The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)

Article #1066 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-14-2004
Posting Date: 7-13-2004
Directed by Roger Corman
Featuring Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook

A noblewoman falls in love with a strange man who lives in an abandoned abbey and obsesses about his former wife.

I’m currently in the midst of reading the complete works of Poe, but I haven’t gotten to “Ligeia” yet, so I can’t say how close the movie is to the story. I can say that it does contain some elements of the other Corman Poe movies; we have the heightened senses of HOUSE OF USHER (sight rather than hearing this time), a black cat running around, and the basic disturbed nobleman and his wife that pops up quite a bit in the other movies. This one was scripted by Robert Towne, and it’s perhaps the most subtle of the Poe scripts; in fact, some people consider this the best of the Poe adaptations, and I can see why. It’s a beautiful movie, especially in the shots of the abandoned abbey, and Price gives one of his most restrained and very best performances here, and Shepherd also does very well in a dual role. However, the movie has its detractors, and I can see why; Towne’s script may be subtle and literate, but sometimes it’s a little too talky and slow for its own good. Still, this is a classy Poe adaptation, and has some fine work from directer Roger Corman and cinematographer Arthur Grant.

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