Histoires extraordinaires: Season 1, Episode 6

The Fall of the House of Usher (12 Apr. 1981)
"La chute de la maison Usher" (original title)

TV Episode
5.4
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After a long journey, Alain arrives at the Usher mansion to visit his old friend, Roderick Usher. Upon arriving, however, he discovers that Roderick and his sister, Madeline, have been ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Madeline Usher
Mathieu Carrière ...
Pierre Clémenti ...
Allan
Jacques Dacqmine ...
Dr. Hawthorne
Fernand Guiot ...
London Constable
Jean Rupert ...
Josuah
Georges Lucas ...
Un paysan
Michel Tugot-Doris ...
Un paysan (as Tugot Doris)
France Anerfo ...
Madeline enfant
Joël Duigou ...
Allan enfant
Raphaël Maykowski ...
Roderick enfant
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Storyline

After a long journey, Alain arrives at the Usher mansion to visit his old friend, Roderick Usher. Upon arriving, however, he discovers that Roderick and his sister, Madeline, have been afflicted with a mysterious malady: Roderick's senses have become painfully acute, while Madeline has become nearly catatonic. That evening, Roderick tells his guest of an old Usher family curse: any time there has been more than one Usher child, all of the siblings have gone insane and died horrible deaths. As the days wear on, the effects of the curse reach their terrifying climax. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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12 April 1981 (France)  »

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User Reviews

 
The Fall Of The House Of Usher {TV} (Alexandre Astruc, 1981) ***
19 October 2013 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Edgar Allan Poe's melancholy tale of doomed siblings is among his most popular, so it is small wonder that the cinema keeps returning to this one (among a handful of other choice stories). Interestingly, the premise lends itself to both straightforward (the best-regarded attempt being Roger Corman's heavily-coloured 1960 adaptation) and experimental (notably Jean Epstein's 1928 Silent version) treatment. The film under review (for which I did not have the benefit of English subtitles!), then, could easily fit into either category: for the record, director Astruc had already faithfully but artily tackled Poe's THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM in 1964 (also for French TV). Incidentally, I was surprised to learn that, here, Mathieu Carriere essayed the central role of Roderick – rather than the more recognizably brooding Pierre Clementi, relegated to the part of bewildered friend of the family recounting events in flashback! Still, there is a catch to that incongruous bit of casting (actually, top-billed Fanny Ardant has the least screen-time of all as the ailing, and subsequently cataleptic, Madeleine)…for the phantasmagorical – as opposed to the expected spectacular – denouement of this particular rendition shifts the original's focus from the titular household somewhat (but without necessarily subverting its meaning)! By the way, the film was made as part of a series entitled HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES, also the original French title of the renowned 1968 compendium SPIRITS OF THE DEAD!; besides, I have just learned of (and acquired) a quartet of Italian TV episodes dedicated to the famously tortured author and, predictably, this very source…


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