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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class from Arrow, 14 May 2014
By 
M. Crossman (London) - See all my reviews
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Due to ordering direct from Arrow I have received this several days early.
It's another class package from Arrow who really do treat their releases with love and affection.
The transfer itself is superb. There is some grain, which I am pleased to see, and some very minor scratches to the print. However, this is the best I have ever seen the film and that includes several viewings on television, VHS and DVD.
The extras are a joy to behold. The best of them all is 'An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe'. This is where Vincent Price reads a selection of Poe stories before a live studio audience. I have seen this previously on the MGM Midnite Movies label (Region 1 DVD) where it was paired with Tomb of Ligeia. Suffice to say I am delighted it has been included on this disc. I would have happily paid for this on it's own. We are also treated to two audio commentaries. The first by Roger Corman himself and the second by Video Watchdog editor and owner Tim Lucas. Both are informative and interesting. There is a documentary called 'Behind The Swinging Blade' plus an extra scene which was inserted into the TV version to pad out the running time. The original trailer is also included and all this is rounded off with a delightful booklet.
The film itself is worth buying this blu ray for but the extras really are the star of the show in my opinion.
The only question is; Do you go for the standard release with the double sleeve or the beautiful steel book?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars isn't related to poe's story but still great., 16 Aug. 2006
By 
Mr. A. E. Ward Davies (Canterbury , England) - See all my reviews
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like most of roger corman's films based on edgar allan poe, there isn't much taken and used from poe's original stories.

however, that doesn't make a lot of difference as corman's work with vincent price is some of the best i've seen in horror films.

this, their second film together, is a specially written screenplay that only includes a reference to poe at the end with the swinging pendulum. a marvellous and imaginative scene.

the plot is a conspiracy to drive vincent price insane by convincing him that his wife isn't quite so dead after all. over the course of the film, you will witness price give one of his definitive performances. as the supporting cast don't add up to much, it is left to vincent price to carry the film acting wise and he does so effortlessly.

the film certainly has a low budget look to it, but that is partly due to the popularity of these films just like the hammer films.

the film sets used are very good and quite spooky.

this is my second favourite corman-price film after "the raven."
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price hams it up perfectly, 16 Oct. 2004
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This 43 years old classic makes a welcome addition the the DVD catalogue of classic movies. A typical Roger Corman low budget flick which succeeds admirably. The story which has little to do with the original Poe classic which was more surreal than anything, concerns an Englishman Francis Bernard(woodenly played by John Kerr) who is investigating the death of his sister Elizabeth (Barbara Steel). He finds a lot more than he bargains for in the gloomy castle of Dom Nicholas Medina (played by the wonderful Vincent Price who hams it up superbly) the tormented son of Sebastian Medina once leader of the Spanish Inquisition. I dont really want to say too much about this film really because it is worth seeing. The sets are wonderful; particularly the torture chamber. And the final scenes are very good indeed. As for the picture quality, it is quite good showing much detail in the dark scenes. Sound is only adequate though which is understandable bearing in mind the film's age. Worth adding to anyones collection.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price goes over the top with his toy in the crypt, 28 Aug. 2004
By 
Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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After the success of "House of Usher," American International asked director Roger Corman to "adapt" another Edgar Allen Poe work to the screen. "The Pit and the Pendulum" seemed the logical choice, although the story itself is essentially unfilmable. Fortunately, screenwriter Richard Matheson (who did some of his best work for Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone") simply reused the "House of Usher" story line and tacked on "The Pit and the Pendulum" as the climatic scene. As long as Vincent Price was engaged in his celebrated over the top performance as Nicholas Medina, neither horror fans nor American lit majors were going to notice in this 1961 film.
The film is set in 16th century Spain as young Francis Barnard (John Kerr) arrives at the castle of Don Nicholas Medina (Price) to investigate the death of his sister, Elizabeth (Barbara Steele), the Don's wife. But all Francis gets from Nicholas is a lame story about Elizabeth dying from "something in her blood." The young man investigates further and discovers that Nicholas had driven Elizabeth over the edge. It seems that Nicholas's father Sebastian was a leader of the Spanish Inquisition, had killed hundreds of people in the castle's crypts and had caught his wife in adultery with his brother. Young Nicholas watched his father bury his mother alive in a wall (sound familiar Poe fans?) and ended up scarred for life (you think?). Meanwhile, Nicholas is being haunted by ghostly going ons and becomes convinced he has buried his wife alive and she has returned to haunt him. When Elizabeth apparently rises from her tomb to confront him, Nicholas's mind snaps and he is driven into a homicidal dementia, which ends up with Francis being confronted with the title's instrument of torture as the film makes its way to the requisite
"The Pit and the Pendulum" improves slightly on the first film in the AIP Poe series. Certainly the visual elements by art director Daniel Haller are a vast improvement, from the eighteen-foot long one-ton pendulum to Medina's castle for which Haller gutted an entire soundstage and dressed all the way up to the roof to great effect. The Freudian implications beloved by Corman have to do with Nicholas's feelings for his mother instead of the brother-sister vibes we get in "House of Usher." Price is gloriously over the top but John Kerr does nothing with his role as Francis and for some reason Barbara Steele's performance is marred by the fact her voice has been redubbed. For me, what makes "The Pit and the Pendulum" memorable is the unforgettable final shot. Irony can be both just and horrible at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Price, Corman and Matheson, Gothic splendour., 31 July 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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Upon hearing of his sister Elizabeth's death, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to find out just exactly how she met her end. Arriving at the Medina castle, he finds the Medina family deeply suspicious characters and the castle itself a foreboding place harnessing a deadly past.

The Pit And The Pendulum is the second film in the series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations that director Roger Corman tackled, it's also easily one of the best. Part horror, part dreamy thriller, and of course little dashes of humour, it all comes together so really very well. We open with a beach approach to the Medina castle, a big monolithic structure hulking on a cliff edge, we know from this moment on that unease is about to become our middle name. Once inside the castle it's evident that it is a major player in our story, roaring fireplaces and secret chambers all excellently framed by Corman and his team. A story of madness, deceit and sadistic ancestry then plays out to the full to make The Pit And The Pendulum one of the genres leading lights.

Enlisting the brilliant Richard Matheson to flesh out, and extend the Poe short story, the final result is close to being a Gothic masterpiece. Corman again uses Vincent Price as his leading man and he's rewarded with a quite delicious performance from the big man, camp and burgeoning madness going hand in hand like they were always meant to be a team. The rest of the cast are naturally trailing in the shadow of Price's greatness, but a noteworthy mention must go to the good work from Barbara Steele as Elizabeth. Floyd Crosby is again on board for cinematography duties, beautifully realising the lush colour and the doom laden feel of the Medina castle. Corman himself puts in some of his best work here, brilliant use of the camera really adds to the creeping unease that flows within the piece, a stunning POV victim sequence of the pendulum of the title is just one of the many technical highlights on show.

A truly smashing and creepy film. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the perfect horror movie, 27 Aug. 2012
By 
Autonome (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
After the very good (albeit imperfect) "House of Usher", the Corman-Price tandem hit its stride in this remarkable "Pit and the Pendulum", the second (and not far from best) effort in their Poe series. While in my review of "Usher" I had regretted some minor flaws that tempered with the enjoyment of the movie, these flaws have essentially disappeared here. First the acting alongside Vincent Price is, this time, top notch. Barbara Steele, "stealing" every second she has on screen (while her part is not very long), had been an overnight succcess in the US since the release of Bava's The Mask of the Demon. Needless to say she is superb. Actor John Kerr is also extremely solid, and so are Luana Anders and Anthony Carbone. As for Price, his portrayal of Don Nicholas is both tragic and extremely scary: a great performance all-round. Another advantage versus the last film: the music does not invade the plot with ridiculous romantic overtones, and the score is lean, mean and quite spooky at times. Lastly, the set design is simply magnificent and the technicolor makes the movie looks very lush, while it probably did cost peanuts to make. Add to this the perenial sense of pace of Corman, some genuinely distrubing scenes and a razor-sharp script by Richard Matheson, and we have a masterpiece of the 1960s horror movies: well done Corman!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price Goes Through Pit And The Pendulum Mood Swings!, 3 Nov. 2014
This is a review of the Arrow Blu-ray release. The Amazon star rating considers the entire DVD - including extra material!

The Movie: Corman's second low budget Poe film, scripted by Richard Matherson - 1961 - is a somewhat mixed bag of tricks. It is possibly the most faithful - which isn't saying its that faithful! In a story which combines numerous Poe cliches and themes: premature burial, secret walls and panels, some mild sadism, and yes, (The) Pit and the Pendulum! All of Corman's familiar creepy sets and travelling mattes/paintings from other movies are used to great effect; however bland performances from Luana Anders and stony faced leading man John Kerr mean you'll think rigor-mortis really has set in for about the first half hour! Much has been written about the wonderful costume design, which is certainly colorful; although quite where Barbershop Quartet Shave & Haircuts 'for two bits' fit in to the mid-sixteenth century, leaves artistic licence striving! Predictably, its Vincent Price who commands the entire movie as an oddly sympathetic psychopath with possible split personality disorder ... if you want to rationalise the finale! The beautifully talented raven haired Barbara Steele would also have been a huge plus to this Poe outing, were it not for the fact that she is disappointingly dubbed by a bad Cruella De Vil sound-alike - shame on you Roger! Totally killing her performance, as well as undermining the 'surprise' creepy ending. Still this is a stoic and entertaining effort from Corman, avoiding for the most part his usual satire and comedic touches of some of his other Poe adaptions and attempting rewarding sincerity. (3 STARS)

Picture and sound Quality: Some effort has been made at image restoration, but the movie still lacks overall vibrancy. Thus, in the end, is only slightly better than MGM's previous release. The sound for the most part is, sadly, pretty much appalling with annoying interference and crackles! Aspect ratio is also like being in a torture chamber ... unless you have a thousand options on your TV! (2 STARS)

The Extra Material: As other reviews have stated, this is the true reason to buy this release. No expense has been spared to make this a Blu-ray collectors delight. Before you even get to your disc player, there is a delightful reversible cover, and factual booklet! While the disc itself includes two commentaries - one from the low budget maestro himself! There is also a making of documentary. And added cut TV sequence featuring an extremely effective Luana Anders, why is she so bland in the cinema cut (?)... though why this wasn't simply added to the film for DVD is mystifying! Also for those disappointed that Price didn't do much Poe chomping in the movie, he reads just about everything Edgar Allan to a delighted audience. (5 STARS)
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Poe Adaptation and a Glourious Climax, 24 Oct. 2013
Another Poe story, Corman directing again and right at the front of it all there he is, Mr Vincent Price.
The setting is gothic Spain, the costumes, tone and atmosphere are all set up for this devilish film which contains a super twist, spoiled by the blurb on the DVD box and plots all over the internet.

Really if you were able to go into this fresh this would be a jaw dropping film, instead everywhere you look the first 60 mins of the film are explained in reviews/ DVD blurb and elsewhere. So if you can stay away until you see the film.

Onto the film- Price is as always brilliant, probably too good as he overshines the other characters in the film that come across a little paper thin in my opinon. And apart from the odd hammy editing Roger Corman has directed very well. You can see that Price and Corman are fans of Poe's work and put everything into making this a well thought out story.

The final quarter of an hour is just excellent, the tension and menace are trapped on film for all to see.
Finally I believe the Stuart Gordon effort is a good compendium to this film as it serves as some kind of a prequel.
It's worth checking the Gordon effort out- sure it is more violent and gory, but it's a good film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price a name, one title, a spectacular moment of cinema, 18 Feb. 2010
By 
Massimo Santilli "kinowelt" (La Spezia - Liguria Italy) - See all my reviews
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Champion of a cinema cheaper, able to manage the low-budget and to match the pure kind of culture is not trivial to subpoenas, Roger Corman is a special case in American cinema that has inspired with his talent and his strength production, several directors from the generation of Spielberg, Coppola and Scorsese already in ¹. His adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe, initially taken very seriously, are now considered classics of children to be taken for example. "The Pit and the Pendulum," from a very famous story of the author of "The Black Cat", is a quick and fun horror movie that lives, due to the great Vincent Price, which crowned the irony of holding star such an era, the English Barbara Steele: good insights spectacular, the pace of narration and screenplay ,the film is a pleasant sight and square sophisticated than has been assessed at the time of removal. Wonderful, no special effects, without retouching virtual short acting and above all true Gothic setting realistic as anybody like.
Only that little suspense,necessary To tell the truth, if not the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another late-late-late show favourite..., 18 Aug. 2011
By 
M. J. Jacobs "michael jacobs" (Edgware, London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I first saw this Vincent Price classic many years ago. It is part of Roger Corman's series of Price classics, including Raven The [DVD], Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] and The Masque of The Red Death [DVD] [1964]. Very atmospheric, but with hokey special effects. The lighting is wonderful, and they raided the European Dust Mountain to furnish the sets, and some of the most rotten curtains you could imagine.

The cast are not major Hollywood A-List stars (aside from Price, of course), but they do the subject matter justice, and if you like Edgar Allen Poe, you'll love this.

Vince Price plays a completely over-the-top madman who has buried his wife whilst she was still alive.

Problem? Her brother turns up to check on her, and ultimately locks horns with him.

Complication? The Pit and the Pendulum!

And what became of the woman who was buried alive? That's answered in the finale.

Enjoy! But watch late night, with friends and some suitable refreshments...
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Pit and the Pendulum Steelbook [Blu-ray]
Pit and the Pendulum Steelbook [Blu-ray] by Roger Corman (Blu-ray - 2014)
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