(1964) *** 1/2
After losing his wife, Verden Fell (portrayed by a young but not quite dashing Vincent Price) lives in a solitary mansion before being discovered and quite taken by the young Lady Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd, in a dual role also as freshly-dead wife Ligeia). Verden's vision has become sensitive since he has spent most of his time indoors after Ligeia's death. Although he has servants he remains quite distanced from everyone in the outside world and still mourns Ligeia despite courting Rowena.
"You keep saying 'I see,' but it seems that your sight is worse than mine."
Verden and Rowena develop an estranged relationship where they hardly eat or sleep together and he disappears at night, only to forget where he'd been the next morning. Mutual friends predict that Ligeia did not actually die, in spirit anyway, and to wrap it all up in one beautiful Edgar Allan Poe giftbox, there is a black cat terrorizing Rowena's every move.
|"I'm not dead -- I think I'll go for a walk."|
This film was one part of a two-part DVD which also includes An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe, wherein Price does justice to one of my all-time favorite authors with dramatic reading and timing. (I started watching but didn't think it fit within the H-Thon guidelines.) I'd recommend both films for anyone who loves mystery-thrillers and/or Poe.
TOL's ending was not surprising if you're used to a typical spouse-in-mourning-tries-to-move-on-but-can't formula; however the fact that it was written by one such an eloquent founder of the genre makes it worth the 3.5 stars, and a denouement that creates more ambiguity still about the main characters' states of being –
“The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins?” – Poe