Is “the Pale Blue Eye” Based on A Story that Really Happened?


The poet and horror legend Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling) help solve a brutal murder in the new Netflix movie The Pale Blue Eye, starring Christian Bale. But did any of the events in the movie really happen?

In Pale Blue Eye, which is set in West Point in 1830, detective Augustus Landor (Bale) is asked by the U.S. Military Academy to look into the apparent suicide of a cadet whose heart was taken from the morgue. It’s a clear reference to Poe’s famous short story The Tell-Tale Heart, and when Landor asks Poe to help him with his investigation, the links to the writer’s work are brought out even more.

Why the Pale Blue Eye Is Not Based on A True Story?

The main reason why The Pale Blue Eye is not based on a true story is that it is based on a fictional crime novel by Louis Bayard. Bayard’s books often put real historical people in fictional situations. For example, in The Black Tower, Marie Antoinette’s son was at the center of a mystery. As he did with his last movie, Antlers, writer-director Scott Cooper turns Bayard’s book into a movie.

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It’s clear that the movie is based on the fictional story of Poe’s murder investigation and not on real events. This is clear from the fact that some parts of Poe’s life in The Pale Blue Eye don’t match up with his real life.

Lenore, the main character in Edgar Allan Poe’s work, seems to be based on the unfortunate (and made-up) Lea Marquis. In 1831, Poe writes a poem called “A Paean” about the death of a young woman.

In 1843, he changed the poem’s name to “Lenore.” Scott Cooper’s film adds a new layer to Poe’s The Raven, in which the narrator talks about signs from God telling him to forget Lenore. This suggests that Lea’s death stayed on Poe’s mind for years after she died.

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Why some parts of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are based on real events?

West Point was a time of change for Poe, so it makes sense that the Netflix original movie takes place during that time. As shown in the movie, Poe had lost his foster mother Frances Allan a year before. Poe and Landor become close because they both lost loved ones. The detective had already lost his wife and daughter.


These real-life details help set up the relationship between the movie’s two main characters, which builds up to an emotional showdown in Pale Blue Eye’s climax.

Harry Melling’s Poe is a red herring meant to draw attention away from the real killer behind the West Point serial murders. With allusions to The Tell-Tale Heart and Poe’s reputation for writing gothic horror, the audience buys into the story of Satanic worship and the desire to live longer. But the real killer in The Pale Blue Eye is Christian Bale’s fictional character Augustus Landor.

He did it because three of the Academy’s cadets raped and sexually assaulted his daughter, and he used the occult trappings of Poe’s future works to cover his tracks, which in turn inspired Poe to write this fictionalized account of his life.