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PosterCo Ltd

The Raven - Karloff and Lugosi - Movie Poster Framed Picture - 11 x 14

£25.00

The Raven is a 1935 American horror film directed by Lew Landers and starred Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi.

The picture revolves around Edgar Allan Poe's famous homonymous poem, featuring Lugosi as a Poe-obsessed mad surgeon with a torture chamber in his basement and Karloff as a fugitive murderer desperately on the run from the police. Lugosi had the lead role but Karloff received top billing, using only his last name, Universal Studio's publicity strategy during much of the decade while Karloff was at his height, ending with Son of Frankenstein (1939), in which Boris Karloff was billed with his full name under the titular Basil Rathbone but again above Bela Lugosi despite the Hungarian actor having a larger role.

Almost three decades later, Karloff also appeared in another film with the same title, Roger Corman's 1963 comedy The Raven with Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson. Aside from the title and references to the poem, the two films bear no resemblance to one another.

Universal's pressbook heavily focused on Karloff, calling him "the uncanny master of make-up," as well as the connection to Poe. "Was Edgar Allan Poe a mental derelict?" it asks. The pressbook suggests that Poe's characters were "but a reflection of himself."

Too strong for 1935 tastes, with its themes of torture, disfigurement and grisly revenge, the film did not do particularly well at the box office during its initial release, and indirectly led to a temporary ban on horror films in England. With the genre no longer economically viable, horror went out of vogue. This proved a devastating development at the time for Lugosi, who found himself losing work and struggling to support his family. Universal Pictures changed hands in 1936, and the new management was less interested for the moment in the box office novelty of the macabre.

Outside of being rivals in horror films of the time, with Lugosi resenting Karloff's spectacular success in the wake of playing the role of Frankenstein's monster, both men were united in getting the fledgling Screen Actors Guild off the ground in the mid-1930s. During the production of The Raven, Lugosi encouraged four additional members of the supporting cast to sign with the guild.


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