious predatory symbols, for instance): its connotations to Nazism, too, prove unnecessary – and, consequently, Bluebeard’s demise/come-uppance seems fateful when it should have been slyly ironic. All of which results in an uneven film with a tendency towards camp – though undeniably abetted by the overall handsome look (“Euro-Cult” regular Gabor Pogany is the cinematographer) and a typically imposing score by Ennio Morricone; incidentally, I had used portions of a funereal motif from the soundtrack of this film for my final short during the NYFA course I took in Hollywood a couple of years back! Individual contributions by the star cast, then, are also variable: to begin with, Richard Burton’s thespian skills were often misused during this particular period – lending his services to interesting but often ill-advised ventures (three more of which I watched only recently, namely DOCTOR FAUSTUS [1967], CANDY [1968] and THE ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY [1972]); in this case, he sports a silly colored beard (the script having interpreted the title all-too-literally, but which might actually be an indication that it shouldn’t be taken seriously) and looks alternately bored and exasperated throughout!

The ladies are all easy on the eyes but also surprisingly willing, with Joey Heatherton as the stunning current bride getting the lion’s share of the running-time. The others – in order of appearance – are Karin Schubert (when Burton’s deficiency, excused at first by a period of convalescence ostensibly suffering from a war wound, can no longer be concealed, she threatens to expose him to public ridicule and this triggers off his homicidal ‘urge’!); Virna Lisi (enjoying herself as she drives Burton to distraction with her incessant singing of corny love songs!); Nathalie Delon (a model whose inexperience in love leads her to take lessons from prostitute Sybil Danning, but the two become instant lovers!); Raquel Welch (a nymphomaniac who attempts to stifle the habit by, ahem, donning it i.e. she becomes a nun!); Marilu' Tolo (again, fun as an outspoken feminist – who even kicks Burton where it hurts! – but who also turns out to be a closet masochist); and Agostina Belli (as an outwardly-innocent but actually spoilt child-bride).

Going back to that “Euro Cult” comment, BLUEBEARD may have been influenced by the giallo work of Mario Bava – with its set of glamorous female victims (as in BLOOD AND BLACK LACE [1964]) and the novel methods of assassination (in the wake of A BAY OF BLOOD [1971]). Still, amid its forced Hitchcock references (the embalmed mother from PSYCHO [1960] and the falcon attack a' la THE BIRDS [1963]), it appears that Burton & Co. were consciously emulating the previous year’s success THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971) – a low-budgeted but stylish vehicle for horror icon Vincent Price. Of course, one can’t forget to mention the film’s affinity with the classic Ealing black comedy KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949) in its nonchalant, inevitably comical attitude to murder.

5 / 10

Average film about an infamous character played by Richard Burton as an Austrian aristocrat who kills beauties

Tis is a soporific remake titled ¨Bluebeard¨(1972) by Edward Dmytryck with the great star Richard Burton as a German Baron noted for his blue-toned beard . Big-budgeted as well as mediocre picture upon a known personage who knocks off series of beautiful women . A World War I pilot Kurt Von Sepper (Richard Burton) whom everybody envies as a "ladykiller" actually is one - after he beds the women he's after, he murders them . As he contacts European women , he seduces and eventually kills them in order to carry out his dark purports . His latest wife is an American beauty named Anne (Joey Heatherton) ; later on , Bluebeard explains to Anne that he found an easier alternative to divorce when he grew bored with his former spouses . Among those getting the ending curtain call from "bluebeard" (is a type of serial killer ; specifically, it is a man who murders his wives or lovers , this type is named after the fictional "Bluebeard") are Rachel Welch , Natahalie Delon , Virna Lisi , Karin Schubert and Agostina Belli .

This murder/drama is based on lady killer Henry-Denise Landru who seduced and murdered several women . The flick narrated by means of flashbacks , being realized in luxurious style ; it packs irony , drama , nudism , chills , suspense , kitsch situations and a lot of killings . Average acting by Richard Burton as an aristocrat who has a psychopatic urge to strangle gorgeous women . Exceptional group of European and American actresses , topbilled second after Richard Burton, Raquel Welch only has a little more than 8 minute screening time of this two hour long film . The speaking voices of almost all the European actresses in the film were re-voiced by Annie Ross . Enjoyable musical score by the great Ennio Morricone , including a sensitive and thrilling leitmotiv . Colorful as well as evocative Cinematography by Gabor Pogany . The motion picture was regularly directed by Edward Dmytryck and considered to be one of his worst movies . Filmmaker Edward , better known for overtly personal movies such as The Caine Mutiny was a craftsman whose career resulted to be interrupted by the activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a congressional committee that employed ruthless tactics aimed at rooting out and destroying what it saw as Communist influence in Hollywood . Dmytryk was one of the so-called "Hollywood Ten" who refused to cooperate with HUAC and had their careers disrupted or ruined as a result. The committee threw him in prison for refusing to cooperate, and after having spent several months behind bars , Dmytryk decided to cooperate . Dmytrick's biggest film was ¨The Caine Mutiny¨ , . Edward was an expert on warlike genre as ¨Back to Batan¨ , ¨Battle of Anzio¨ , ¨Young lions¨ and Western as ¨Broken lance¨ , ¨Alvarez Kelly¨ , ¨Warlock¨ among others.

Other films dealing with this known character , Henry ¨Bluebeard¨ Landru , -who was really father of various children, disposed and married 11 wives and killed them in order to feed his little family , being subsequently beheaded- , are the followings : ¨Bluebeard¨ (1901) by George Melies ; ¨Bluebeard¨ (1944) by Edgar G Ulmer with John Carradine , Jean Parker , Nils Asther ; ¨Monsieur Verdoux¨ (1947) with Charles Chaplin and Martha Ryer ; ¨Bluebeard's 10 honeymoon¨ by W.L. Wilder with George Sanders , Patricia Roc and Corinne Calvet ; ¨Bluebeard¨(1963) by Claude Chabrol with Charles Denner , Stephane Audran , Danielle Darrieux , Michele Morgan and Hildegarde Neff ; and ¨¨Bluebeard¨(2009) by Catherine Breillat with Dominique Thomas and Lola Creton .

8 / 10

A Eurosleaze Classic

This movie was basically awesome: consistently statuesque women, exquisite castles, campy acting, ridiculous script, plenty of nudity, six murders, Richard Burton, and a pervasive, Euro-style charm that made even the sleaziest moments really fun and laughable. We ended up getting this as a Sybil Danning/Raquel Welch fan, and were really blown over by the film's consistent campiness and general Eurosleaze greatness. As far as Eurotrash goes, "Bluebeard" is double platinum. This was a really big budget production, and a lot of money went into the art direction. That said, expect great looking costumes and sets, which often rival the women as overall cinematic eye candy. I have to mention the ladies again, because they are stunning. Listen to this cast: Raquel Welch, Sybil Danning, Joey Heatherton, Virna Lisi, Nathalie Delon, Karin Schubert...."Bluebeard" plays out like a virtual "Whos Who" of A-list 1970's bombshells. Anyway, the script is ludicrous and silly, as is Joey Heatherton's performance as the female lead, but Richard Burton does a terrific job holding everything together. Raquel Welch plays one of the murdered wives, (and a nun to boot), and she's in the film for about 10-min. Sybil Danning plays a prostitute, and she has a pretty dank lesbian scene, but her screen time is similarly brief. The film's mystery elements are pretty predictable, but the whole affair is campy and attractive enough for it not to matter much. It is a bit long, and there is a tasteless hunting scene where a range of animals are shot, but I can't discount how fun most of this was. A Eurosleaze classic. ---|--- Reviews by Flak Magnet

7 / 10

A movie to like more for what it could have been than for what it is.

This film has a lot of neat ideas, some beautiful women, and Burton as world-weary Baron with a campy, phony, middle-European accent. The script is clever and the sets are lavish, with Bluebeard's estate evoking E. A. Poe's Prince Prospero's: a different color dominating each separate room.

Only Dmytryk fails as a director. The material frankly begs for someone like a Roger Vadim or even Roger Corman. BLUEBEARD should have been more fun, more intelligent than the Vincent Price movies of the time (such as THEATRE OF BLOOD) or even those of Roger Vadim (such as PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW), and yet it isn't. The script demands macabre humor and erotica, and Dmytryk couldn't deliver either, even in his heyday (and this film was made at the end of his slow, sad artistic decline).

However, I personally enjoy this movie more for what it could have been than what it is. Unlike Chaplin's MONSUIER VERDOUX, and other "Bluebeard" movies directed by various people (from Edgar G. Ulmer to Claude Chabral) this is one film not inspired by the true story of Landru. It much more hearkens back to the original Perrault fairytale, only done in the modern times with Burton's Bluebeard as a proto-Nazi. It's not a bad idea for a film, but someone more hip, with more energy, was needed to pull it off.

5 / 10

Words Fail Me

It's almost impossible to find the words to describe exactly how bad this film is. Or to describe how much fun it was to watch. Bluebeard is the story of a German Baron (Richard Burton) who has a, well, blue beard. When Joey Heatherington finds out that he has killed a series of wives and hidden the bodies she realizes that she is next. In attempt to delay the inevitable she gets the Baron to tell his story. What follows is a primer in how not to pick a girl.

The dialogue is phony, the accents are terrible but the women are all beautiful and (at least partially) disrobed. Maybe not the intent but this movie is a great example of a 1970's campy sex movie.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.