Thursday, May 19, 2011

The horror is that the movie got produced

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the masters of the horror genre in literature, but when it comes to biopics, he's been given short shrift. Fox produced the movie The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe, which is airing tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM ET on the Fox Movie Channel.

Shepperd Strudwick (billed under the name John Shepperd) plays the writer, who grew up with foster parents (and a foster father who hated him), couldn't abide his father's strict upbringing, fell in love at the University of Virginia, was disowned by his foster father, and eventually married his country cousin; all this while becoming a famous writer who would die in poerty as an alcoholic. If this synopsis seems a bit breezy, that might be because the film version is also quite breezy, glossing over events and quickly running through Poe's life in about 70 minutes.

Poe could be the subject of an interesting biopic, but this isn't it. None of the characters are fleshed out very much, which is a bit of a shame since Fox actually used some of its bigger stars here. Linda Darnell plays the eventual wife; her mother is Jane Darwell. Virginia Gilmore, the later Mrs. Yul Brynner, plays the irst girl. But we don't really get to know any of these people well. If anything, The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe plays more like one of those films a teacher would show class back in the old days of my childhood when they actually had movie projectors in classes.

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