The Pale Blue Eye: Did Edgar Allan Poe really help solve crimes?

The Pale Blue Eye. (L to R) Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022
The Pale Blue Eye. (L to R) Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022 /
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Netflix’s first big movie of the year has just dropped in the early hours on Friday, and fans of gothic horror mysteries are going to be interested in checking this one out. The Pale Blue Eye takes place in the year 1830 and stars Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale as Augustus Landor, a detective who’s recruited to a military academy in New York to help solve the murder of a cadet named Leroy Fry.

The film is directed by Scott Cooper (Antlers, Black Mass) and is based on the 2003 book of the same name written by Louis Bayard. Though The Pale Blue Eye is fiction, it does feature a real-life person as one of the supporting characters. That would be famous poet Edgar Allan Poe, who’s played by Harry Potter alum Harry Melling. Other notable cast members include Sex Education‘s Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist), and Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies), among others.

If you’ve started watching The Pale Blue Eye and are curious about Poe’s involvement, namely if he ever helped solve murders in real life, you’re in the right place!

Did Edgar Allan Poe ever solve murders?

In real life, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts and relocated to Richmond, Virginia after his parents passed away. After dropping out of college, he enlisted in the United States Army, and was actually an officer cadet in West Point, New York, just like in The Pale Blue Eye. However, as Luxury London reports, there’s no evidence Poe ever assisted in solving murders or crimes like the depiction we see in the new movie.

Poe was eventually kicked out of the Army, as The Daily Beast explains, arriving in West Point in 1830 and being discharged just a year later. According to the site, reports about his departure include missing class, and possibly drinking too much — though the latter might’ve been just a rumor.

The Pale Blue Eye features really strong performances, and though I’ll admit it’s pretty slow in the first half, it’s worth the watch if you’re looking for a well-made mystery set in the 1800s.

Next. You season 4 and more Netflix thrillers coming in 2023. dark