Movies, TV and a Play

TALES OF TERROR (1962) is the Poe anthology in which Price grieves for his lost Morella, Peter Lorre is undone by The Black Cat (in a segment that mashes that story up with Cask of Amontillado) and Basil Rathbone traps M. Valdemar in a living death through the power of mesmerism in order to get his hands on Debra Paget (I’m guessing this influenced both Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” and Fritz Leiber’s “The Dead Man.”) The middle section is weak, the first reasonably effective (an impressively decayed mansion) but odd (why does Morella want to kill Price as well as her daughter?) the third surprisingly strong. “I placed the poison in your wine with the consummate skill of a Borgia!”
TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963) has Price switch from Poe to Hawthorne as to old friends Price and Sebastian Cabot regain their youth and a youthful rivalry in Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, a student in Padua learns why Rapaccini’s Daughter is condemned to eternal chastity and Vincent Price and Beverly Garland try to cheat a family curse in The House of Seven Gables. Better overall, the first section pulling off a real air of tragedy while the last is extremely entertaining, with Price in fine form as an utter blackguard. “I shall gladly share the wealth with you—for as long as you live.”

The third season of SAPPHIRE AND STEEL has the enigmatic temporal enforcers (second season reviewed here)looking into a family of time-traveling researchers who seem to be under attack by something monstrous, which also poses a threat to the 20th century world. As usual for these, the ending isn’t terribly logical, but it is effective viewing. It’s also of interest for giving them more personality than usual (Steel and the technician Silver seem quite possessive of Sapphire). “Animal blood? What do you think they did?”

AS YOU LIKE IT was a local production in a “bluegrass” style so the Arcadian characters are dressed like hillbillies and the evil Duke is dressed as a Tennessee Williams Big Daddy-style Southern patriarch. Shakespeare After All details how the story mocks the pastoral conventions of Shakespeare’s day (mooning, poetry-writing shepherds ,swooning lovers, freedom of the greenwood) as an astonishing number of people become refugees in the Forest of Arden, pursue lovers with varying levels of success and finally get to return home when the Duke of Doom has an offstage religious conversion. A good production with a delightfully goofy Rosalind, though the melancholic Jacques was bland and Audrey nowhere near as gormless as some I’ve seen. “Men have died before and worms have eaten them, but not, I think, for love.”

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