A wealthy judge coaxes the brilliant but eccentric neurological surgeon Dr. Vollin (Lugosi), who also has an obsessive penchant for Edgar Allen Poe, out of retirement to save the life of his daughter, a dancer crippled and brain damaged in an auto wreck. Vollin restores her completely, but also envisions her as his "Lenore," and cooks up a scheme to kidnap the woman and torture and kill her fiance' and father in his Poe-inspired dungeon. To do his dirty work, Vollin recruits a wanted criminal (Karloff), and turns him into a hideous monster to guarantee his subservience. Written by
Kevin Rayburn <kprayb01@homer.Louisville.edu>
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in The Raven was a most thrilling horror classic to me!
While I had watched them in The Body Snatcher years back, this is the first time I've seen Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff together as equals in one of their Universal features. In this one, Lugosi plays Dr. Richard Vollin who gets called out of retirement by one Judge Thatcher (Samuel S. Hinds) to heal his daughter Jean (Irene Ware) from a car accident. He does and instantly becomes smitten with her which becomes obvious to her father when he looks at them together. When Vollin admits to it, the judge forbids him from seeing her again especially since she's engaged to Dr. Jerry Halden (Lester Matthews). That doesn't sit well with the doctor who cured her so when escaped convict Edmond Bateman (Karloff) drops in, Vollin offers a quid-pro-quo...This was quite thrilling from beginning to end especially with all the references to many Edgar Allan Poe works and contraptions especially the one depicted in "The Pit and the Pendulum". Director Louis Friedlander really puts the stops that truly had me riveted the whole way through. And the score is just what one would expect from these melodramatic old school horror movies of this period. As old-fashioned as this movie may seem to some modern viewers, to me this was still an edge-of-your-seat thriller that holds up today. So on that note, I very highly recommend this version of The Raven.
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