Is Netflix’s Pale Blue Eye Based on a True Story? Here’s what we know

Revenge thriller Pale blue eyes on Netflix based on Louis Bayard’s historical fiction murder novel.


The title of the novel is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s acclaimed short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, where the murdered victim is described as having pale blue eyes. Classic Gothic fiction is an ode to death, with eyes representing the origin of one’s soul. In the novel and film, the character of the military cadet Edgar A. Poe represents the iconic American poet and writer. This character in the film fills the macabre and loves to portray the whimsical themes of death, just like Poe in real life.

Pale blue eye is an ode to a morbid poet, there are elements of truth in this fictional murder mystery, but it is not based on a true story.

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8 The works of Edgar Allan Poe partially inspire Pale Blue Eye

Image from Pale Blue Eye
Via Netflix

The author of the novel “The Pale Blue Eye” seems to be a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. He decided to take a real event from the life of the legendary poet and turn it into a fictional thriller. The poet spent six months at the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. He was soon brought before a military court and expelled for not performing military duties and missing drills. Like the character depicted in the film, Poe tended to spend his time writing poems and paid less attention to becoming a military personnel.

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7 Pale Blue Eye has fictional main characters for the film

Pale Blue Eye on Netflix
Via Netflix

According to Netflix, the fictional detective Augustus Landor was partially adapted from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The name Gus comes from C. Auguste Dupin, the detective from the famous stories “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Stolen Letter”. The surname Landor was inspired by his short story “Landor’s Cabin”. The fictional Augustus Landor accidentally inspires a creepy military cadet to solve grizzly crimes during his brief stay at the military academy.

The film reflected Poe’s real-life personality, his love of waxing lyrical about tales of terror. On the other hand, Landor is portrayed as a man of few words, a contrasting father figure to the young poet. They create an emotional connection over the sense of loss in the film.

6 The Pale Blue Eye is a historical fiction film

In real life, Edgar A. Poe was not inclined to any military activities, but in the novel and film, the opposite is shown to reflect the turmoil in his mind. The movie character based on him is portrayed as a hard-working military cadet who attends all the courses and drills while trying to solve murders near the academy.

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5 The plot of Pale Blue Eye was reimagined

The only record that proves Edgar Allan Poe’s military training at the United States Military Academy at West Point is the record of his court-martial in 1831. At the age of 21, in 1830, Poe enrolled at the military academy, where he remained for a little over a year days, and moved to New York to pursue a career as a writer. For the film and the novel, the rest of the plot is filled with his stay at the academy.

4 The Pale Blue Eye is a fan-fiction story

Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue Eye
Via Netflix

Pale blue eye is a fantasy story by author Louis Bayard that reimagines the young poet as a witness to a gruesome murder during his early life that inspired him to write gothic poems and stories.

In the film, the victims’ hearts are cut out of the dead body; this part reflects the story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, where Edgar Allan Poe described a dismembered heart hidden under the floorboards. This provides a subtle clue in the poet’s mind that points to the mystery of the murder he may have witnessed. Everything else is imagination.

3 Director Scott Cooper confirmed that The Pale Blue Eye is fiction

Director Scott Cooper explained that it was a work of fiction, except that Edgar A. Poe was expelled from the military academy after only seven months. He confirms that during his short engagement, not a single murder took place, and the plot of the film was adapted precisely from the work of the author Bayard. The director has been a fan of Poe since his school days.

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2 Edgar Allan Poe was a great horror writer

According to the film’s screenwriter and director, Scott Cooper, the story of the film Pale blue eye it is inspired by many themes of dark romanticism that deal with the decomposition and reanimation of death. Edgar Allan Poe was extremely gifted in describing these ghostly moments through his works. His questions about death and dealing with grief are striking in the plot of the novel and the film.

1 Pale Blue Eye is a fictional adaptation

Pale Blue Eye on Netflix
Via Netflix

The period is set in the 1830s when the real-life Edgar Allan Poe entered a military academy. Apart from this information, other details of the film and the story of the novel are fictional, because the author Louis Bayard told him that he likes to write fictional stories partially based on reality.

Pale blue eye a masterpiece of fan fiction that presents the works of the iconic poet Edgar A. Poe in a historical fictional manner. The life event depicted in the film is true, but not the story.

Sources: CNET, Netflix, Manchester Evening Times, Popsugar

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