Bluebeard (1972) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This movie has very little to do with any of the other Bluebeard movies and legends. It is about a guy who kills a bunch of wives, but it's basically a Dr Phibes movie, except that Dr Phibes is named Bluebeard, and is played by bellowing, scenery-chewing Richard Burton instead of whispering, scenery-chewing Vincent Price. Burton kills his wives one at a time, in different ways, because they somehow offend his moral code. There is some kind of bizarre subtext in that Burton is a pseudo-Nazi Luftwaffe hero who preserves his mother's corpse ala Norman Bates, but none of that is really interesting. 

Come to think of it, the rest of the movie isn't much interesting either. The premise is silly, the execution sillier still. BUT ...

the film has some very strong positives. 

The sets are beautifully designed and photographed

the DVD transfer is gorgeous.

The women are luscious. 

There is a lot of nudity. 


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The director is Edward Dmytryk. Yes, he's the same guy who directed The Caine Mutiny and Raintree County, and was one of the Hollywood greats blacklisted in the 50's witch hunts. Heaven only knows what he's doing with this stinker, but he sure brought a lavish look to it. Each of the rooms of Burton's castle has a different dominant color and a different theme decor. Although the colors are more saturated, and Dmytryk prefers bright primary colors to subtle shades, it reminded me a lot of the color schemes that Kubrick used in Eyes Wide Shut, or that Peter Greenaway used in "The Cook the Thief ....", especially when the door of one room would be open to another room and the basic color scheme would be interrupted by the other room's palette. 

By the way, I think all the wives except Raquel Welch and Virna Lisi (drat the luck on Raquel!!) got naked before they were killed. 

You see, Burton kills women when they try to seduce him, because that defiles the purity of womankind, or some crap like that. One of them manages to stay married to him for two years because they never have sex, but when she demands her conjugal rights, Burton has to dispose of her. In addition to his wives, he also kills Sybil Danning because she is a prostitute who seduces one of his wives. (The wife asks for love-lessons, thinking that it is her fault that Burton won't sleep with her)

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no significant features

Summary: forget about what goes on, or the caliber of the performers. It's high camp all they way, and the movie would be about one star based just on acting, action, and plot. But you should see this movie just for the beauty of the women and the beauty of the sets in which they are photographed. It looks spectacular. 

The Critics Vote

  • Consensus: One and a half stars. Maltin 2/4, Apollo 30/100.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.9, Apollo users 28/100. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. If you would like to see a movie with beautiful naked women photographed beautifully, this is one of the top five of all time.  If you have any other reason to watch a movie, this one stinks to high heaven.

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