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The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

Cast: Marguerite Gance, Jean Debucourt, Charles Lamy
Director: Jean Epstein
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Horror, Silent, Classic Horror, Classic Horror, Silent Horror, Silent Horror
Running Time: 66 min.
Languages: English
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The French silent film La Chute de la Maison Usher is adapted from Edgar Allan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. Director Jean Epstein studiously avoids cheap shocks in this tale of hereditary madness, choosing instead a tightly controlled, spookily subtle technique. The hero, having indirectly caused the death of his beloved, stubbornly tries to resurrect her spirit by devoting himself to painting and sculpture. Epstein conveys the twilight zone between life and death with lingering dissolves and brilliant utilization of slow motion. The production design of La Chute de la Maison Usher, together with the earlier Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, obviously inspired the "look" of Robert Florey's 1932 Poe derivation Murders in the Rue Morgue. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

(1928, 13 minutes), Avant-garde landmark created by James Sibley Watson, Jr., and Melville Webber from Poe's short story.

GreenCine Member Reviews

agreed... by jaimetout April 28, 2004 - 10:35 AM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I pretty much agree with everything Kenyon says, but the guy who reads the titles is pretty annoying--especially if you can read French and have no need for his services. I really wish the voice-over was an optional track.

The movie itself is great, but it deserves a better release. Are you listening, Criterion?

Amazing. Gorgeous. Surreal. by Kenyon December 22, 2002 - 11:27 AM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I'd never heard of this film. But it now seems clear to me that it was a huge "influence" on (dare I say some of it seemed stolen by?) Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, one of my all time favorite films.

A wonderfully clear print or remaster or whatever. And the sets! Surreal gothic; dreamily nightmarish.

The only non-ravishing aspect is the unfortunate make-up of the actress, and her direction to overdo the "look limpid and sad" thing. Fortunately, we spend more time watching dramatic close-ups of Roderick, who looks supernaturally luminous.

A very interesting soundtrack is included for this silent film - a combination of wonderful medieval and strange scratching around inside a piano. Also, a narrator reads english translations of the french inter-title cards.

I'm glad this film found me.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.46)
72 Votes
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Evil in Antiquity
Gritty, dark, curious, and/or occult films. Witchcraft and quabbalah abound.
Great silent films
Some are old, some are not. in any case, you get to rely on your eyes...

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