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Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 August 1961 (USA)
In the sixteenth century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister's death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Edgar Allan Poe (story "The Pit and the Pendulum")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Nicholas Medina / Sebastian Medina
John Kerr ... Francis Barnard
Barbara Steele ... Elizabeth Barnard Medina
Luana Anders ... Catherine Medina
Antony Carbone Antony Carbone ... Doctor Charles Leon
Patrick Westwood ... Maximillian
Lynette Bernay Lynette Bernay ... Maria (as Lynne Bernay)
Larry Turner Larry Turner ... Nicholas as a Child
Mary Menzies Mary Menzies ... Isabella
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Bartolome
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Storyline

Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Edgar Allan Poe's diabolic classic See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 August 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edgar Allan Poe's Pit and the Pendulum See more »

Filming Locations:

Palos Verdes, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alta Vista Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Spain was released at first in Barcelona (14 June/1963) and later in Madrid (15 July/1963) and other provinces. Also -in 2001- the film was a re-release in Madrid (Pequeño Cine Estudio) for 14 days, only in subtitled version. The film was 3 dubbed versions: in 1963 for cinemas, in 1983 for VHS and TV premiere (1989) and in 1995 for his second video edition. See more »

Goofs

As the pendulum is being brought down, we eventually see it slice open the shirt. In one of the following overhead scenes, we see the shirt no longer sliced open. See more »

Quotes

Don Nicholas Medina: The atmosphere is heavy in here.
[opens the curtains in Elizabeth's room]
Francis: Why have you brought me here?
Don Nicholas Medina: It is her room, sir. I've had it kept exactly as she left it.
See more »

Alternate Versions

2 shots of a corpse's face in a coffin were cut by the BBFC from the original UK cinema version. All later versions were uncut. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A nearly perfect horror film
23 April 2005 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Roger Corman's "Pit and the Pendulum" is simply put one of the greatest genre efforts ever made! This is horror in its purest form with a compelling screenplay, a constant high-tension level and sublime acting performances by a very devoted cast. Roger Corman and Richard Matheson brilliantly continue their ode to Edgar Allan Poe after the fantastic "House of Usher" with this spooky and uniquely Gothic masterpiece centering on the Medina family. The amazing Mr. Price stars as the tormented Nicolas Medina, a soul torn apart by the fear that his beautiful wife was entombed alive after a frightening acquaintance with the family's vile Inquisition background. The brother of the late beauty travels to the ominous Medina castle and witnesses how insanity and rage slowly comes over Nicolas Medina as he's the victim of betrayal, conspiracies and ghosts from the past. "Pit and the Pendulum" is a beautiful film that'll impressive you with it's genuine scares and unsettling atmosphere. The photography is astonishing (with a great use of color shades throughout the film) and the scenery made my flesh creep (that pendulum!!). Vincent Price was unquestionably born to play the emotionally devastated Poe-protagonists. Exactly like he gave image to Roderick Usher in "the House of..." he portrays Nicolas as a weak romanticist, helplessly awaiting his merciless fade. Opposed to him stands the ravishing Barbara Steele who also embodies Poe's typical female character: Godly...but fiendish and without faith or loyalty. One of the slight minor points in this film was that I initially hoped to see more Steele screen time. Her role is modest, but remarkable and an excellent successor for her career-highlight "Black Sunday". Every film in Roger Corman's Poe-cycle is terrific and probably receives more praise from me than any other horror film, but then still this entry is the most marvelous, alongside the 1964's "Masque of the Red Death". This film is a feast for all senses and not one self-respecting horror fan can afford to miss it!


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