Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Tomb of Ligeia

(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


Catfreeek said...

I have never heard of this film but I love Poe and Price, so I will have to check it out.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Never trust black cats. They're evil!

Never heard of it either but it sounds pretty interesting. You could devote an entire 'thon to Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. Vincent Price also starred in House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven and The Masque of Red Death.

Abduscias said...

Lol..spouse-in-mourning-tries-to-move-on-but-can't formula.

Crystal Math said...

I'll have you know my roommate's black cat was curled up with me this entire movie and had the time of her 9 lives!

I'd love to do a Poe-thon for next year, or at least focus on these old-school masters of mystery-thrillers that I so adore. JSP, you'll have to assist me in compiling a list.

The second side of the disk had a 1-hour dramatic reading by Price of 3 of Poe's classics -- The Pit & Pendulum, The Sphinx, and The Cask of Amontillado (one of my favorites).

Catfreeek said...

I have 2 black cats and my boys are the sweetest cuddle buddies.

Octopunk said...

Ditto on the spouse-in-mourning tag! Good stuff.

I've heard Vincent Price was a stunning hunka man in his time.