Thursday, August 12, 2010
THE RAVEN (1935). Director: Lew Landers.
The credits should give a thrill to any classic film enthusiast:
"Karloff and Lugosi in THE RAVEN!"
Unlike such films as Black Friday, The Raven is a highly memorable teaming of the two great horror stars. Lugosi is Dr. Vollin, an Edgar Allan Poe enthusiast, who operates on Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware) at the urging of her father, Judge Thatcher (Samuel S. Hinds). Unfortunately, Vollin falls in love with Irene, and her father tries to discourage Vollin, basically telling him he's too old and unsuitable, enraging the doctor. Vollin enlists Edmond Bateman (Karloff), a disfigured man who's come to him for help, in his scheme to get revenge on the Wares and others. Vollin operates on Bateman and makes him even more hideous, telling him that he won't make him look normal unless he helps him carry out his plan. This plan involves descending rooms, chambers whose walls close together to crush those inside, and of course a pendulum that threatens to cleave the judge in two in a bravura climax. Karloff and Lugosi play well together and the movie is delightfully gruesome fun. With the exception of Hinds, the other actors in the cast don't even seem to be on screen whenever the two stars appear.
Verdict: Not really much to do with Poe, but quite entertaining nonetheless. ***.