Thursday, June 13, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe Haunts the Big Screen

 
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door — Only this and nothing more." —Edgar Allan Poe 

"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore". The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.

Film critic Jim Dalrymple writes:
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The Raven (1963) This film is classic Vincent Price: campy, funny in a strangely knowing way, and macabrely delicious. The fact that it also stars the the legendary Boris Karloff is icing on the cake. It’s based, rather loosely, on Edgar Allen Poe’s long poem “The Raven, which you may have read in an English class. Or, you may be familiar with the poem from The Simpsons‘ episode “Treehouse of Horror,” in which it was read by the velvet-voiced James Earl Jones. In any case, Price’s version of “The Raven” provides a good introduction to two cultural essentials: classic poetry, and classic B movies.
When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.

Director: James McTeigue 
Writers: Ben Livingston, Hannah Shakespeare
Stars: John Cusack, Luke Evans,
 Alice Eve |

Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay "The Philosophy of Composition". The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout. "The Raven" was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem's status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

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