An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1972)

Vincent Price narrates four of Edgar Allan Poe's classic horror tales on a television special. MGM R1 DVD

The Film

"TRUE!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am;
but why will you say that I am mad?
The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them.
Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth.
I heard many things in hell.
How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story."

Edgar Allan Poe - The Tell-Tale Heart

Vincent Price is the narrator and sole player in a recital of four horror tales from the pen of Edgar Allan Poe, from the classic and oft-read The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum, to the more obscure The Sphynx and The Cask of Amontillado, a well thought out selection providing a mix of the author's styles from wit to horror. There is no adaptation in the text that Price reads, the text is word for word lifted from Poe's originals.

The emphasis is therefore on the production and this is simple but effective. Each of the chapters is on a single but well decorated set as appropriate for the story and the editing and camerawork, along with appropriate sound effects and music help to keep things moving. Price is however the main focus of the production and while it would be easy to dismiss Price's performance as "hammy overacting", it is his lively and imaginative readings that really make the tales come alive with the atmosphere and style of Poe's original writing.

A unique little production, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is like getting a chance to see Price perform a one-man stage play and it is certainly a treat for any fans of the actor (incidentally Price have great success at the end of the 1970s in a solo stage play, although this time as Oscar Wilde). Fans of Poe will also find plenty to enjoy in the unmolested recital of the author's work - proof if it were needed that adaptation is often completely unnecessary.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Vincent Price - one of the great 1960s horror stars who also appeared in Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Directed by anyone interesting? Kenneth Johnson - an early project for the American television director who would go on to helm V (1983) as well as episodes of the Incredible Hulk (1978-80) and the television movie Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993)
Any gore or violence ? None
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? Of real interest to fans of Price and Poe

See Also:
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) Price has the leading role in this feature length but quite loose adapation of the Poe story.
Tales of Terror (1962) Price gets to play Fortunato in the The Cask of Amontillado inspired second chapter of Roger Corman's three part Poe anthology.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour.
The print is very grainy with a lack of detail and colour but always watchable.
Audio English mono - sounds fine.
Subtitles English, French and Spanish
Extras None
Region Region 1 (USA, North American) - NTSC
Availability Available only as a double feature with Tomb of Ligeia
Other regions? None known
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print is English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 1st March 2010.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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