The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

(directed by Jean Epstein)
Article #71 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-26-2001
Posting date: 10-9-2001

A man visits the shunned house of Roderick Usher, who obsesses over a painting he is making of his wife.

There were two movies of this title that appeared in 1928; this is the French version directed by Jean Epstein (Luis Bunuel was assistant director), and it’s quite simply one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve seen, and quite reminiscent of Carl Dreyer’s VAMPYR. The plot is secondary; what matters is the wash of unsettling images. It took a second viewing for this movie to have its full effect on me, but I found hypnotic and strangely beautiful, and the recent DVD version has what is essential for any silent film; a masterful soundtrack. It’s definitely worth a look.


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