Film Review – THE RAVEN (1935)

THE RAVEN (1935, USA, 61m, PG) ***½
Crime, Horror
dist. Universal Pictures; pr co. Universal Pictures; d. Lew Landers; w. David Boehm (based on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe); exec pr. Stanley Bergerman (uncredited); ph. Charles J. Stumar (B&W | 1.37:1); m. Clifford Vaughan; ed. Albert Akst; ad. Albert S. D’Agostino.
cast: Boris Karloff (Edmond Bateman), Bela Lugosi (Dr. Richard Vollin), Lester Matthews (Dr. Jerry Holden), Irene Ware (Jean Thatcher), Samuel S. Hinds (Judge Thatcher), Spencer Charters (Col. Bertram Grant), Inez Courtney (Mary Burns), Ian Wolfe (Geoffrey “Pinky”), Maidel Turner (Harriet).
Lugosi plays a spurned surgeon who seeks revenge using Edgar Allan Poe’s devices of torture and a hideously disfigured Karloff. Lugosi gives a commanding interpretation of madness in this lean horror that makes up in enthusiastic performances what it lacks in the sophistication and black humour that a director like James Whale would have brought to the proceedings. Karloff makes a late entrance and once again gives a strong physical performance mixing both pathos and threat. Ware makes a sparkling, if screechy, heroine and the final act in Lugosi’s chamber of horrors is enjoyably tense.