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The Raven [DVD]
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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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Top customer reviews
The sets and photography are wonderfully sumptuous. The acting hammy - though, in this case, it adds to the charm. Besides, this is a tongue-in-cheek horror/comedy.
It's always nice to see the stars of old - they had charisma by the bucketload. And then there is the gorgeous Hazel Court - she certainly had the bosom for those period costumes!
As I said, enjoyable, but be sure to wear your nostalgia goggles.
I have the UK and French release of this movie and this is the latter, perhaps the slightly better transfer.
Roger Corman again teamed Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price in this tongue in cheek horror spoof which was one of the gems of the series of light hearted adaptions of Poe stories using a stock cast which for this movies included Hazel Court and a very young Jack Nicholson
The wizards duel sequence between Karloff and Price towards the end of the movie is an absolute classic.
Sadly Peter Lorre died shortly after the film was released, reportedly without ever having seen the final cut, although he never liked seeing himself on film. On a happier note, the cast, all renown for their sense of humour apparently had tremendous fun making the film and Corman had to leave in many of the adlibs and asides as there were too many to edit out.
This is one of those fun films which always leaves you feeling better for having watched it again.