The Fall of the House of Usher

Get ready to be haunted by this brooding and impressionistic adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's creepy Gothic tale of obsession and madness.

An unnamed man pays a visit to the decaying, aristocratic mansion of his childhood friend, Roderick Usher. He finds Usher to be demented... obsessed by death, consumed with fear that his beloved wife Madeline will die, and no less fearful that she will be buried alive. He spends his days painting an eerily lifelike portrait of Madeline, but with each brushstroke the life seems to drain from her.

Epstein's version changes the relationship of Madeline and Roderick from brother and sister to husband and wife but matches the horror and menace of Poe's story, with weird, surreal images and an insidious atmosphere conveyed by the glowering halls, fluttering curtains, and nightmarish suggestiveness of the veil and coffin.

Stephen Horne and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry will premiere their musical collaboration on this title, to be reprised at the Barbican, London in April.

Dir. Jean Epstein | France | 1928 | N/C PG | French intertitles with English surtitles | 1h 3m
With: Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy, Fournez-Goffard

Performing live: Stephen Horne (piano, flute, accordion) and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry (harp)

Screening material courtesy of La Cinémathèque française
Image © Collection de La cinémathèque française


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