Of all the Corman/Poe films, Tomb of Ligea has stood the test of time most
successfully, although a case can also be made for Masque of the Red Death.
The standard elements of the other films in the series, the malignant and presumably
dead wife, the tormented widower overwrought with melancholy, and the threatened
innocent, are certainly present, but Corman plays Tomb of Ligea straight.
This is likely due to the script by Robert Towne, whose characters are believably
complex and compelling. Price is remarkably restrained as a romantic lead, given
his over-the-top portrayals in the other Poe films, and Elizabeth Shepherd manages
to strike exactly the right note in her role as Lady Rowena.
Vincent Price, the master of horror, stars in Roger Corman's Tomb of Ligeia.
Thankfully, the laserdisc is letterboxed, preserving the outstanding compositions
of cinematographer Arthur Grant, whose choice of muted tones is far better suited
to the material than the garish colors which exist in most of the other Poe films.
Corman even rises to the occasion in his direction, which is effective and inspired
at moments. Tomb of Ligea remains essentially true to the spirit of Poe's
work, and its remarkable and unique union of disparate talents makes it worth tracking
down on laserdisc.
Other Films by Roger Corman
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