IMDb > The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
The Fall of the House of Usher
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The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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7.0/10   974 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer:
Edgar Allan Poe (story)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Fall of the House of Usher on IMDbPro.
Genre:
Plot:
A traveller arrives at the Usher mansion to find that the sibling inhabitants, Roderick and Madeline Usher... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
The Cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe See more (18 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Herbert Stern ... Roderick Usher
Hildegarde Watson ... Madeline Usher
Melville Webber ... A Traveller
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Friedrich Haak ... (uncredited)
Dorthea House ... (uncredited)

Directed by
James Sibley Watson  (as J.S. Watson Jr.)
Melville Webber 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Edgar Allan Poe  story (as Poe)

Original Music by
Alec Wilder (1959)
 
Cinematography by
James Sibley Watson (uncredited)
Melville Webber (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
James Sibley Watson (uncredited)
Melville Webber (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Léon Barzin .... conductor: 1959 score (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

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Runtime:
13 min (2000 alternate version)
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
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Certification:
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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
The Cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe, 12 September 2008
Author: ackstasis from Australia

Considering the large number of early horror films that drew inspiration (however loosely) from the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, I'm left asking myself why I'm so inexperienced with the author's work. 'The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)' compresses Poe's 1839 short story into thirteen convoluted minutes, and I don't think I understood a moment of it. Beyond the inkling of a supposedly-dead sister coming back to life, the film made no clear sense to me, and I suspect that at least a vague knowledge of Poe would be useful prior to viewing. Nevertheless, my ignorance didn't prevent me from being entranced by every single second of James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber's avante-garde excursion into German Expressionism. Clearly drawing stylistic inspiration from Robert Weine's 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920),' as well as the numerous artistically-similar pictures that emerged from Germany during the 1920s, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' is a superbly-spellbinding montage of creative photography, used to tell, without a single intertitle, a morbid tale of family terror.

The directors utilise every trick in the book (and some they made up themselves) to give their film the dreamy, deranged visual logic of a dream – or, more accurately, a particularly nasty nightmare. The camera often tilts steeply and woozily to simulate the characters' mental disorientation – a technique that Carol Reed would later use, to a lesser extent, in 'The Third Man (1949)' – and much of the shooting took place through prisms that distorted and reproduced images. Slow motion, both forwards and backwards, all adds to the tone of a drug-induced haze, as ominous, fragmented phantoms tower overhead. The warped and exaggerated set design directly references 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' and, on more than one occasion, Melville Webber's Traveller appears to emulate Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) himself. Shadows and lighting are used wonderfully to complement the mood, another technique borrowed from German Expressionism, and the gnarled outlines of unseen figures on the wall emphasise the overstated photography and set design, further stressing the Gothic overtones of Poe's story.

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