|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Tomb of Ligeia, The
The final collaboration between Vince Price and Roger Corman was once again a ‘Poe picture' but this time around Corman wanted to do things differently and shoot large stretches on location rather than in a more controlled soundstage environment as he'd done on their earlier work together. As such, the film is very different looking than those earlier efforts, but 1964's The Tomb Of Ligeia, once again made for American International Pictures, deftly succeeds as an interesting and atmospheric testament to their collective strengths.
In this picture, Vincent Price plays a man named Verden Fell who is distraught over the recent passing of his beautiful wife, Ligeia (Elizabeth Shepherd). Some days later he makes the acquaintance of Lady Rowena Trevanian (Shepherd again), a dead ringer for his dearly departed. They fall fast in love and are soon married and off on their honeymoon together. When they return to Fell's mansion home, the arrival of a black cat and simultaneous disappearance of her husband causes Rowena to become quite afraid, a matter not helped by the arrival of recurring nightmares shortly thereafter, nightmares in which her husband turns into his deceased wife and murders Rowena!
Rowena isn't the only one affected by whatever it is that's haunting the home. Verden tends to disappear for long stretches of time and return to the home as if in a trance. An attempt to help things with hypnosis ends poorly and eventually Rowena's former beau, Christopher Gough (John Westbrook), teams up with Fell's servant, Kenrick (Oliver Johnston) to try and get to the bottom of things.
While the interiors are shot on a studio set, the outdoor sequences shot in the English countryside really help to give this final Poe film a strong, gothic atmosphere. Like the best Poe work, there's a very obvious romantic streak running through the story, and the locations chosen for the outdoor scenes compliment this quite well. Price's leading role is in tune with the film's visuals, he is far more restrained here than in The Raven or The Comedy Of Terrors and his Verden Fell is so far removed from the Egghead character he was playing on the Batman TV series around this same time that he almost seems like a completely different actor. The fact that he's heavily made up to look quite a bit younger than he was helps here too, but Price plays this all completely straight and as such, garners all the pathos from the audience needed to make the story work as well as it does. Elizabeth Shepherd is also very good here in her dual role, equal parts frightening and frightened depending on what the scene calls for.
The Tomb Of Ligeia is presented in AVC encoded 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen with a transfer given 26.6Gbs of space on a 50GB disc. It's a solid picture to be sure, showing nice detail and very good color reproduction. It's likely taken from the same master used in the Shout! Factory boxed set but that isn't an issue per se as the picture quality on that release was very good. Black levels are strong and while, sure, a new 4k scan would have pulled more detail out of the elements what's here is solid. There are no issues with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts and the source used was quite clean as there's very little print damage here to complain about.
The only audio option for the feature is a 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 track in English with optional subtitles provided, also in English. This isn't a particularly fancy track but it sounds good, balancing the score and the dialogue properly and offering up the sound effects used in the picture with solid punch. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion, this is a fine mix.
Extras start off with a new commentary from Tim Lucas which, in typical Lucas fashion, is hyper-detailed and very informative. There's a LOT of info here about Poe's source material but so too is there a LOT of information here about the film's history. Lucas covers everything from the origins of the Ligeia concept to promotional advertising materials created to promote the movie, managing to cover all sorts of things in between like Kenneth Jones' score, Poe's tendencies to pervert mythology to his own devices, differences between the source material and the filmed version, notes on the cast and crew, lots of thoughts on Price's performance and Corman's direction and lots, lots more. It's quite interesting and very much worth your time.
Carried over from past editions is the original audio commentary from the previous DVD release that was delivered by producer/director Roger Corman. Like most of Corman's tracks, it's a good discussion with a fair bit of emphasis on the technical side of things. Of course, he expresses his admiration for what Price was able to bring to the role and he talks about the differences in this picture in regards to its style when compared to some of the other Poe films that they made together. New to this set is an audio commentary with actress Elizabeth Shepherd, moderated by Roy Frumkes. Shepherd has plenty of pleasant memories of this shoot, having quite enjoyed working on the film from the sounds of things. Here she shares some great stories about working with Price and Corman both. It doesn't deliver scores of new information but getting to hear things from the actress' point of view as opposed to the director's documents the film from a different and equally interesting perspective.
The disc also includes a trailer for the feature, a Trailers From Hell entry with Joe Dante, as well as bonus trailers for The Raven, The Comedy Or Terrors, Master Of The World, The Last Man On Earth, Scream And Scream Again, Theater Of Blood and The House Of Long Shadows. Menus and chapter selection are also offered and this release comes packaged with a slipcover.
Kino's Blu-ray release of The Tomb Of Ligeia offers up a really solid slice of gothic-inspired horror in a very nice presentation and with a strong array of extras. It might not be the best of the Corman/Price Poe cycle but it's a great film none the less and comes highly recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.