Bluebeard (1972 film)

Bluebeard is a 1972 film directed by Edward Dmytryk starring Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, Joey Heatherton and Sybil Danning.

Bluebeard
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Produced byAlexander Salkind[1]
Story by
Starring
Music byEnnio Morricone[1]
CinematographyGábor Pogány[1]
Edited byJean Pavel[1]
Production
companies
  • Gloria Film S.r.l.
  • Barnabé Productions S.a.r.l.
  • Geiselgasteig Film GmbH[2]
Distributed byCinerama Releasing Corporation[3]
Release date
  • 15 August 1972 (1972-08-15) (Pantages Theatre, Hollywood)[4]
  • 15 December 1972 (1972-12-15) (West Germany)
Running time
115 minutes[2]
Country
  • Italy
  • France
  • West Germany[2]
LanguageEnglish

The movie's plot is very loosely based on the French folktale of a nobleman whose latest wife grows curious when he tells her she may enter any room in his castle but one.

Plot

Set in Austria in the 1930s, Baron Kurt von Sepper is a World War I veteran fighter pilot with a reputation as a "ladykiller" and a frightening blue-tinged beard. In public the Baron carefully maintains his image as a war hero, a seemingly devout Catholic and a patriotic member of the Fatherland Front, but the Baron has two dark secrets he is keen to hide. All of his previous wives have died in mysterious circumstances, victims of the Baron's impossibly high standards, and he exploited the chaos of the Austrian Civil War to instigate a pogrom against a Jewish community.

Cast

Production

Filmportal.de noted that some sources claim that Luciano Sacripanti also directed the film.[2]

Release

Bluebeard had its world premiere at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on August 15, 1972. It was released in West Germany on December 15, 1972.[2]

Reception

Critical response

Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "There is no longer any novelty in watching the sad disintegration of Richard Burton's acting career."[5] Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote: "I have rarely seen a horror film so coyly aware of its own camp potential. But it is better at being foolishly serious than at being slyly humorous, and its few good moments come before it admits that its spook lightning and its maybe 3,000 pounds of phony cobwebs are essentially a joke."[3] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one star out of four and wrote that the scenes of sadism "are designed to pander to people who enjoy seeing women abused".[6] He put the film on a year-end list he made of the sickest films of 1972.[7] Variety called it "high camp".[8] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times panned the film as "123 minutes of unrelieved boredom and morbidity", adding: "Heavily made up and dyed, and speaking in a post-synched German accent, Burton seems to be sleepwalking."[9] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote: "Bluebeard is so lacking in both style and conviction that it's often more muddled and ineffective than actively offensive." He wrote of Burton that "unless he's contemplating a permanent career in exploitation movies, it would be difficult to sink below this credit ... his final words are, 'This is ridiculous', but he's done nothing to convince us that he's superior to the material, that he's just doing some good-humored slumming and ought to be indulged his bad judgment".[10] Clyde Jeavons of The Monthly Film Bulletin faulted "Dmytryk's indecision over whether to plump for black comedy or straight-faced horror, and it demonstrates his overall failure to find either a style or a formula sturdy enough to carry the film's heavy burden of absurdities and plain bad acting".[11]

References

  1. "Blaubart" (in German and English). Filmportal.de. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  2. Greenspun, Roger (August 19, 1972). "Screen: Richard Burton as Bluebeard—He Plays Slayer of 7 Beautiful Women Baron Relates Story in Series of Flashbacks". The New York Times. 28.
  3. "World Premiere for 'Bluebeard' Slated". Los Angeles Times. August 9, 1972. Part IV, p. 8.
  4. Ebert, Roger (September 13, 1972). "Bluebeard". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  5. Siskel, Gene (September 11, 1972). "Bluebeard". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 16.
  6. Siskel, Gene (January 14, 1973). "The sickest of '72...... to a healthier '73". Chicago Tribune. Section 6, p. 6.
  7. "Film Reviews: Bluebeard". Variety. August 23, 1972. 6.
  8. Thomas, Kevin (August 17, 1972). "'Bluebeard,' Burton, Budapest: Boredom". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 15.
  9. Arnold, Gary (September 22, 1972). "Tales of Horror and Sexploitation". The Washington Post. B15.
  10. Jeavons, Clyde (April 1973). "Bluebeard". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 40 (471): 72.
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