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The Gorgon (1964)

Approved  |   |  Horror  |  17 February 1965 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,816 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 47 critic

In the early 20th century, a Gorgon takes human form and terrorizes a small European village by turning its citizens to stone.

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Title: The Gorgon (1964)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Prof. Karl Meister
...
Dr. Namaroff
Richard Pasco ...
Paul Heitz
Barbara Shelley ...
Carla Hoffman
...
Professor Jules Heitz
...
Inspector Kanof
Joseph O'Conor ...
Coroner
Prudence Hyman ...
The Gorgon
Jack Watson ...
Ratoff
Redmond Phillips ...
Hans
Jeremy Longhurst ...
Bruno Heitz
Toni Gilpin ...
Sascha Cass
Joyce Hemson ...
Martha
Alister Williamson ...
Janus Cass
Michael Peake ...
Constable
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Storyline

In early-twentieth-century middle-Europe, villagers are literally becoming petrified. Although the authorities try to hush the matter up, it is apparent that at the full moon, Megaera, a Gorgon, leaves her castle lair and anyone looking on her face is turned to stone. When this fate befalls a visitor, experts from the University of Leipzig arrive to try and get to the bottom of it all. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gorgon | stone | full moon | 1900s | legend | See All (64) »

Taglines:

Petrifies the screen with Horror! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La gorgona  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Barbara Shelley, who played the possessed heroine, Carla Hoffmann, wanted to play the part of the gorgon as well for continuity, and suggested to producer Anthony Nelson Keys that she use a special wig with live green garden snakes woven into it for a more realistic effect. Her idea was rejected by Keys due to budget and time considerations. When Keys saw the abysmal gorgon effects in the finished film, he told Shelley that he should have listened to her suggestion. As Christopher Lee quips, "The only thing wrong with "The Gorgon" is the gorgon!" See more »

Goofs

When the nurse rolls Sasha's stone body in and hits her finger on the table she breaks off about 2/3 of the finger. Later the finger on the ground and the missing digit is the entire finger. See more »

Quotes

Coroner: [At the inquisition of Bruno Heitz] From the evidence I've heard, I have the impression that your son was somewhat of a bohemian. Would you agree with that?
Professor Jules Heitz: He was a talented artist. His life was of his own choosing.
Coroner: I also had the impression he was a libertine.
Professor Jules Heitz: [emphatically] No!
Coroner: He had a number of girlfriends?
Professor Jules Heitz: Possibly. However, that does not make him a libertine.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A cinematic painting--a Gothic story in the genuine 19th century mode.
18 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

Those who tiresomely belabor the inadequacy of the snakes on the Gorgon's head at the film's conclusion entirely miss the point. It is not surprising in our cretinous era that some would lament the unavailability of computer generated special effects in 1964. That they persist in doing so, however, only serves to illustrate how very far these modernists are in both sensibility and aesthetic principles from the 19th century Gothic tradition that this film so faithfully seeks to reproduce. The point isn't the snakes but the psychological force behind the baleful facial expression!

In this connection, it is appropriate to observe that Terence Fisher was absolutely right in considering this one of his best films.

And make no mistake: this film is very much in the 19th century Gothic tradition in both story and atmosphere. In that sense, it may be compared to a story by Ludwig Tieck, while its visuals hearken back to the paintings of Jacob van Ruisdael.

Visually, it is among Hammer's most accomplished productions. Michael Reed's effective photographic renderings include: a nocturnal cemetery festooned with fluttering autumnal leaves, the viscerally chilly, fog and frost bitten ravine (you can almost watch your own breath smoke in merely watching it) where a hanged man is discovered, the vast shadowed Castle Borski depicted under a full moon with scudding clouds, to name but a few.

And Mr. Reed is ably abetted by production designer Bernard Robinson whose key piece in this film: the deserted inside of the self-same Castle Borski is a marvel of tattered armorial flags, dust laden furniture, and sinister mirrors. The musical score is also one of Hammer's best and most effectively understated.

But the film belongs to the incomparably lovely Barbara Shelley's "Carla Hoffman"--she of the sweeping pelisse seated on a gilded throne in the deserted castle. It is to be hoped that someday this accomplished beauty will receive all the retrospective attention surely due her. For now, suffice it to say, that few actresses in the history of cinema have constructed a portrayal so wholly and precariously based on an enigma, an enigma Miss Shelley consistently reveals in every gesture, expression and nuance, without allowing her character, "Carla" the possibility of even understanding it herself.

It isn't merely that her Carla is fatally charming and alluring, but decent and humanitarian as well, a victim, to be sure, but not at all in the degraded, naturalistic way that Jean Seberg's portrayal is in "Lilith" a film to which "The Gorgon" is frequently compared.

Much can always be found to admire in anything Miss Shelley does. For now let us just close with a passing note on her deportment, the absolute self control she exercises in her throaty, perfectly modulated voice and carriage. Would that actresses today would study her technique !!!!!!!!!!!

Watch her in her first confrontation scene with Peter Cushing in his parlor, where she accuses him of stonewalling during the inquest, just prior to the entrance of Paul's father--Professor Heinz. Merely observing her majestically exit the room after being introduced to the Professor is worth the whole price of admission!


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