Review of The Raven

The Raven (1935)
Yes! I like torture!
23 July 2003
This is a film that has no real relation to the Poe story but the film is inspired by it. The main character in the film is obsessed by Poe and has built torture devices in his home. The film starts out with a young pretty socialite named Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware) who is involved in a car crash and the doctors at the hospital are not sure what to do so Jeans father (Samuel Hinds) who is a prominent judge calls a retired doctor named Richard Vollin (Bela Lugosi) and begs him to help. At first Vollin says no, but Judge Thatcher tells him that the other doctors all admitted he was the best and Vollin reconsiders. He saves her and while she is on the mend Vollin falls in love with her. But Jean is engaged to another doctor named Jerry Halden (Lester Matthews) and Judge Thatcher notices Vollin's attraction to his daughter. One day Judge Thatcher stops in at Vollin's and has a heart to heart talk. He tells him to forget his affection for Jean and this enrages Vollin! Meanwhile, an escaped criminal named Edmond Bateman (Boris Karloff) comes over and begs for Vollin to give him plastic surgery and Vollin agrees only if Bateman will do some dirty work for him. Vollin conducts surgery on him and when its over Bateman is horribly disfigured. Vollin tells him he will fix his face later if he helps him. Vollin invites Jean, Jerry, Judge Thatcher and some others over to his home for a weekend of fun and games but he really has other things in store for them! This is a horror film classic that reteams two of the all time greats. The title of this film is not about the Poe story, but many references are made to him and Lugosi's character is a Poe fanatic who often recites lines from the poem. After Karloff wakes up and see's his new face and shoots all the mirrors with his gun he gives his Frankenstein growl. I'm not sure if its Karloffs voice or the studio dubbing it in. I'm assuming its Karloff. Lugosi plays a real nut here and its so much fun to see him using all of his devices like the pendulum and the room where the walls start closing in. I found it interesting that some of the characters in this film treated Karloff so badly because he was ugly and disfigured. It seems cruel but it plays well because Jean later would apologize and acts kind to him which will ultimately be an important factor in their survival. Matthews was not the most masculine guy and in one scene he is knocked cold by Karloff with one punch. In a supporting role Ian Wolfe plays Colonel Bertram Grant and in the hospital scene Jonathan Hale is a doctor. Hale played Mr. Dithers in the "Blondie" films. Great film to watch and Lugosi once again shows us those piercing eyes that can hypnotize you. He had such tremendous screen presence and he steals every scene in the film. Even the ones with Karloff! Great fun, great atmosphere and a must see for all! Horror film fans already know what a classic this is.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

Recently Viewed