The Raven (1935)

DailyView: Day 110, Movie 183

School has started (well, professional development for staff has started), but it is still technically summer, so I am continuing the DailyView. I have not yet determined exactly how long I will maintain the DailyView. It will determine how busy I get with school.

However, today was a busy day and I am very tired from the work, so I pulled out The Raven, a movie just over one hour in length that fits nicely into my time schedule. The Raven from 1935 was based loosely on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem of the same name. When I say loosely, I mean loosely. It featured two of the iconic horror icons of the time, Bela Legosi and Boris Karloff.

Bela Legosi played a retired surgeon Dr. Richard Vollin who had an obsession with all things Poe. So much so that he built several torture devices in his basement. Vollin is begged to come out of retirement to save the life of the injured Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware). He does so and Vollin falls for the woman.

Setting up a plot, Vollin brings in wanted criminal Edmond Bateman (Boris Karloff). He turned Bateman into a hideous monster and sent him to capture and torture Jean’s fiancé (Lester Matthews).

There is very little in this movie that connects to the poem at all. They mention the poem a few times, Legosi pictures Jean as his “Lenore” but after that, there is nothing else that ties them together. In fact, the main torture device is from the Poe short story, The Pit and the Pendulum.

Bela Legosi is way over-the-top with his performance as the mad doctor. He seemed to be Count Dracula but obsessed with torture and Edgar Allan Poe. So much of what Vollin does make little sense and he truly becomes little more than a mustache-twirling villain. You can see what is going to happen miles off.

This is one of those movies that could be a lot of fun with the Rifftrax guys riffing it. It is corny and silly.

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