Stiff presentation of the Poe story but Bela is effective as a crazy scientist. Look for future “What’s My Line?” panelist Arlene Francis as a hooker or as the credits say Woman of the Streets. Future TV star Leon Ames plays Pierre Dupin. In the credits he’s listed as Leon Waycoff. Ames played Gordon Kirkwood on “Mister Ed” (1963-65).
Paris 1845. The carnival is in town and a group of medical students check it out. They include Pierre Dupin and his girlfriend Camille (Sidney Fox). They go to see Erik The Ape Man. The exhibit is run by the strange Dr.Mirakle (Bela Lugosi). He says he can prove evolution by mixing the blood of ape and man.
Erik digs Camille and she hands him her bonnet. Of course he ruins it. Mirakle asks her where she lives so he can replace it. Pierre says forget it. Mirakle has his servant Janos (Noble Johnson) follow her home.
Later that night Mirakle sees two men fighting over a hooker. They end up killing each other and he takes her back to his lab where he chains her to a beam. He draws blood from her and then freaks because he says it’s rotten. She dies and Janos chops off the ropes holding her and her body falls through a trap door into the river. She’s the third victim that week.
Pierre bribes the morgue attendant into giving him some of the woman’s blood and he finds a foreign substance in it and that’s what killed all three. Camille gets a bonnet and a note from Mirakle. It asks her to meet him at the carnival that night. Pierre smells a rat and tells her not to go. He’ll go instead.
Mirakle isn’t happy to see him. Neither is Erik. Mirakle tells him the carnival is leaving for Munich. When Pierre leaves he overhears workmen saying to leave Mirakle’s stuff alone because he’s staying in Paris. Later that night Mirakle shows up at Camille’s.
She says her mother just went to sleep and slams the door in his face. He decides to send Erik in to get her.He does. Now…where’s Mom? Oh. That’s an interesting place.
I wonder if the character’s name Mirakle is a riff on miracle. Erik is no King Kong and Camille is no Fay Wray.Maybe there’s was some slight influence since “King Kong” came out the next year. That’s a stretch but…maybe.