Monday, October 19, 2009

The Raven

In the early 1960s, American International pumped out a series of movies loosely based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and staring Vincent Price. While The Raven was one of them, it was quite different - it was done for laughs.

I was watching the movie for the first time in years on the cable channel MyTV. It continues to be entertaining.

This is a movie that would not be made today. It is too obvious that everyone in it was having fun. Even today's comedies take themselves more seriously than the actors in the Raven.

It had an all star cast: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson. Much of the movie is scenes with Price and Lorre and those feature a lot of ad-libbing. In one clever bit, the pair are about to open the coffin of Price's character's lost love, Lenore. Lorre's character finds nothing unusual with keeping a coffin in the house. The pair remove a velvet cover from the coffin and carefully fold it up, then Lorre tosses it over his shoulder.

The highlight of the film is the wizard's battle between Price and Karloff's characters. Unfortunately, MyTV cut the movie for time and cut out the entire battle. A shame since this made the movie a cult classic.

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