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>
'The Raven' seems like it was trying to recreate the success (artistically) of Edward G. Ulmer's 'The Black Cat' released the previous year. Once again horror legends Karloff and Lugosi are teamed up in a movie supposedly inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. Of course it has nothing much to do with Poe apart from Lugosi reciting Poe's poem once or twice and having his own private version of 'The Pit And The Pendulum' in his basement. 'The Raven' isn't as inspired and as downright strange as 'The Black Cat' but it's still very good. Karloff receives top billing but this is Lugosi's movie all the way. He plays a brilliant surgeon and Poe buff who is talked into saving the life of a beautiful young girl (Irene Ware). He then becomes obsessed by her and when he can't get what he wants decides to punish her, her fiance (Lester Matthews) and her father (Samuel S. Hinds). Along the way he has turned criminal Karloff into a disfigured monster and forces him to help. Lugosi is really terrific as the mad surgeon and his performance will delight his fans. Recommended.
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