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The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

La chute de la maison Usher (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 5 October 1928 (France)
Allan visits the sinister Usher family mansion, where his friend Roderick is painting a portrait of his sickly wife Madeline. The portrait seems to be draining the life out of Madeline, slowly leading to her death.

Director:

Jean Epstein

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (short story), Luis Buñuel (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jean Debucourt ... Sir Roderick Usher
Marguerite Gance Marguerite Gance ... Madeleine Usher
Charles Lamy Charles Lamy ... Allan - the Guest
Fournez-Goffard Fournez-Goffard ... The Doctor
Luc Dartagnan Luc Dartagnan ... Bar costumer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abel Gance ... Bar costumer
Halma Halma ... Bar Waiter
Pierre Hot Pierre Hot ... Bar costumer
Pierre Kefer Pierre Kefer ... Bar costumer
Edit

Storyline

Allan has a hard time finding the Usher's house, which is known to be cursed... But he is a personal friend of Roderick Usher, who lives with his sick wife Madeline and a doctor. Roderick is painting a portrait of Madeline, but every pose exhausts her. Allan worries more and more... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

5 October 1928 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La caída de la casa Usher See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Films Jean Epstein See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel, who was Assistant Director, quit the picture after clashing with producer/director Jean Epstein over Epstein's decision to basically ignore Edgar Allan Poe's story. See more »

Connections

Version of The Fall of the House of Usher (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An artistically brilliant version of the famous story
13 September 2010 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

As was inevitable, movies of the silent era depended on their imagery in a way that became less important after the introduction of sound. During the same time period there were a number of hugely significant art movements that would influence the relatively new medium of cinema. Art trends such as cubism, dada, expressionism and surrealism had enormous impact on films of the time. The Fall of the House of Usher is a good example of a film based on 19th century literature but brought to the screen via the artistic sensibilities of the day, namely expressionism and surrealism. Because of this, like its peers such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu, it has attained a timeless quality and it will always remain a fascinating art-horror film.

The plot-line such that it is, is about a man named Allan who visits his friend Roderick Usher at his remote mansion. Usher lives with his sick wife Madeline, who suffers from some mysterious unknown disease. He is obsessed in painting a portrait of her. She dies and Usher, unable to accept it, descends into madness.

The tone is definitely downbeat and this is reflected by the gloomy haunting imagery used throughout. The strikingly inventive visuals escalate as the film progresses as a way of reflecting Roderick Usher's journey into insanity. Billowing curtains, close-ups of a giant pendulum, a haunting painting of Usher's wife, a moon-lit trip to the mausoleum and swirling mist are just some of the details captured. The film is overloaded in creepy Gothic atmosphere. Production design is excellent, with the grounds of the mansion populated with dead trees and swirling mist, while the interior has enormously high ceilinged rooms decorated with mirrors, curtains and Gothic furniture. In keeping with the film's artistic bent, everything is photographed quite excellently with many close-ups and unusual angles. The overall feeling of the film is that of a fever-dream which is very much in keeping with the central character's damaged state of mind.

In the best silent films, the storyline is very much secondary to the ambiance. The Fall of the House of Usher is no different and is one of the greatest silent horror films. It's an often quite stunning mood piece and comes highly recommended.


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