Emily Gault arrives at the Carrell mansion determined to rekindle an old relationship with Guy Carrell, despite the disapproval of his sister, Kate. Guy overcomes his all-consuming fear of being buried alive long enough to marry Emily but soon becomes obsessed again, building a crypt designed to guarantee that he will not fall prey to his most dreaded nightmare. Trying to prove that he has been cured of his phobia, he opens his father's tomb and is shocked into a catatonic state. His worst fears are realized as he is lowered into a grave and covered over, apparently never to learn that the treachery of someone very dear to him was directly responsible for his predicament.Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Roger Corman started this film outside of American International Pictures. Since Vincent Price had been signed to an exclusive contract with AIP, Corman chose Ray Milland for the lead role. American International would acquire the production just as principal photography began. See more »
When about to show his guests the cup of poison, Guy refers to this as the coup de grace, but mispronounces it as "coup de gras" (as in "foie gras" or "Mardi Gras"). It is very unlikely that a well educated English grandee such as Guy would make such a mistake. See more »
Can you possibly conceive it. The unendurable oppression of the lungs, the stifling fumes of the earth, the rigid embrace of the coffin, the blackness of absolute night and the silence, like an overwhelming sea.
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The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove shots of maggots being poured from a cup and to edit scenes of Emily's body being covered with earth. The Optimum DVD is the uncut print. See more »
Most of the reviews and comments on "The Premature Burial" tend to dismiss this film as second rate. I don't agree. In fact I think it is as good or better than many of the other Roger Corman produced/directed Edgar Allan Poe adaptations.
The basis of the story is man's fear of death and more specifically of somehow being buried alive. Guy Carrell (Ray Milland) is one such person. He believes that his father was a victim of a premature burial and as such thinks that he will suffer the same fate. He goes so far as to construct a crypt that has many fail safe escape devices in case that he does suffer the same fate as his father.
Carrell marries the beautiful Emily Gault (Hazel Court) and with her help, tries to overcome his fears. Also involved in the mystery is Carrell's sinister sister Kate (Heather Angel), family friend Dr. Miles Archer (Richard Ney) and Emily's father Dr. Gault (Alan Napier). Guy begins to hear eerie sounds and is seemingly tormented by two grave diggers (John Dierkes, Dick Miller) that he encountered earlier. Are there plans afoot to drive poor Guy mad? Who in his household could be behind such a plan? Does he ultimately suffer the fate that he fears most?
Ray Milland was chosen to play the lead because Roger Corman was in a dispute with American International Pictures (AIP) at the time and decided to make the movie with another studio. Vincent Price who starred in most of Corman's Poe adaptations was under contract to AIP and therefore, could not play the lead. Ultimately the dispute was resolved and the picture was eventually released under the AIP banner.
Milland is surprisingly excellent in the lead. He conveys the building paranoia of Guy Carrell very convincingly. The lovely Hazel Court was a veteran of many films in her native England and nicely complements Milland and Heather Angel provides an air of mystery as Guy's sister/
Some useless trivia:
1. Ray Milland and Heather Angel had starred together some 25 years earlier in "Bulldog Drummond Escapes" (1937).
2. Miles Archer was the name of Sam Spade's partner who was murdered at the beginning of "The Maltese Falcon" (1941).
3. Alan Napier achieved greater fame as Alfred the butler in the "Batman" TV series of the 60s.
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