The Pit (1962)

THE PIT (1962)
Article 5298 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-14-2016
Directed by Edward Abraham
Featuring Burt Letts, Dave Lloyd, Brian Peck
Country: UK
What it is: Poe adaptation

A man is sentenced to death by the Inquisition and undergoes horrible torments.

In case you haven’t figured it out from the title and plot description, this is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”. As such, it is one of the only ones that retains the Inquisition setting, and, at a length of only about 27 minutes long, it doesn’t feel compelled to add unnecessary elaborations to the story. It’s also one of the most faithful versions of the story I’ve encountered. There are a couple of differences; one involves the absence of rats in the movie, which, given this was an experimental film that no doubt had certain budgetary constraints, is probably due the logistical problems of adding them to the mix. The other difference is in the ending of the movie, and I think this is due to the fact that one of the goals of the movie was to shoot it with as little dialogue as possible; the only coherent spoken word is “morte”. The ending as written would most likely have required more dialogue; as filmed, no more was needed. It’s moody, evocative and quite effective; still, I feel the change in ending does weaken the story, at least in my eyes.


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