In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for The Pale Blue Eye, we answer questions you have about the movie. If you’re curious about plot explanations, meanings, themes, lessons, motifs, symbols, or just confused by something, ask and we’ll do our best to answer.
- Christian Bale – Augustus Landor
- Harry Melling – Cadet Edgar Allan Poe
- Lucy Boynton – Lea Marquis
- Simon McBurney – Captain Hitchcock
- Timothy Spall – Superintendent Thayer
- Toby Jones – Dr. Daniel Marquis
- Harry Lawtey – Cadet Artemus Marquis
- Fred Hechinger – Cadet Randolph Ballinger
- Joey Brooks – Cadet Stoddard
- Charlotte Gainsbourg – Patsy
- Robert Duvall – Jean-Pepe
- Gillian Anderson – Mrs. Julia Marquis
The Pale Blue Eye | Questions and Answers
Is The Pale Blue Eye based on a true story?
No, it is not. The movie is based on a novel of the same name written by Louis Bayard, which is classified as historical fiction. While Edgar Allan Poe did quit the Army to pursue an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he did not team up with a detective named Augustus Landor to solve murders—this is purely fictitious.
Did Edgar Allan Poe write the “Lenore” poem?
No, it is a fictional poem. It is actually based on a poem from the source novel that is much different—but generally carries a similar grim tone. You can read more about both of those poems (and read them in full) in our Title Explanation section.
Actually, Lenore is the name of a poem that Poe published in 1843. While different in content, Lenore is also death-themed poem—which makes for a perfect parallel with The Pale Blue Eye. That poem concerns his wife and cousin Victoria’s illness with tuberculosis. She would die four years, and her fight with sickness drove Poe to drink heavily. The poem is also about his brother William Henry Leonard’s death.
There is a short story by Poe that mentions the phrase “pale blue eye” called The Tell-Tale Heart. The story is told through an unnamed narrator, who tries to convince the reader of his sanity while describing a murder he committed—which, once again, seems very relevant to this film. The narrator has killed an old man, with whom the narrator seems obsessed. “One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture,” the narrator writes, “a pale blue eye, with a film over it.”
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