The Raven (1935)
Director: Lew Landers aka Louis Friedlander
Screenplay: David Boehm based on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews, Irene Ware, Samuel S. Hinds, Spencer Charters and Ian Wolfe
Tagline: While this mad surgical genius chanted “The Raven,” horrible screams rose up from his torture chamber below!
Dr. Richard Vollin (Lugosi), who is obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, is called out of retirement to perform a life-saving operation on Jean Thatcher (Ware). The operation is a success. Jean and Dr. Vollin become friends. As the friendship grows, Vollin becomes obsessed with Jean.
When escaped killer Edmond Bateman (Karloff) shows up at Dr. Vollin’s mansion asking for a facelift, Vollin comes up with a sick plan. He performs the operation, but turns Bateman into a hideous looking monster. Vollin says he will fix Bateman’s face if Bateman will help him kill Jean’s fiance and father. Vollin plans to murder them using methods based on Edgar Allan Poe stories.
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…
Although Bela Lugosi had the leading role in The Raven, Boris Karloff got top billing. In addition Karloff earned $10,000 to Lugosi’s $5,000. Lugosi was reportedly unhappy to learn this news.
The idea of disfiguring an escaped murderer to make him do your bidding is an interesting take. Credit to the writers to wrap that idea around an obsession with Edgar Allan Poe. I wish the end result was as good as the ideas.
The Raven earns 2 of 5 stars.