Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

TOWER OF LONDON (1962)


TOWER OF LONDON (1962). Director: Roger Corman.

The second Tower of London, directed by Vincent Price’s frequent collaborator Roger Corman, is definitely part of Price’s latter-day horror cycle. (The screenplay was co-written by Leo Gordon, who also wrote Attack of the Giant Leeches.) The remake (also in black and white like the original, if wide screen) is not as good as the original film, but it has its moments. The film cuts out much of the first picture’s storyline by beginning with the death of the older King Edward. The murder of Clarence by Richard occurs almost immediately afterward, sans the wine-drinking competition. Richard III (Vincent Price) cuts an outrageous swath through the court, eliminating anyone who gets in his way. Naturally there is more emphasis on the torture scenes, with one poor gal being placed on the rack and stretched until her death – a not bad sadistic fillip. Price looks more like a hunchback than Rathbone did, and manages the incredible feat of creating some sympathy for the monstrous Richard. Surprisingly, he gives a rather good performance as Richard, one that may seem "hammy" due to Price’s natural floridness (and identification with outrageous horror roles) but is actually a fine, serious performance. It’s a shame Price didn’t have a better picture to showcase his thesping. Despite Price’s performance, Tower of London is one of the lesser Corman horror films – the irony is that Price is far better in the movie than in, say, The Pit and the Pendulum, which he also did with Corman. Of course, Richard III is quite a role for any actor!

Verdict: Horrors! -- Price is rather good! **1/2.

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