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Twice Told Tales (1963) - Blu-ray Review

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Twice Told Tales (1963) - Blu-ray Review

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3 beersIt was only a matter of time. Poe couldn’t be the sole horror author to get ALL the attention from the cinema. And so, when it came to a new round of anthology items to consider, Vincent Price found himself caught inside the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Gothicism in Admiral Pictures’ production of Twice Told Tales. The trio of tales in this anthology aren’t exactly up to the same quality that graced AIP’s Roger Corman films but, as far as wannabes go, they do represent a decent attempt to cash in on a movement that wasn’t quite ready for the grave.

Be warned, though, Twice Told Tales is fairly sedentary.

Beginning with a loose adaptation of “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, director Sidney Salkow (The Last Man on Earth) opens the cinematic book on Hawthorne’s work by dumbing it down a bit more than you might have expected. While there is still a mysterious liquor that returns the old to their youth, the focus of this version of the tale is more on a scandalous affair between Price and actress Mari Blanchard while her soon-to-be-husband (The Time Machine’s Sebastian Cabot) pined away for her. Upon her resurrection, their betrayal is also unearthed and, well, everyone pays the price.

In the next story, a very simple take on “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Price portrays the mad scientist responsible for no one being able to touch his daughter (Joyce Taylor) without perishing after being wronged by her mother many years ago. Thing is, she can’t touch either and, when her heart starts to beat for the new boy in town (Brett Halsey), a choice for eternal happiness or eternal damnation must be made by all parties.

The final adaptation in the anthology, “The House of the Seven Gables”, is perhaps the most unusual in that it’s actually a full-fledged book on Hawthorne’s condescended from over 20 chapters into about 40 minutes. Price plays a man who returns home along with his wife (Beverly Garland) and flies in the face of the family curse that suggests death and destruction to all Pyncheon’s who live there thanks to an ancestor who was cursed for the wrongful sentencing of an innocent man accused of being a witch.

Although popular opinion has Twice Told Tales associated with Corman, one viewing from someone familiar with Corman’s production values will note the lack of atmosphere to much of the on-screen happenings. Oh, it definitely wants you to think the stories here are from the same capable hands but a careful scan will reveal otherwise. And the adaptations are literal bores and entirely too crooked of breaks from the source material.

When you add all of this up, Twice Told Tales seems like all too quick of a fix for us horror junkies. Most won’t care. It’s gothic-minded, made in the early ‘60s, and stars Price. What more could we ask for? Okay, so there’s very little reason other than “cashing in” on the Poe craze for there to be any reason for the film’s existence BUT isn’t that the very nature of the schlocky flicks? Pretty much.

If the image of a skeleton choking the life out of Vincent Price isn’t enough for you, then Twice Told Tales is a story you wouldn’t even want to see once.

 

Twice Told Tales (1963) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
120 mins
Director
: Sidney Salkow
Writer:
Robert E. Kent
Cast:
Vincent Price, Joyce Taylor, Sebastian Cabot
Genre
: Horror | Mystery
Tagline:
A trio of terror!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Your daughter is a fine specimen, too, isn't she father? A specimen of the most deadly thing that was ever given life."
Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
September, 1963
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 1, 2015
Synopsis: 3 horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the 1st story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of three elderly friends. In "Rappaccini's Daughter", Vincent Price plays a demented father innoculating his daughter with poison so she may never leave her garden of poisonous plants. In the final story "The House of the Seven Gables", The Pyncheon family suffers from a hundred year old curse and while in the midst of arguing over inheritance, the Pyncheon brother kills his sister.

Twice Told Tales (1963) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 1, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Kino Lorber releases Twice Told Tales with a 1080p AVC-encoded transfer (1.67:1 aspect ratio). Detail is very pleasing throughout and the strong use of color the much of the ‘60s filmic output employed comes through on the transfer well. There are only a few blips in the prints used. All of the films are presented in an okay DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. Dialogue, music cues and sound effects are pretty much as crisp and as clear as one could expect.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Film Historians Richard Harland Smith and Perry Martin compliment the release of the film with a commentary that is at times a bit more interesting than the movie itself. They are very knowledgeable and dive into the history of both the film, its director, Price, and Hawthorne himself.

Special Features:

Nothing much to report here. Outside of the commentary, there is only Mick Garris discussing the film and Price’s popularity with a Trailers from Hell segment and the original Theatrical Trailer.

Trailers from Hell (3 min) Original Theatrical Trailer

 

 

 

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