Thursday, April 29, 2010
PREMATURE BURIAL (1962). Director: Roger Corman.
"I never enjoy myself. I just enjoy greater or lesser degrees of tedium." -- Dr. Gault [Alan Napier].
Guy Carrell (Ray Milland) is convinced that his father was buried alive and that he, too, suffers from narcolepsy. He builds an elaborate vault with all manner of safety devices that will enable him to escape from his crypt when he awakens entombed. His wife Emily (Hazel Court) is horrified by Guy's morbidness and unhealthy obsession and convinces him to take drastic action. Then ... This is a very handsome production with some very capable -- if Hollywood style once-removed -- acting. Edgar Allan Poe's short story has been transformed by Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell [Mr. Sardonicus, Incubus] into a grim, suspenseful thriller with twists a la Robert Bloch. On that level it works beautifully. Ronald Stein's rich score takes off on the basic theme of "Molly Malone" and goes from there. Richard Ney is Carrell's doctor-friend, and Alan Napier is his waspy father-in-law.
Verdict: Just misses being really great. ***.