Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Bloody Pit #71 - THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES (1940)

Once again we travel back to 1940 to check in on the horror film output of Universal Studio! This time we have an adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES. Filmed both before and since it's as straightforward an example of a melodrama filled with familial guilt and resentment played out against a background of possible supernatural components as you are likely to find. Did someone say Gothic Romance? Well - I did, even if this might not be exactly what some think of when imagining that specific type of creepy tale. I make the argument that this film may have been the template for a few dozen similar tales over the decades with Troy pointing out the Dan Curtis connection as well. This movie casts a long, dark shadow indeed!

We dig deeply into the film, happy that we get to talk about Vincent Price one more time before he exits Universal. The rest of the cast is even more impressive with George Sanders playing his standard cad character with arch skill. But it's the amazing Margret Lindsey as Hepzibah that takes top acting honors bringing real longing and nuanced emotion to the most difficult role in the story. We get return visits from Alan Napier, Cecil Kellaway and Nan Grey with singing cowboy Dick Foran making his debut in a Universal Horror film. As the discussion continues we talk about the changes and additions to the original story with special attention paid to future victim of the Black List, screenwriter Lester Cole. We also touch on the visual choices made by director Joe May. This is a beautiful movie with much of interest to classic horror fans and romantic drama aficionados too.

If you have any comments or questions please write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com and let us know what's on your mind. Thank you for downloading and listening!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A little late on commenting on this, but a good podcast.

Your co-host mentioned that he knew the name Hepzibah from somewhere, but couldn't remember where.

If you both are fans of Walt Kelly's wonderful comic strip "Pogo", Mam'selle Hepzibah was the name of the French-accented female skunk who was Pogo's sometime-love interest (with the interest more on her part than his.) June Foray voiced her on the 1970s animated special.

Your podcast also reminded me that the land grant, that is such a plot point in this, was also a central plot point in Vincent Price's The Baron of Arizona, based on the real-life story of the scoundrel who forged Spanish land grants to lay claim to most of the state of Arizona.

Once again, fun podcast, I listen to it often.