House of Usher (film)
House of Usher is a 1960 American horror film directed by Roger Corman and written by Richard Matheson from the short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe. The film was the first of eight Corman/Poe feature films and stars Vincent Price, Myrna Fahey, Mark Damon and Harry Ellerbe. In 2005, the film was listed with the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally or aesthetically significant." Versions exist on DVD with running times between 80 minutes. Philip Winthrop travels to the House of Usher, a desolate mansion surrounded by a murky swamp, to meet his fiancée Madeline Usher. Madeline's brother Roderick opposes Philip's intentions, telling the young man that the Usher family is afflicted by a cursed bloodline which has driven all their ancestors to madness. Roderick foresees the family evils being propagated into future generations with a marriage to Madeline and vehemently discourages the union. Philip becomes desperate to take Madeline away. During a heated argument with her brother, Madeline dies and is laid to rest in the family crypt beneath the house.
As Philip is preparing to leave following the entombment, the butler, lets slip that Madeline suffered from catalepsy, a condition which can make its sufferers appear dead. Philip rips finds it empty, he searches for her in the winding passages of the crypt, but she eludes him and confronts her brother. Now insane, Madeline avenges herself upon the brother who knowingly buried her alive. Both die as a fire breaks out, ending the Usher bloodline, Philip escapes and watches the burning house sink into the swampy land surrounding it; the film ends with the final words of Poe's story: "... and the deep and dank tarn closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the'House of Usher'". Vincent Price as Roderick Usher Mark Damon as Philip Winthrop Myrna Fahey as Madeline Usher Harry Ellerbe as Bristol The film was important in the history of American International Pictures which up until had specialized in making low budget black and white films to go out on double bills; the market for this kind of movie was in decline so AIP decided to gamble on making a larger budgeted film in colour.
The film was announced in February 1959 and was dubbed the company's "most ambitious film to date". A number of other companies announced Poe projects around this time: Alex Gordon had a version of Masque of the Red Death, Fox had Murders in the Rue Morgue, Ben Bogeus The Gold Bug, Universal The Raven, it was shot in fifteen days. In February 2011 Intrada made the world premiere release of the Les Baxter score from music-only elements in mono. Track listing Overture Main Title Roderick Usher Madeline Usher Tormented Lute Song Reluctance The Sleepwalker The Vault The Ancestors House Of Evil Catalepsy Pallbearers Buried Alive Fall Of The House Of Usher Eugene Archer, in the September 15, 1960 edition of The New York Times wrote, "American-International, with good intentions of presenting a faithful adaption of Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale of the macabre...blithely ignored the author's style. Poe's prose style, as notable for ellipsis as imagery, compressed or eliminated the expository passages habitual to nineteenth-century fiction and invited the readers' imaginations to participate.
By studiously avoiding explanations not provided by the text, stultifying the audiences' imaginations by turning Poe's murky mansion into a cardboard castle encircled by literal green mist, the film producers have made a horror film that provides a fair degree of literacy at the cost of a patron's patience." He further opined, "Under the low-budget circumstances, Vincent Price and Myrna Fahey should not be blamed for portraying the decadent Ushers with arch affectation, nor Mark Damon held to account for the traces of Brooklynese that creep into his stiffly costumed impersonation of the mystified interloper."Other reviewers have been kinder, however. The film has been mounted with care and flair by producer-director Roger Corman and his staff." Harrison's Reports called it "fairly good entertainment. Although a bit too wordy, the abundant gore, photo gimmicks, special effects and unusual theme, help keep the viewer on his seat's edge." The Monthly Film Bulletin praised the film's "unusually resourceful" camerawork as well as "an excellent central performance" from Vincent Price, finding that although Corman's direction "does not suggest a great stylist in the making, he brings off the big scenes with some invention, as well as making the most of what was only a medium-sized budget."
Betty Martin of the Los Angeles Times called it "a better than average horror film—if that's saying much," adding that Price "does a masterful job" in his role. House of Usher is now regarded as a high point in Corman's filmography, with a 90% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 29 reviews; the film differs from the short story in significant ways. In the short story: the unnamed narrator is not Madeline's fiancée. Bristol is not mentioned. Madeline does not attack Roderick, but falls on him, they die; the house breaks in two before sinking. List of American films of 1960 The Corman-Poe cycle Midnite Movies House of Usher on IMDb House of Usher at MGM House of Usher at AllMovie
The Fall of the House of Usher
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a narrative short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1839 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine before being included in the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840. The short story is a work of gothic fiction and includes themes of madness, family and metaphysical identities; the story begins with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. As he arrives, the narrator notes a thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the building and into the adjacent lake. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Roderick's condition can be described according to its terminology, it includes a form of sensory overload known as hyperesthesia and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is ill and falls into cataleptic, deathlike trances.
Roderick and Madeline are the only remaining members of the Usher family. The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings, attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings "The Haunted Palace" tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be alive, that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Further, Roderick believes. Roderick informs the narrator that his sister has died and insists that she be entombed for two weeks in the family tomb located in the house before being permanently buried; the narrator helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, he notes that Madeline has rosy cheeks, as some do after death. They inter her, but over the next week both Roderick and the narrator find themselves becoming agitated for no apparent reason. A storm begins. Roderick comes to the narrator's bedroom, situated directly above the vault, throws open his window to the storm.
He notices that the tarn surrounding the house seems to glow in the dark, as it glowed in Roderick Usher's paintings, although there is no lightning. The narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel involving a knight named Ethelred who breaks into a hermit's dwelling in an attempt to escape an approaching storm, only to find a palace of gold guarded by a dragon, he finds, hanging on the wall, a shield of shining brass on, written a legend: Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin. As the narrator reads of the knight's forcible entry into the dwelling and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house; when the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a shriek is heard, again within the house. As he relates the shield falling from off the wall, a reverberation and hollow, can be heard. Roderick becomes hysterical, exclaims that these sounds are being made by his sister, in fact alive when she was entombed. Additionally, Roderick somehow knew; the bedroom door is blown open to reveal Madeline standing there.
She falls on her brother, both land on the floor as corpses. The narrator flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of moonlight behind him which causes him to turn back, in time to see the moon shining through the widened crack; as he watches, the House of Usher splits in the fragments sink into the tarn. In "The Fall of the House of Usher", Poe's unnamed narrator is called to visit the House of Usher by Roderick Usher; as his "best and only friend", Roderick asks that he visits. He is persuaded by Roderick's desperation for companionship. Though sympathetic and helpful, the narrator is continually made to be the outsider. From his perspective, the cautionary tale unfolds; the narrator exists as Roderick's audience, as the men are not well acquainted and Roderick is convinced of his impending demise. The narrator is drawn into Roderick's belief after being brought forth to witness the horrors and hauntings of the House of Usher. From his arrival, he notes the family's isolationist tendencies as well as the cryptic and special connection between Madeline and Roderick.
Throughout the tale and her varying states of consciousness, Madeline ignores the Narrator's presence. After Roderick Usher claims that Madeline has died, he helps Usher place her in the underground vault despite noticing Madeline's flushed appearance. During one sleepless night, the Narrator reads aloud to Usher as sounds are heard throughout the mansion, he witnesses Madeline's reemergence and the subsequent death of the twins and Roderick. The narrator is the only character to escape the House of Usher, which he views as it cracks and sinks into the tarn, or mountain lake. Roderick Usher is the twin of one of the last living Ushers. Usher writes to his boyhood friend, about his illness; when the narrator arrives, he is started to see Roderick's appearance is off-putting. He is described by the narrator:gray-white skin, and now the increase in this strangeness of his face had caused so great a change that I
The Fall of the House of Usher (Hammill opera)
The Fall of the House of Usher is an opera by Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith. It is based on the short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Hammill and Smith, two of the co-founders of Van der Graaf Generator, worked sporadically on the opera from 1973 until its first recording was released on Some Bizzare Records in November 1991; the album was available on cassette and a limited edition of 500 double vinyl LPs. The cast of singers was: Hammill himself, playing Roderick Usher and the House Lene Lovich, playing Madeline Usher Andy Bell, playing Montresor Sarah Jane Morris, playing the Chorus Herbert Grönemeyer, playing the HerbalistSmith's libretto takes certain liberties with Poe's source text; the House itself becomes a vocal part, to be sung by the same performer who sings the role of Roderick Usher. The narrator, unnamed in the story, is given the name Montresor, a romantic attachment between Montresor and Madeline Usher is hinted at. In 1999, Hammill regained the rights to the music from Some Bizzare and set about revising the piece.
He re-recorded some of his own vocals. He removed the percussion, added more electric guitar and remixed the entire recording; the results were released as The Fall of the House of Usher on Hammill's own Fie! Label in November 1999. Hammill regards this version as the definitive recorded version of the opera; the opera has never been performed live in its entirety. In the 1980s Hammill performed "The Sleeper" a capella at a Poetry reading festival in Amsterdam in October 1983, in New York in July 1986. At live concerts in 1991 and 1992 Hammill sang a suite of songs from the opera released on the video/DVD In The Passionskirche. "An Unenviable Role" "That Must Be the House" "Architecture" "Sleeper" "One Thing At a Time" "I Shun the Light" "Leave This House" "Dreaming" "Chronic Catalepsy" "Herbalist" "Evil That Is Done" "Five Years Ago" "It's Over Now" "Influence" "No Rot" "She Is Dead" "Beating of the Heart" "Haunted Palace" "I Dared Not Speak" "She Comes Towards the Door/The Fall" Peter Hammill – vocals, guitar, percussion Stuart Gordon – violin various singers – see listing above
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories his tales of mystery and the macabre, he is regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story. He is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction, he was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. Poe was born in the second child of actors David and Elizabeth "Eliza" Arnold Hopkins Poe, his father abandoned the family in 1810, his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia, they never formally adopted him. Tension developed as John Allan and Poe clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, the cost of Poe's secondary education.
He left after a year due to lack of money. Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name, it was at this time that his publishing career began with the anonymous collection Tamerlane and Other Poems, credited only to "a Bostonian". Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement after the death of Frances Allan in 1829. Poe failed as an officer cadet at West Point, declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, he parted ways with John Allan. Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism, his work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore and New York City. He married Virginia Clemm in his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success, but Virginia died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. Poe planned for years to produce his own journal The Penn.
He died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, at age 40. Poe and his works influenced literature around the world, as well as specialized fields such as cosmology and cryptography, he and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today; the Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. He was born Edgar Poe in Boston on January 19, 1809, the second child of English-born actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe Jr, he had a younger sister Rosalie Poe. Their grandfather David Poe Sr. had immigrated from County Cavan, Ireland around 1750. Edgar may have been named after a character in William Shakespeare's King Lear which the couple were performing in 1809, his father abandoned the family in 1810, his mother died a year from consumption. Poe was taken into the home of John Allan, a successful merchant in Richmond, Virginia who dealt in a variety of goods, including tobacco, wheat and slaves.
The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name "Edgar Allan Poe", though they never formally adopted him. The Allan family had Poe baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812. John Allan alternately spoiled and aggressively disciplined his foster son; the family sailed to Britain in 1815, Poe attended the grammar school for a short period in Irvine, Scotland before rejoining the family in London in 1816. There he studied at a boarding school in Chelsea until summer 1817, he was subsequently entered at the Reverend John Bransby's Manor House School at Stoke Newington a suburb 4 miles north of London. Poe moved with the Allans back to Richmond, Virginia in 1820. In 1824, he served as the lieutenant of the Richmond youth honor guard as Richmond celebrated the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette. In March 1825, John Allan's uncle and business benefactor William Galt died, said to be one of the wealthiest men in Richmond, leaving Allan several acres of real estate; the inheritance was estimated at $750,000.
By summer 1825, Allan celebrated his expansive wealth by purchasing a two-story brick home named Moldavia. Poe may have become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster before he registered at the University of Virginia in February 1826 to study ancient and modern languages; the university was in its infancy, established on the ideals of its founder Thomas Jefferson. It had strict rules against gambling, guns and alcohol, but these rules were ignored. Jefferson had enacted a system of student self-government, allowing students to choose their own studies, make their own arrangements for boarding, report all wrongdoing to the faculty; the unique system was still in chaos, there was a high dropout rate. During his time there, Poe lost touch with Royster and became estranged from his foster father over gambling debts, he claimed that Allan had not given him sufficient money to register for classes, purchase texts, procure and furnish a dormitory. Allan did send additional money and clothes, he gave up on the university after a year but did not feel welco
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines; the idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or in large cities, a small orchestra—would play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from improvisation; the term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the "talkies," "sound films," or "talking pictures." Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, the industry had moved into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue and sound effects.
Most early motion pictures are considered lost because the nitrate film used in that era was unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video, it has been claimed that around 75 percent of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data. The earliest precursors to film began with image projection through the use of a device known as the magic lantern, which utilized a glass lens, a shutter, a persistent light source to project images from glass slides onto a wall; these slides were hand-painted, after the advent of photography in the 19th century, still photographs were sometimes used. Thus the invention of a practical photography apparatus preceded cinema by only fifty years; the next significant step toward the invention of cinema was the development of an understanding of image movement. Simulations of movement date as far back as to 1828—only four years after Paul Roget discovered the phenomenon he called "Persistence of Vision."
Roget showed that when a series of still images is shown at a considerable speed in front of a viewer's eye, the images merge into one registered image that appears to show movement. This is an optical illusion, since the image is not moving; this experience was further demonstrated through Roget's introduction of the thaumatrope, a device that spun at a high speed a disk with an image on its surface. The three features necessary for motion pictures to work were "a camera with sufficiently high shutter speed, a filmstrip capable of taking multiple exposures swiftly, means of projecting the developed images on a screen." The first projected proto-movie was made by Eadweard Muybridge between 1877 and 1880. Muybridge set up a row of cameras along a racetrack and timed image exposures to capture the many stages of a horse's gallop; the oldest surviving film was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was a two-second film of people walking in "Oakwood streets" garden, titled Roundhay Garden Scene.
The development of American inventor Thomas Edison's Kinetograph, a photographic device that captured sequential images, his Kinetoscope, a device for viewing those images, allowed for the creation and exhibition of short films. Edison made a business of selling Kinetograph and Kinetoscope equipment, which laid the foundation for widespread film production. Due to Edison's lack of securing an international patent on his film inventions, similar devices were "invented" around the world. In France, for example and Louis Lumière created the Cinématographe, which proved to be a more portable and practical device than both of Edison's as it combined a camera, film processor, projector in one unit. In contrast to Edison's "peepshow"-style kinetoscope, which only one person could watch through a viewer, the cinematograph allowed simultaneous viewing by multiple people, their first film, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in 1894, is considered the first true motion picture. The invention of celluloid film, strong and flexible facilitated the making of motion pictures.
This film was 35 mm wide and was pulled using four sprocket holes, which became the industry standard. This doomed the cinematograph; the art of motion pictures grew into full maturity in the "silent era". The height of the silent era was a fruitful period, full of artistic innovation; the film movements of Classical Hollywood as well as French Impressionism, German Expressionism, Soviet Montage began in this period. Silent filmmakers pioneered the art form to the extent that every style and genre of film-making of the 20th and 21st centuries has its artistic roots in the silent era; the silent era was a pioneering one from a technical point of view. Three-point lighting, the close-up, long shot and continuity editing all became prevalent long before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" or "talkies" in the late 1920s; some scholars claim that the artistic quality of cinema decreased for several years, during the early 1930s, until film directors and production staff adapted to the new "talkies" around the late 1930s.
The Fall of the Louse of Usher
The Fall of the Louse of Usher is a 2002 British arthouse horror comedy film directed by Ken Russell. The film is loosely based on several Edgar Allan Poe stories, notably "The Fall of the House of Usher". Rock star Roddy Usher is confined to an insane asylum after murdering his wife. During his time there he is given various shock treatments by Nurse Smith and Dr Calahari, resulting in a series of bizarre and nightmarish adventures; the Fall of the Louse of Usher features many of Russell's trademarks including sexuality, musical sequences and over-the-top acting. The film incorporates musical and comedy elements, with scenes exaggerating the cheapness of the props, despite being a horror film. Critics agreed that the film was not as polished as Russell's earlier work. For example, Paul Higson of The Zone website called the production design "kindergarten level"; the Fall of the Louse of Usher on IMDb The Fall of the Louse of Usher at AllMovie The Fall of the Louse of Usher at Rotten Tomatoes
The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer; the avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981; the avant-garde promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning, evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel", which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social and economic reform.
Several writers have attempted to map the parameters of avant-garde activity. The Italian essayist Renato Poggioli provides one of the earliest analyses of vanguardism as a cultural phenomenon in his 1962 book Teoria dell'arte d'avanguardia. Surveying the historical, social and philosophical aspects of vanguardism, Poggioli reaches beyond individual instances of art and music to show that vanguardists may share certain ideals or values which manifest themselves in the non-conformist lifestyles they adopt: He sees vanguard culture as a variety or subcategory of Bohemianism. Other authors have attempted both to extend Poggioli's study; the German literary critic Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde looks at the Establishment's embrace of critical works of art and suggests that in complicity with capitalism, "art as an institution neutralizes the political content of the individual work". Bürger's essay greatly influenced the work of contemporary American art-historians such as the German Benjamin H. D. Buchloh.
Buchloh, in the collection of essays Neo-avantgarde and Culture Industry critically argues for a dialectical approach to these positions. Subsequent criticism theorized the limitations of these approaches, noting their circumscribed areas of analysis, including Eurocentric and genre-specific definitions; the concept of avant-garde refers to artists, writers and thinkers whose work is opposed to mainstream cultural values and has a trenchant social or political edge. Many writers and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch by New York art critic Clement Greenberg, published in Partisan Review in 1939. Greenberg argued that vanguard culture has been opposed to "high" or "mainstream" culture, that it has rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture, produced by industrialization; each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism—they are all now substantial industries—and as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art.
For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch: phony, faked or mechanical culture, which pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are surreal. Various members of the Frankfurt School argued similar views: thus Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their essay The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass-Deception, Walter Benjamin in his influential "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". Where Greenberg used the German word kitsch to describe the antithesis of avant-garde culture, members of the Frankfurt School coined the term "mass culture" to indicate that this bogus culture is being manufactured by a newly emerged culture industry, they pointed out that the rise of this industry meant that artistic excellence was displaced by sales figures as a measure of worth: a novel, for example, was judged meritorious on whether it became a best-seller, music succumbed to ratings charts and to the blunt commercial logic of the Gold disc.
In this way the autonomous artistic merit so dear to the vanguardist was abandoned and sales became the measure, justification, of everything. Consumer culture now ruled; the avant-garde's co-option by the global capitalist market, by neoliberal economies, by what Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle, have made contemporary critics speculate on the possibility of a meaningful avant-garde today. Paul Mann's Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde demonstrates how the avant-garde is embedded within institutional structures today, a thought pursued by Richard Schechner in his analyses of avant-garde performance. Despite the central arguments of Greenberg and others, various sectors of the mainstream culture industry have co-opted and misapplied the term "avant-garde" since the 1960s, chiefly as a marketing tool to publicise popular music and commercial