Edgar Allan Poe (1909)

Article 5202 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-10-2016
Directed by D. W. Griffith
Featuring Barry O’Moore, Linda Arvidson, Clara T. Bracy
Country: USA
What it is: Mini-bio

Edgar Allan Poe, desperate to buy food for his ailing wife, is inspired to compose his most famous poem (“The Raven”), but will he be able do sell it?

If it weren’t for the fact that a raven magically appears on a statue near the beginning of the movie, I’m not sure there would be any real fantastic content here, despite the fact that the title character is a famous horror writer and the poem itself would qualify. As it is, it’s historical event as a tear-jerking example of tragic irony. I think it’s efficiently directed, but I do find myself wondering about the audience reaction at the time it was made; to these eyes, both the leads are overacting, using a declamatory acting style that would net horselaughs today. In some movies, this wouldn’t matter, but when you’re trying for pathos, it’s pretty fatal. Reportedly, the original title cards for the movie misspelled Poe’s middle name as “Allen”.


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