In this tongue-in-cheek movie inspired by Poe's poem, Dr. Craven is the son of a great sorcerer (now dead) who was once himself quite skilled at that profession, but has since abandoned it. One evening, a cowardly fool of a magician named Bedlo comes to Craven for help - the evil Scarabus has turned him into a raven and he needs someone to change him back. He also tells the reluctant wizard that Craven's long-lost wife Lenore, whom he loved greatly and thought dead, is living with the despised Scarabus.Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
The Corman-Matheson The Raven, a charming cultural artifact from the early sixties, played extremely well at kiddie matinees when first released, holds up less well for grownups when watching it on television. This is a movie that needs an audience, preferably young and not too sophisticated. Without the laughter of children it falls a little flat, but is still fun to look at, if only for the remarkable sets of Daniel Haller, the colorful costumes, the mugging actors.
This is not an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem (which would be impossible) but rather a spoof of the various movies adapted from Poe's stories that were so popular at the time it came out, featuring many of the same cast members! As such, the movie needs to be seen in this context or else it will make no sense.
Vincent Price, a good magician, helps Peter Lorre turn from raven back to human form, then journeys to the castle of bad magician Boris Karloff, who was responsible for changing Lorre into a bird, to engage in a battle of sorcerer's tricks. Jack Nicholson is on hand as Lorre's son, and the two have some funny scenes together. There's not much story here, but the look and feel of the film are what make it work, to the extent that it does, as it's really a showcase for the actors and set designers more than anything else. It's a lighthearted film from the start, with nary a frightening moment. Everyone's dressed up as if at a Halloween party, and the festive tone is sustained throughout.
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