The Pale Blue Eye

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The Pale Blue Eye
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IMDb: 6.6
The movie is set in the year 1830  in the Hudson Valley region of New   York. The protagonist is a retired  detective; Augustus Landor. He lives   alone in his house and does nothing but  drink. This is because his wife passed   away due to an illness some years ago and his  daughter has disappeared since some months. One morning, as he is chilling by the river, a  military officer; Captain Hitchcock approaches   him and mentions that his senior wants to meet  him. Landor, who doesn’t like leaving his house,   refuses to go, but when Hitchcock stresses  that the matter is urgent, he agrees. Along the way, they talk about  Landor’s past achievements. It   turns out that he is one of the  best detectives in the country,   with a 100% success rate. He has always  solved the mystery he has been assigned to. Soon, they arrive at a military academy, and head  straight into superintendent Thayer’s office. The   latter knows Landor so well that he is aware of  his wife’s death and daughter’s disappearance.   After expressing his condolences, he gets  straight to the point and reveals that one   of their military soldiers; Cadet Leroy Fry, was  found dead. Everyone suspects that he committed   the unthinkable, but a few things suggest  otherwise. Someone approached Fry after his death,   cut open his body with precision, and took  his heart away. After explaining all this,   Thayer requests Landor to find the  culprit and bring him to light. The detective agrees and immediately gets to  work. He, along with Hitchcock visit the morgue   and meet with Doctor Daniel, the same doctor  who conducted Fry’s autopsy. Daniel mentions   that he has already checked the corpse thoroughly  but couldn’t find anything suspicious. However,   when Landor performs a basic checkup, he finds  a bruise behind Fry’s head and a torn piece of   paper in his hand. This makes him conclude that  Fry didn’t commit the unthinkable, but someone   killed him on purpose. Landor tries his best to  decipher the meaning in the torn piece of paper   but to no avail. Only a few words are written, and  guessing the exact sentence is near to impossible.   Before he leaves the academy, Hitchcock warns  him to keep the ongoing investigation a secret. Later, Landor visits the place where Fry’s body  was found and starts investigating. Right then,   a Cadet named Edgar Ellen Poe approaches him  and says that he believes Fry was killed by   a poet. This is because he himself is a poet,  who is aware of the art of extracting someone’s   heart out of their body. Landor obviously does  not believe in this, so Edgar gives him another   clue. He says that a few days before Fry was  killed, he had a fight with his roommates. In the next scene, Landor heads to the academy  and interrogates a few cadets with the permission   of Hitchock. However, none of them state  anything that can help with the case. Ater   the interrogation ends, an officer arrives there  with a note for Hitchcock. The latter reads it and   gets taken aback. It turns out that a cow and a  sheep have been killed in similar fashion. Their   hearts have been taken out after strandlig them  to death. It is evident that the killer is warning   them to stop the investigation. However, this only  makes Landor more focused on finding the killer. So, he heads straight to Edgar and asks  his help to decipher the message written   on the piece of paper he found in Fry’s  hand. Although Edgar is only a trainee,   who is not allowed to interact  with outsiders, he agrees to help. And surprisingly, the same evening, he comes  up with an answer. He visits Landor at his   house and explains that although he cannot say  what the entire note said, the last paragraph   mentioned ‘Don’t be late’. This means that  the killer had invited Fry to a location. After a bit of discussion, the two  come to the conclusion that the note   was written by a woman. This is because  a cadet like Fry would have no purpose   meeting a man outside late at night. Just  then, Edgar remembers seeing a beautiful   woman outside the military base on  the day the murder was committed. The following day, Landor sends a note to Edgar,  asking him to meet him at an ice house near Lake   Courage. Without wasting any time, Edgar arrives  there and finds Landor inspecting an old abandoned   house. Inside, he notices a circle and a triangle  drawn on the floor and assumes that someone   conducted a ritual there. He also mentions that  the performers placed Fry’s heart in between the   shapes and performed black magic. As the house  belongs to the doctor; Daniel’s son Artemus,   Landor now suspects that Artemus did all this.  However, to learn more about black magic,   he takes Edgar to meet one of his special  friends;John, who is an expert in such topics. They provide him with diagrams of the strange  shapes, and John immediately deduces that it is   a special kind of black magic ritual, performed to  be immortal. He also mentions that to conduct it,   one needs a heart of an unbaptized child and one  of a man who died from hanging. Hearing all this,   Landor asks Edgar to befriend Artemus and try  to extract more information from him. The cadet   agrees and starts meeting Artemus on a regular  basis. Surprisingly, they become good friends. One night, Edgar gathers with Artemus  and his friends for some drinks. From   their conversation, he learns that Fry was in  a relationship with Artemus’ beautiful sister;   Lea. Many believe that he committed  the unthinkable after she ditched him. Elsewhere, Landor gets a vision of his  lost daughter and starts panicking. It is   clear that he still hasn’t got over that tragedy. The next morning, the murdered cadet’s funeral is  finally conducted. As Landor pays his respects,   he is approached by Fry’s mother; who hands  him Fry’s diary. She wants him to have it,   so that he can find the real culprit. She  also mentions that everything in the diary   is written in a cryptographic language and  she does not understand any of it. Later,   while returning home, Landor  runs into Daniel and his wife,   Wiley, and tells them that he will not stop  until he finds the killer and punishes him.   When Wiley asks him about his wife, Landor  replies to her that she died two years ago. Elsewhere, Edgar goes to Artemus’ house to  find more about him. But he is immediately   distracted when he hears Lea playing  the piano. Since she also loves poetry,   the two get to talking and become  attracted to one another. Before he leaves,   Edgar invites Lea to meet him outside  the following day, to which she agrees. In the next scene, the two meet at a cemetery  and begin expressing their feelings. Edgar   states that he is greatly attracted by her  beauty and her charm. When it's Lea’s turn,   she unexpectedly suffers from a seizure  and falls to the ground. Luckily,   she soon recovers and Edger accompanies  her back home. Meanwhile, Landor tears   out the papers from Fry’s personal diary and  successfully extracts some information from it. At night, as Edgar is working alone,  a fellow Cadet and Artemus’ friend,   Ballinger, attacks him from behind  and beats him up badly. Fortunately,   Landor arrives there in the nick of time  and saves Edgar before he is killed. The next day, Landor gets to know  that Ballinger is missing, and later,   finds his body hanging in the woods, with  his heart removed. However, this time,   Daniel takes a closer look at Ballinger’s body  and reveals that the person who removed his heart   is different from the one in Fry’s case.  The cutting is not as precise and accurate   this time. Hearing this, the high ranking  officials get angry, and they ask Landor   to solve the case as soon as possible. For  starters, they want him to interrogate Edgar,   as he is the most mysterious and cunning person  at the camp. When Landor refuses to comply,   Hitchcock reveals that Edgar recently fought  with both the murder victims; Fry and Ballinger. This surprises Landor as his poet buddy had never  mentioned about it. So, he meets Edgar outside and   asks if he’s hiding something.The latter confirms  to have fought with them, because they constantly   bullied him for his appearance and habits.  However, he didn’t kill them. Edgar explains that   if he were to kill everyone he has a problem with,  there would be less than a dozen Cadets left.   Seeing his innocent face, Landor is convinced  so he walks away without asking anything more. One night, the two are invited  to Daniel’s place for dinner,   which they accept. While they are eating,  Landor finds Wiley very anxious and scared,   as if she is hiding something. After dinner,  he talks to Daniel privately and inquires if   something is wrong with his daughter. The doctor  reveals that Lea is suffering from a rare disorder   that gives her frequent seizures. The sad thing  is that there is no cure for it. Right then,   Hitchcock arrives there and informs  them that another cadet, Stoddard,   is missing. This alarms Landor so he immediately  goes to check the cadet’s personal room. They do not find anything there, so Landor  suspects that Stoddard got involved in some   shady business alongside Fry and Ballinger,  that’s why they are being hunted. But since   the body hasn’t been found, it is  possible that he has simply run away. Following this, Landor goes to his wizard friend;  John and asks him about the witch hunter that he   mentioned before. John brings out a picture of  it, explaining that he is the one who wrote the   book containing the procedures to become immortal.  As soon as Landor sees the picture, he remembers   seeing it at Daniel’s house and immediately  heads toward there. Meanwhile, Lea and Artemus   have captured Edgar and are about to perform  the same ritual as they did with Fry’s heart. Shortly after, Landor arrives at  Daniel’s house and confronts him   about the witch hunter and his daughter’s  illness. Having been caught red handed,   the doctor accepts his mistake and reveals  that after he failed to treat his daughter,   he was forced to follow the path of witch-hunting  to keep Lea alive. However, he mentions that his   wife, daughter, and his son are mainly involved in  the process. Even now, they are about to sacrifice   Edgar for the cause. Hearing this, Landor gets  terrified and rushes towards the abandoned house. Fortunately, he reaches there in the nick of  time, right before Lea and Artemus can cut through   Edgar. While Landor is relieved, Lea becomes  enraged and starts spilling oil everywhere,   igniting a large fire. Artemus uses this  opportunity to fight Landor so that his   sister can continue the ritual. But sadly, while  she is at it, a large wooden pole falls on her,   knocking her unconscious. Artemus rushes to save  her, but both of them get trapped inside the fire.   Before the entire cottage collapses, Landor  grabs Wiley and Edgar and leaves the place. The following day, with Edgar in the hospital,   the superintendent officer praises Landor for  his service, believing that the case has finally   been solved. Hitchcock also thanks Landor and  apologizes for misbehaving with him at times. After a few weeks have passed, Edgar completely  recovers and visits Landor at his house.   Surprisingly, he has found out something shocking.  He mentions that after examining the handwriting   on the note fragment in Fry's possession and  on the note that he received from Landor,   he found that they were identical. By connecting  all the dots in the evidence he has obtained,   it is clear that Landor was responsible for the  cadets' deaths. Edgar then presents his findings   and tells Landor that from a lady at the tavern,  he got to know about his daughter, Mathilde. This is when Landor accepts his crimes and  finally reveals everything. It turns out that,   two years prior, after attending her first ball  dance party, Mathilde was returning home alone   when she was violated by Fry, Ballinger,  and Stoddard. Although she survived,   the incident traumatized her so badly that she  committed the unthinkable from a cliff. Landor   witnessed the whole incident and tried his best to  stop her, but to no avail. As the days passed by,   Landor hid this information from everyone  and lied that she had fled. But because   Mathilde suffered and died right in front  of his eyes, he wanted to take revenge. So, he approached Fry, lured him with a message,  and took him to a deserted area. There, he   brutally finished him off and made the scene look  as if the victim had committed the unthinkable.   After he left, Lea and Artemus extracted Fry’s  heart for their ritual. When Edgar asks him how   he found out about Ballinger, Landor replies  that he got to know from Fry’s personal diary. So, at an opportune moment, he murdered  Ballinger and dismembered his body to   give the impression that the cadet had been  killed by the same killer who had disfigured   Fry's body. This is the reason why Doctor  Daniel found both incisions to be different. Finally, Landor believes that Stoddard  has run away due to the fear of being   killed. He might have escaped  but will have to live out the   rest of his life in fear. Landor took  part in the investigation because he   didn’t want anyone to suspect him. He also  wanted to know who extracted Fry’s heart. In the final scene, Landor tells Edgar that he  can go and tell the authorities that he is the   real killer. However, the poet refuses, saying  what he did was understandable. Criminals like   Fry and Ballinger deserve nothing less than what  they got. Saying this, Edgar burns down the notes   and hence erases the evidence that could have  got the detective arrested. Edgar then leaves,   but not before telling Landor that he  really treasures the moments they spent   together. The movie ends with Landor walking  to the edge of the same cliff from where his   daughter committed the unthinkable. He lets her  hair ribbon float away saying ‘Rest my love’.
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