One of the most sublimely silly products to emanate from Roger Corman's studio, The Raven
has the very loosest of connections with the Edgar Allen Poe poem
that gives it its title and which Vincent Price intones sepulchrally at the beginning. A retiring magician, Craven (Price) has opted out of the power struggles of peers such as Dr Scarabus (Boris Karloff) to brood on his dead wife and bring up his daughter. The arrival of Bledlo (Peter Lorre), an incompetent drunk whom Scarabus has turned into the raven of the title, involves him in everything he had renounced--life is complicated further by the arrival of Bledlo's son Rexford, played by a staggeringly young Jack Nicholson. The special effects are almost perfunctory, yet the culminating magical duel between Price and Karloff is inventive and charming; this is one of those films that looks as if the actors enjoyed making it; while the script by Richard Matheson has a blithe awareness of its own shortcomings that makes it hard to dislike.
On the DVD: The Raven comes to DVD with very boxy remastered mono sound, but is presented in its original widescreen 2.35:1 ratio, formatted for 16:9 TVs. The only extra is the original theatrical trailer. --Roz Kaveney
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: In this tongue-in-cheek movie inspired by Poe's poem, Dr. Craven is the son of a great sorcerer (now dead) who was once himself quite skilled at that profession, but has since abandoned it. One evening, a cowardly fool of a magician named Bedlo comes to Craven for help- the evil Scarabus has turned him into a raven and he needs someone to change him back. He also tells the reluctant wizard that Craven's long-lost wife Lenore, whom he loved greatly and thought dead, is living with the despised Scarabus. ...The Raven