For Reel


Twice-Told Tales (1963)
May 30, 2016, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sidney Salkow
2 Stars
Twice-Told TalesIn the early 1960s, director Roger Corman had great success in adapting the works of Edgar Allen Poe, often collaborating with growing horror icon Vincent Price. Naturally, other studios attempted to get their finger in the pot, and so comes this United Artists adaptation of the works of another 19th century author. Twice-Told Tales loosely adapts three stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, including a streamlined version of his novel The House of the Seven Gables. Anthology films are, by their very nature, uneven, and in this case it is to the film’s great detriment that each story takes roughly 45 minutes of screen time. Only the first tale—”Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, concerning a pair of old friends who discover the fountain of youth to disastrous consequences—fully works on its own, with great performances by Price and Sebastian Cabot. Their relationship, which at moments plays as homoerotic, is tinged with lifelong resentments that bubble to the surface just as the world around them descends into the macabre and grotesque. The second of the stories, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, is the low-point, with Brett Halsey playing a dismal romantic lead—what could have been a deliciously campy erotic thriller is made sexless due to the lack of chemistry in the leads.

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