The Fall of the House of Usher (1950 film)

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The Fall of the House of Usher
Directed by Ivan Barnett
Produced by Ivan Barnett
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (story)
Dorothy Catt
Kenneth Thompson
Starring Gwen Watford
Kay Tendeter
Irving Steen
Vernon Charles
Music by W.L. Trytel
Cinematography Ivan Barnett
Production
  company
GIB Films
Distributed by Vigilant Films
Release date(s) June 1950[1]
Running time 70 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Fall of the House of Usher is a 1950 British horror film directed by Ivan Barnett and starring Gwen Watford, Kay Tendeter and Irving Steen. It is an adaptation of the 1839 short story of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe.

Synopsis[edit]

The film uses a framing device set in a Gentlemen's club where one of the members reads to his friends from a copy of Poe's book. A century before a young man visits a bleak-looking mansion in the English countryside where his friend Lord Roderick Usher lives with his sister Madeline, both of whom are mysteriously ill. He discovers that they are suffering from a curse brought on them by their father which will cause them both to die shortly, leading to the downfall of the ancient family of Usher.

Production and release[edit]

The film was made in Hastings by a low-budget company GIB Films. Ivan Barnett produced the film and also worked as director and cinematographer. Worked commenced in 1947, but it wasn't fully released until 1950. It was issued an 'H' Certificate, a rarity at the time, by the British Board of Film Censors. Despite its limited budget the film proved surprisingly successful on its release as a second feature and even topped the bill in some cinemas.[2] It was reissued in 1955 and again in 1961.[3] It may have been an influence on the subsequent development of Hammer Horror.[4]

Cast[edit]

  • Gwen Watford as Lady Usher
  • Kay Tendeter as Lord Roderick Usher
  • Irving Steen as Jonathan
  • Vernon Charles as Dr. Cordwall
  • Connie Goodwin as Louise
  • Gavin Lee as The Butler
  • Keith Lorraine as George
  • Lucy Pavey as The Hag
  • Tony Powell-Bristow as Richard
  • Robert Wolard as Greville

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harper p.232
  2. ^ Chibnall & McFarlane p.210
  3. ^ Harper p.232
  4. ^ Chibnall & McFarlane p.210

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chibnall, Steve & McFarlane, Steve. The British 'B' Film. Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.
  • Harper, Sue. Picturing the Past: The Rise and Fall of the British Costume Film. British Film Institute, 1994.

External links[edit]