28 October 2002 | andrei cretulescu
I've been waiting to see this film for about 10 years. There never was and there NEVER will be a truly great screen adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe. Because it can't be done. Given that Poe is definitely one of my favourite writers, you probably would suggest that I shouldn't watch any movie (or TV movie) based on one of his writings. True. But I love movies, and one of the best I've seen is The Pit and the Pendulum, directed by the great Roger Corman, which is an adaptation of Poe's short story and has virtually NOTHING to do with it. But Corman is Corman and he did 5 or 6 movies based (inspired by...) on Poe, and they're all classics (if you love this kind of cinema), and Vincent Price is absolutely splendid and...enough about history. Therefore, you should never expect a brilliant(or even decent)adaptation of Poe, but if you agree with that and if you are prepared to swallow characters and facts that aren't present in Poe's story (Murders in the Rue Morgue, that is) then you're in for a treat. The lugubrious atmosphere, the fluid camerawork, the impressive production design and the magnificent location all add panache to a well told (by David Epstein) and well directed (by Jeannot "Somewhere in Time" Szwarc) tale. And let's not forget the great, late George C.Scott, whose presence alone makes the film worthwile. And listen closely...If you love Poe just on paper, better stay away! If you haven't read the story (and if you like Scott), stick with it! Just remember - if you want a gore movie, wait till Dario Argento makes his own version. If you want an intellectual/perverse/subversive flick, talk to Polanski or De Palma. This one is just a TV movie.