THE RAVEN
1963, MGM Repertory, 86 min, USA, Dir: Roger Corman

Director Roger Corman’s most liberal Edgar Allan Poe adaptation is a charmingly offbeat comic fantasy, with Vincent Price as a benevolent sorcerer challenged by evil magician Boris Karloff to prove who is the most powerful. Mutual friend and chicken-hearted wizard Peter Lorre, with Jack Nicholson tagging along (as Lorre’s son!), get caught in the middle of the magic duel. Both cinematographer Floyd Crosby and art director Daniel Haller help to make this eye-popping film more expensive-looking than it actually was. With Hazel Court.


THE BRIBE
1949, MGM [Warner Bros.], 98 min, USA, Dir: Robert Z. Leonard

Less a coherent drama than a sweaty fever-dream of ’40s film noir, THE BRIBE features an all-star cast (Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, John Hodiak) trapped on the steamy Caribbean isle of “Carlota” (as only MGM’s art department could render it), perspiring through a convoluted tale of romance, disease and WWII contraband. Skip the logic and wallow in the exotic artifice of this sublime noir fantasia, directed by Robert Z. Leonard, photographed by the great Joe Ruttenberg and scored by the magnificent Miklos Rozsa!


LAURA
1944, 20th Century Fox, 88 min, Dir: Otto Preminger

Investigating a murder, chain-smoking Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews) falls in love with the dead woman - only to find out that it wasn't she who was murdered. Even in a genre known for its convoluted twists, LAURA is a one-of-a-kind film noir. The brilliant cast includes Gene Tierney as the gorgeous Laura, Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker and Vincent Price as Laura's fiancé, Shelby Carpenter. The famous haunting and nostalgic musical theme by David Raksin is unforgettable. The film is said to have been an inspiration for David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.”


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