Edgar Allan Poe, while at college, incurs many debts and is sent home in disgrace. He is ordered from the house by his father. Shortly after, he marries, and tries to make a living by ...
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Edgar Allan Poe, while at college, incurs many debts and is sent home in disgrace. He is ordered from the house by his father. Shortly after, he marries, and tries to make a living by writing, but is a failure financially. His wife dies because he is unable to furnish her with even the bare necessities of life. He is plunged into great grief and despair. All night he sits brooding over his loss. Through his distorted imagination he sees the ominous raven enter his chamber and croak gloomy forebodings. The spirit of his wife also appears and finally he himself dies, and is wafted to heights supernal, where he is united with his "Lenore."Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
The room where this was filmed still exists today. Charlie Chaplin also filmed there. Essanay Studios, Chicago. See more »
Once Upon a Midnight Dreary
Henry B. Walthall was, by 1915, one of the most celebrated actors on the motion picture screen; when "The Raven" was released, his stock was very high; and, watching his performance as Edgar Allen Poe illustrates why. Working with Director Charles Brabin, Mr. Walthall literally becomes Poe. In the actor's introduction, a portrait of Poe is replaced a with a close-up of Walthall's characterization. From then on, you believe the actor is Edgar Allen Poe; judging from Poe's well-known images, there is a convenient resemblance, as well. I may always think of Poe as Walthall.
Warda Howard co-stars as the women in Poe's life: Virginia Clemm, Helen Whitman, and their fantasized poetic counterpart(s). Filmmakers decided Ms. Howard would play each of Poe's female interests; and, it was a wise artistic decision. Howard handles the difficult assignment well; I especially enjoyed her marvelous expressions as Walthall and his rotund chum Harry Dunkinson (as Tony) vie for her affection.
On with the motley -- this is a biography of Poe. Considering the usual sanitization of the genre, and the era released; it's exceptionally well done. Poe is characterized as a romantic writer, with a fondness for drink -- who would have guessed? The story events seem digested, but accurate. The Poem is referenced, and the ending foreshadowed, with several images during the movie; a favorite, the caged bird, in background, by a window. Brabin's use of several delirious superimposed visions are disturbingly well done, and effectively compliment the story. The highlight is the ending, when Mr. Walthall acts out Poe's expiration, while a reading of "The Raven" takes place on the title cards. Don't miss the bird!
Walthall had just been seen in the Poe-inspired "The Avenging Conscience" (1914), the nightmarish "Ghosts" (1915), and the epic "Birth of a Nation". His Poe credentials stretched way back to Griffith's "The Sealed Room" (1909). If Best Actor awards were given in 1915, Walthall would certainly have one. He is terrific - and, "The Raven" is a biography like no other.
********* The Raven (11/8/15) Charles Brabin ~ Henry B. Walthall, Warda Howard, Harry Dunkinson, Ernest Maupain
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