Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Classic Tales Of Terror: The Tell-Tale Heart/The Oval Portrait

This dvd consist of two adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Edgar Allan Poe is a name that is frequently mentioned among fans of horror and the macabre and this doesn't come without reason. His tales bring the terror and stick in the back of your mind years after taking them in. Naturally, having such a notorious reputation as an author of the macabre his writings quite often get picked up by movie makers thinking they can properly put his ideas to film. Some are hits and some miss the mark by a long shot, luckily for this dvd the two films featured are fairly good representations of the stories of which they are based.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960):

The first of the two films on this disc is The Tell-Tale Heart. Arguably one of Poe's most notorious stories and along with that one of his stories that is most often put to film. The film stars Laurence Payne and Adrienne Corri.The Tell-Tale Heart follows a man named Edgar who is quite pitiful around the ladies. He becomes obsessed over a woman who moves nearby him. Even with Edgar's obsession over Betty she hardly notices and goes for his good friend Carl. Carl being the great friend he is shrugs off Betty's advances for awhile but eventually can't help but fool around with her. Unfortunately for Carl Edgard was watching from his window and caught them in the act. Soon after Edgar beats Carl and hides him in the floor boards, but as time goes by the heartbeat he hears in his head robs him of his sanity.

This adaptation of the story adds a ton of new things to what was in the original short story. Considering how short the original story was this shouldn't be a surprise, creating a feature length film out of something so small would be quite the difficult task. Though it may not be a dead on retelling of the original story it still brings the same ideas and feelings that were originally intended. The elements that are added aren't necessarily the most original to ever grace the screen but in the end it still plays out to be a great film.

The Oval Portrait (1972):

The second section of this double feature is The Oval Portrait. This film is based of the story titled "Life in Death" (which is also known as The Oval Portrait). This, much like the previous movie was based off a short story. The Oval Portrait is the tale of a Confederate man who is injured in battle. He finds himself staying at a house owned by a Yankee after he is taken in by a beautiful woman. The soldier soon after falls in love with the owners daughter, Rebecca.

When Rebecca's father sees the beautiful portrait and discovers who had made it he breaks out in a fury and throws his daughter out of the house. In this fit of rage her father falls into a vegetable like state. Soon after a man who appears to be the soldier who painted his daughter returns to the home. With the completion of the portrait Rebecca loses her life. As the story unfolds this dark tale of romance is bound to be one you'll remember. Unfortunately The Oval Portrait is one of those Poe adaptations that tends to fade into obscurity. The story is compelling and even with some less than satisfying acting it still manages to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat up until the credits roll. This film has strange atmosphere throughout. It

Overall this dvd works as a great introduction to some of the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations of the era. In terms of picture quality it would be advised to not go into this expecting something crystal clear. The quality isn't bad but it may have some people who strive for the polished look a little bothered. All in all this comes out to be a pretty good set. The two films featured here aren't something you bump into that often. The disc is bare bones but it does come with some very insightful liner notes written by Tim Lucas. Highly recommended for fans of Edgar Allan Poe that are looking to get into some of the adaptations. Even if you have never read a page of Poe's work this will still prove to be an interesting viewing.

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