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A Roger Corman classic horror-spoof, which saw the first teaming of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff on screen. Having recently left the Brotherhood of Sorcerors after the death of his wife, magician Erasmus Craven (Price) is visited by a talking raven that claims to be another magician, Bedlo (Lorre). The bird also claims to having been turned into a raven by Craven's arch-enemy Dr Scarabus (Karloff). Bedlo persuades Craven to reverse the spell and, after Craven hears that a woman who looks like his wife has been seen in Scarabus' company, he accompanies Craven to Scarabus' castle where a magical showdown ensues.
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 KaveneySee all Product description
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Dr Erasmus Craven (Price) a wizard is still mourning the death of his beloved late wife Leonore when he encounters a raven outside his house. The raven is Dr Bledsoe (Lorre) a fellow wizard transformed into a raven by arch villain and wizard the evil Dr Scarabus, (Boris Karloff). On his transformation back into human form, Bledsoe informs Craven that he has seen Leonore living in Scarabus' house. The three wizards eventually become involved in a battle of wits and power resulting in a duel between Craven and Scarabus for magical supremacy.
I loved this film and it is one of my favourite Vincent Price films. There are brilliant performances from the main leads, Price, Karloff and Lorre. There is a screen appearance from Jack Nicholson in one of his early film roles as Bledsoe 's son. See this film and you'll be enchanted, amused and entertained at the same time. I highly recommend this film. Vincent Price rocks.
Everyone of these legends of American-British cinema is a class act: Hazel Court plays with her usual damsell-in-distress part by displaying a voluptuously evil side to her that I had never suspected. Karloff is great as this very dangerous wizard, while Nicholson has one great scene suggesting the madness to come.
The duet scene between Karloff and Price towards the end of the movie is absolutely extraordinary (move over JK Rowlings!), while the miserable attempts of Lorre to curse Karloff end up being a bunch of thrown-out Latin famous quotes..
Why not five stars? Probably because Richard Matheson's screenplay can be a bit long-ish here and there but overall this is a magnificent and very moving entry in the Corman-Poe saga, all the more that Lorre would die soon after the release of this film, with the eulogy at his funeral given by Vincent Price.
Film after film, I am amazed by the quality of these productions, their ability to surprise and be innovative and by the heart and soul that everyone involved seems to put in them.
"The Raven" is an amazing tribute to five magnificent actors, so don't wait, watch and have fun...Oh - and I forgot one last thing: the "real" raven is superbly trained and sometimes almost looks human: a tour-de-force.
A superb cast , Vincent Price , Peter Lorre , Boris Karloff (all 3 of which can also be found together in "A Comedy of Terrors" - also Hilarious).
You will also see a very young Jack Nicholson as Peter Lorre's Son.
Buy it or miss out