Is The Pale Blue Eye based on a true story?

Discovering the true events behind “The Pale Blue Eye” and what really happened at West Point.


Released on Netflix on January 6, The pale blue eye it has already gained a lot of traction and is currently the number one movie on the platform. Directed by Scott Cooper and protagonist Cristiano Bale And Harry Melling, the film follows Detective Augustus Landor (Bale) and a young Edgar Allan Poe (Melling) as they team up to solve a murder at West Point Academy. But it is the events that take place in The pale blue eye rooted in facts? Did Poe really help a detective when he was a young cadet solve a murder? Is this what inspired all the macabre work he would later publish? Unfortunately, most of these events are completely fictional.


‘The Pale Blue Eye’ was adapted from a novel

While it would have been an incredible real-life story of the early life of one of America’s most profound literary figures, The pale blue eye is actually based on a crime novel written by Louis Bayardo. The book originally came out in 2003 and received nominations for several literary awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Awards and the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards. The novel is just fiction, just like the movie.

Christian Bale and Harry Melling in The Pale Blue Eye
Image via Netflix

Poe’s life at West Point

The overall history of The pale blue eye it has a sliver of truth in it. Edgard Allan Poe done attended West Point Academy as a cadet from 1830 to 1831. Attending with funding from his adoptive father, John Allan, Poe performed excellently at the Academy. However, Poe was shocked to learn in a letter from his father that Allan would no longer maintain communication with Poe because he had just become the father of illegitimate twins. Enraged, Poe decided to purposely get himself kicked out of West Point. Poe never attended class again and obtained a lengthy disciplinary record, which led him, as he intended, to a court-martial. Poe left West Point in January 1831 and eventually ended up in New York, where he published his book by him, Poems.

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There is also no evidence of the Lea Marquis character played by Lucia Boyton, to have existed or inspired the recurring “Lenore” in Poe’s work. Lenore is most likely based on Poe’s wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm, or even Poe’s previous girlfriend who married another, Elmira Royster.

Lucy Boynton in The Pale Blue Eye
Image via Netflix

Poe’s success

After his brief stint at West Point was when Poe’s literary career really took off. He began to receive acclaim and success from literary critics and eventually became one of America’s most successful writers. Although he wrote and published poems before West Point, none of them really attracted attention. It was only after he was court-martialed by the academy that his career really took off. There is no record of Poe’s involvement in any homicide investigation while he was at West Point to suggest the events in The pale blue eye they’re real. However, perhaps in addition to Poe’s anger at his adoptive father, something happened at West Point that fueled Poe’s creativity. Whatever the cause, it was at West Point that Poe appears to have gone from being a mediocre poet to a genius.

Although The pale blue eye is almost entirely fictional, it paints Poe in a more sympathetic light. While many may assume that Poe, due to the nature of his work, is brooding or obscure, The pale blue eye offers a different perspective on the poet. By making Poe charming, passionate, funny, and slightly goofy, the film helps Poe become more human and relatable. Poe is not only a poet of the macabre The pale blue eye, but a dreamer, romantic and above all, a loyal friend. While this portrayal is not imbued with reality, as no one can truly know Poe’s personality, the film adds positively to Poe’s legacy and delivers a dark yet entertaining story that is sure to please viewers and inspire them to revisit Poe’s work. Poe.

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