Episode 290 – The House of Usher (1960)

Spit fire and save matches, we’ve got us a new series! And it’s a doozy, recognizing one of the greatest most talented highly influential directors of the last hundred years. Who you may ask? Ron Howard? Sure, “Apollo 13” is decent and “A Beautiful Mind” won some minor awards like an Oscar but did he bring us “Dinoshark”? No, he did not! Martin Scorsese? Yeah, yeah, “Raging Bull,” “Mean Streets,” those are ok, I guess, but they’re no “Attack of the Crab Monsters”! What about Francis Ford Coppola? I guess some people like “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” but come on, what are they compared to “Teenage Caveman”? But you know what all these directors have in common? They all got their starts working with one man. One exceptional man. One single man. One Cor-man. Yes, these giants of Hollywood, and many others, owe a great debt to recently-departed director/producer/occasional-kind-of-actor Roger Corman, a man who has his name on almost four hundred movies. With this series, we are exhorting you, one and all, to “Be Like the Cor-Man” and we’re starting off with one of his interpretations of an Edgar Allen Poe story (and he did a bunch of those!), “The House of Usher” (or “The Fall of the House of Usher,” as it was sometimes marketed. Or my favorite: “The House of Usher Goes to Hawaii”. Thought that of course was never released). What is it about the Cor-man that has left so indelible a impression upon American film-making? Give a listen, and we’ll try to clue you in!

Poll question: what is your favorite decade/era for film making? If you look closely, which decade has most of your favorites and why?

3 thoughts on “Episode 290 – The House of Usher (1960)”

  1. Fall of the house of usher is maybe the best of the Corman Poe films, though most of them are in another realm compared to many of his other films. True it doesn’t follow the story well but Vincent Price makes it work. “Roderick’s disease ” was thought to be a real diagnosis for a long while and I am 100% sure I have it. Masque of the Red Death is another Poe adaptation that is pretty darn trippy and worth a look. The modern opera of Usher by Phillip Glass I saw in a theatre near Harvard Square was so bad people laughed out louf even though Glass was sitting in the audience… right in front of me. We held it in until the awkwardly sung line, “How is your sister?” “She is deaaaaaad.”

    May favourite film era is a little undefined, the mid 20’s to the late 30’s have the most film I really go for and admire I think. I love blanc and white, shadows and all the innovation taking place that gave us the cinema we know today.

  2. Oh man, so many great movies came out of that time period! Thanks, Vince!
    Good lord, a Phillip Glass opera? With actual words? I had no idea there was such a thing! I’m sure he appreciated your restraint, but there are limits!

    1. He got up and left… we were literally rolling on the floor and for years if one of us asked how someone was, the other would sing … “he/she is deaaaaaaad.”i felt terrible for the singers, they were good but stuck singing ridiculous crap to repetitive music!

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