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Allan (Charles Lamy) has come to visit his old friend Roderick Usher
(Jean Debucourt) in his creepy mansion that's shunned by the locals, and
though Allan seems to refuse to see it, it's obvious that Roderick is
slowly going insane. He paints the portrait of his wife Madeleine
(Marguerite Gance) like a maniac, unable so see her failing health it
seems - or rather unwilling to help her before his picture is finished -
and once the painting is done, Madeleine breaks down, dead. Roderick
though is convinced she will come back to life and refuses to have her
coffin nailed shut ... and return she does, to lay final waste to the
already decaying house of Usher.
La Chute de la Maison Usher
is simply a joy to look at, it impresses its audience with expressionist
and surreal imagery, very artistic camerawork and (at least for its time)
innovative shots and camera movements. However, the exquisite look of the
movie is not mirrored in its story, which is, simply put, moronic.
Basically, many liberties have been taken with Edgar Allan Poe's original
short story, and all to the film's disadvantage. Plus, the newly deviced
plot elements are only poorly integrated into the film's plot while the
elements retained from the original now seem weirdly unhinged. On top of
that, none of the characters really come to life, they all just remain
rough concepts throughout, which doesn't help one bit either.
film is wonderful to look at - but basically, that's it!