Tuesday, February 28, 2012

162 - The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1960)

DVD Box
A man comes to claim his bride but her brother won't give her up so easily.

When Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) comes to seek his betrothed -Madeline Usher (Myrna Fahey) - the butler of the house - Bristol (Harry Ellerbe) - warns him against trying to come in. Philip insists to be announced where upon he meets Madeline's brother Roderick (Vincent Price).

Roderick warns Philip that both Madeline and the Usher house are cursed but in his insistence to take his love away with him Philip uncovers a deadly family secret.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The Fall of the House of Usher is a typical Edgar Allen Poe story. A relatively usual situation is dealt with in a completely over-exaggerated way, leading to horrific consequences for all involved.

To bring this lesser known story to the big screen director Roger Corman needed just four actors and, while Damon, Fahey and Ellerbe all play their parts well, the main accolade should go to Vincent Price. Despite the character's protesting otherwise his portrayal of the sinister Roderick Usher is one of the major sources of evil tension throughout the house.

Of course, with all the money saved on actors Corman was able to invest in a lavish set and thus we see a great deal of scenery... from a single house. Creepy paintings are hung to eke every ounce of evil from the walls and the characterisation of the house is such that one feels that Corman knew that really he was working with a fifth actor.

In my opinion, there are far better Edgar Allen Poe stories (The Pendulum, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death), but Corman does well to bring it to life and for this he should be commended.

No comments:

Post a Comment