The Pale Blue Eye: Netflix release date, cast with Christian Bale - is Edgar Allan Poe film a true story?

Netflix original crime mystery film The Pale Blue Eye stars Harry Potter’s Harry Melling as American Gothic author Edgar Allan Poe

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Detective horror filmThe Pale Blue Eye has landed on Netflix this week - the period piece boasts an all-star cast and features a young Edgar Allan Poe.

The Pale Blue Eye stars Christian Bale as weary detective Augustus Landor who is hired to investigate the murder of a cadet at the West Point military academy in New York. The cadets maintain a strict code of silence, refusing to help the detective in his investigations.

Landor enlists the West Point outcast, a young Edgar Allan Poe, to help him unravel the case. Today, Poe is known as one of America’s influential fiction writers, but did he really help to crack a real-life murder mystery?

Christian Bale and Harry Melling in The Pale Blue EyeChristian Bale and Harry Melling in The Pale Blue Eye
Christian Bale and Harry Melling in The Pale Blue Eye

Is The Pale Blue Eye based on a true story?

Although Edgar Allan Poe was a real person who lived at the same time that the story is set - he was a famous 19th century American writer known for macabre short stories and detective fiction - he didn’t help solve a real life murder in 1830. Poe is best known for the gothic novellas The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and the narrative poem The Raven.

Despite the fact that the central part of the film is entirely fictional, aspects of the film are based on Poe’s life. The movie is adapted from Louis Bayard’s 2003 detective mystery novel of the same name, and Bayard was inspired by events from Poe’s life. For instance, Poe was a West Point cadet, spending six months at the academy before being court-martialed for disobedience.

Poe is shown, in the novel and film, to be an outsider at West Point whose ideals as a poet and writer were not aligned with those of the prestigious military academy. Bayard also borrowed aspects from Poe’s literary work for his own novel - the character Augustus Landor, played by Bale in the film, is named after C. Auguste Dupin, a character in one of Poe’s short stories, and Landor’s Cottage, one of his novels.

Harry Melling plays Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue EyeHarry Melling plays Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue Eye
Harry Melling plays Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue Eye

Who is in the cast of The Pale Blue Eye?

  • Christian Bale as Augustus Landor
  • Harry Melling as Cadet Edgar Allan Poe
  • Simon McBurney as Captain Hitchcock
  • Timothy Spall as Superintendent Thayer
  • Toby Jones as Dr. Daniel Marquis
  • Harry Lawtey as Cadet Artemus Marquis
  • Fred Hechinger as Cadet Randolph Ballinger
  • Joey Brooks as Cadet Stoddard
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg as Patsy
  • Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis
  • Robert Duvall as Jean Pepe
  • Gillian Anderson as Mrs. Julia Marquis
  • Steven Maier as Cadet Fry
  • Brennan Keel Cook as Cadet Huntoon
  • Orlagh Cassidy as Mrs. Fry
  • Scott Anderson as Benny
  • Gideon Glick as Cadet Horatio Cochrane
  • Jack Irv as Cadet Hamilton

Is there a trailer for The Pale Blue Eye?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

When is The Pale Blue Eye on Netflix?

The Pale Blue Eye had a limited cinematic release in the UK on 23 December 2022 ahead of its Netflix release. The film landed on Netflix on Friday 6 January 2023.

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