Archive for November 17th, 2008


by Allan Fish

(UK 1964 81m) DVD1/2

Nor lie in death forever

p  Roger Corman  d  Roger Corman  w  Robert Towne  novel  Edgar Allan Poe  ph  Arthur Grant  ed  Alfred Cox  m  Kenneth V.Jones  art  Colin Southcott

Vincent Price (Verdon Fell), Elizabeth Shepherd (Lady Rowena/Ligeia), John Westbrook (Christopher Gough), Oliver Johnston (Kenrick), Richard Vernon (Dr Vivian), Derek Francis (Lord Trevanion), Ronald Adam (minister), Frank Thornton (Peperel),

The choice of best Roger Corman Poe film is pretty much a toss up between the final two entries made in Britain and released in 1964, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia.  Though I would probably just edge it in favour of Masque, Ligeia is an unquestioned classic in its own right, and very different from its predecessor.  Masque is undoubtedly aesthetically superior, with its visuals, colour and décor truly out of this world.  Yet the splendour is entirely faked, the entire action being shot in a studio.  Ligeia, on the other hand, was largely shot outdoors, with the central action shot at Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk.  It was a radical change of style for Corman, and it most certainly paid off, his final Poe film one of the very best. 

            In the late 19th century, Verdon Fell, a man with a fascination for ancient history, buries his wife Ligeia on consecrated ground which the local minister says she was not entitled to.  Fell is dubious of the fact that his wife is dead at all, as she always said she would cheat death.  He draws deeper into his loneliness and memories while living at his old abbey home, until one day, on a detour from a fox hunt, Lady Rowena Trevanion, daughter of a nobleman, happens upon the graveyard in which Ligeia is buried and meets Fell, who at first frightens her with his funereal demeanour.  She grows fascinated by him, however, and endeavours to see him at the earliest opportunity.  Eventually Fell marries the headstrong Rowena, but Ligeia’s shadow casts ever darker shadows over them and their home. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 1999 103m) DVD1/2

The weak are always trying to sabotage the strong

p  Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, David Gale, Keith Samples  d  Alexander Payne  w  Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor  novel  Torn Perrotta  ph  James Glennon  ed  Kevin Tent  m  Rolfe Kent  art  Jane Ann Stewart  cos  Wendy Chuck

Matthew Broderick (Jim McAllister), Reese Witherspoon (Tracy Flick), Chris Klein (Paul Metzler), Phil Reeves (Walt Hendricks), Jessica Campbell (Tammy Metzler), Delaney Driscoll (Linda Novotny), Mark Harelik (Dave Novotny),

How did Election ever get mistaken as a teen movie?  Yes, it’s set in high school and there are teens in it, three in particular, but calling Election a teen movie is like calling Larry Clark’s Kids and Ken Park teen movies.  Teen movies are, by their very derivative essence, flim-flam.  Some, like Clueless, can rise above that to be knowing satires, but in general they are disposable affairs.  Election is anything but disposable.  It’s one of the most wickedly accurate studies of American politics in existence. (more…)

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