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The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  20 January 1965 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,094 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 40 critic

A man's obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride.

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(short story), (screenplay)
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Vincent Price recites four Edgar Allen Poe stories: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Pit and the Pendulum.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Elizabeth Shepherd ...
John Westbrook ...
Christopher Gough
Derek Francis ...
Lord Trevanion
Oliver Johnston ...
Kenrick
Richard Vernon ...
Dr. Vivian
...
Peperel
Ronald Adam ...
Minister at Graveside
Denis Gilmore ...
Livery Boy
Penelope Lee ...
Lady Rowena's Maidservant
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Storyline

Some years after having buried his beloved wife Ligea, Verden Fell meets and eventually marries the lovely Lady Rowena. Fell is something of a recluse, living in a small part of a now ruined Abbey with his manservant Kenrick as the only other occupant. He remains infatuated with his late wife and is convinced that she will return to him. While all goes well when first married, he returns to his odd behavior when they return to the Abbey from their honeymoon. The memories of Ligea continue to haunt him as well as her promise that she would never die. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

abbey | recluse | cat | fox | exhumation | See All (55) »

Taglines:

CAT or WOMAN or a Thing Too Evil to Mention? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House at the End of the World  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Proposed titles included "The House at the End of the World" and "The Tomb of the Cat" See more »

Quotes

Verden Fell: Christopher, not ten minutes ago I... I tried to kill a stray cat with a cabbage, and all but made love to the Lady Rowena. I succeeded is squashing the cabbage and badly frightening the lady. If only I could lay open my own brain as easily as I did that vegetable, what rot would be freed from its grey leaves?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tune in Trip Out (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Corman at his most POEtic and stylish best
30 July 2010 | by (Brazil) – See all my reviews

"Tomb of Ligeia" was the last of Corman's popular Edgar Allan Poe adaptations of the 60's. Because of how it's totally different in style from the previous entries in the series, many have deemed it as an inferior effort, though I personally think it's the total opposite. There's no doubt in my view that "Ligeia" is Corman's finest Poe adaptation. All the flaws present in his earlier films (even in the more well praised "Masque of the Red Death"), that have become even more visible with aging, have served as a lesson as to what not to do, and are thankfully not present here. The most effective change was the change of setting. Instead of using painted backdrops posing and excessive sound stage interiors posing as European settings, this one was actually filmed on-location in the British countryside, with studio indoors scenes kept to a minimum. The gorgeously photographed exterior locations, with the dark and imposing ruins clashing against the peaceful, idyllic nature surroundings, add immensely to the film's brooding Gothic atmosphere, and it's a real shame it wasn't used more often in other films of the same period. Not since Jean Epstein's haunting "Fall of the House of Usher" in 1928, has Poe's style been so faithfully adapted to the silver screen. This is mostly due to Corman's stylish and original direction, an intelligent script by Robert Towne (of "Chinatown" fame) and to Vincent Price's acting. Without resorting to over-the-top melodramatic gestures (as seen in 1961's "Pit and the Pendulum"), Price plays to perfection a suave, mysterious, eerily seductive and haunted lead - the ultimate Poe lead, and one of his best performances, up there with his work in "Witchfinder General". Elizabeth Sheppard, whom you might remember as the doomed journalist from "Damien: Omen II", is equally effective as the female lead, both as Ligeia and Lady Rowena. As Rowena, Sheppard doesn't go for your typical 'damsel in distress' performance as it could've been, and plays as a much stronger willed, not so innocent, independent, yet likable character. Though her role as creepy raven-haired Ligeia has less screen time, she does manage to leave an impression, and manages to be genuinely creepy. Another bonus is the surreal dream sequence that happens somewhere in the middle of the film. A trademark Corman treat, this scene is filled with vivid colors, brilliantly otherworldly camera-work and bizarre, nightmarish imagery, it's one of the film's scariest moments, and also one of the director's most memorable set pieces. Also, I love the subtly creepy and disturbingly poetic approach Towne and Corman take at the controversial necrophilia subplot. This subject matter would get an equally elegant treatment 10 years later in Mario Bava's "Lisa and the Devil". The film's flaws come basically from the final confrontation between Price and Sheppard, which comes back as a more typical Corman-ending-to-a-Poe-film, coming off as a bit anti-climatic, considering how much build up there was it. Nevertheless, it's fun and stylish, even if it's slightly campy tone doesn't match the otherwise seriousness of all that came after. Overall, an exquisite Gothic gem from the 60's, and essential viewing for fans of the genre. Even if you're not a fan of the director's work, do check it out, as it might as well come off as a pleasant surprise. 9.5/10


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