There are weaknesses in THE RAVEN. Introduction is somewhat slow; Lugosi's delivery of Edgar A. Poe's poem, The Raven, is hindered by his Hungarian accent; photography has ups and downs, suffering from poor focus in parts; Karloff's makeup, especially the dead eye, is unconvincing; and the female lead and her love interest come across as rather limited actors.
And, yet, despite those unquestionable weaknesses, the film is atmospheric and boasts a pace that holds your interest, especially from the moment the infamous Dr Vollin (Lugosi) starts exacting torture on his hostages in his house of horrors. The scenes of the pendulum with a sharp edge hanging over the judge (the female lead's father) clearly inspired THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961), with Vincent Price - but Lugosi's pervasive and suave evil in THE RAVEN is far more memorable. Ultimately, it is Lugosi who carries this film with his accent-tilted, insane eyes, and consistently exacerbated, but stylish, delivery.
Director Friedlander also deserves plaudits, in spite of the above mentioned flaws.
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