Edgar Allan Poe’s the Raven: Watch an Award-Winning Short Film That Modernizes Poe’s Classic Tale

In 1909, ear­ly cin­e­mat­ic auteur D.W. Grif­fith offered his sev­en-minute inter­pre­ta­tion of Edgar Allan Poe com­pos­ing his acclaimed and wide­ly-read poem “The Raven.” In 2011, film­mak­er Don Thiel offered his twelve-minute inter­pre­ta­tion of an encounter between a writer named Poe, appar­ent­ly young and not long out of the mil­i­tary, and a state­ly talk­ing raven — an encounter that takes place not in the mod­ern day, nor in the first half of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry dur­ing which the real Poe lived, but in the win­ter of 1959, over a cen­tu­ry after Poe died — and in a Hol­ly­wood room, no less.

Poe made his name on tales of mys­tery and imag­i­na­tion; Edgar Allan Poe’s the Raven adds anoth­er lay­er of mys­tery and imag­i­na­tion atop it all. The effort won the film sev­er­al awards, includ­ing Best Short at the H.P. Love­craft Film Fes­ti­val.

That might at first seem like an odd place for an adap­ta­tion of a poem of long­ing like “The Raven,” how­ev­er delib­er­ate­ly skewed, to earn its hon­ors. But you could see Love­craft, who launched his own life’s career in elab­o­rate explo­rations of dread beyond man’s direct com­pre­hen­sion almost exact­ly a cen­tu­ry ago, as Poe’s lit­er­ary heir.

But then, unlike Poe and “The Raven,” Love­craft nev­er claimed to have writ­ten any­thing delib­er­ate­ly and sin­gle­mind­ed­ly to max­i­mize the sat­is­fac­tion of the widest pos­si­ble audi­ence. Indeed, Love­craft’s work, how­ev­er influ­en­tial on that of lat­er imag­i­na­tive writ­ers, remains in the shad­owy realm of the “cult,” while Poe’s has ascend­ed onto the plane of required read­ing. Edgar Allan Poe’s the Raven, which envi­sions Poe’s most famous piece of work with booze, cig­a­rettes, yel­low­ing pat­terned wall­pa­per, lurid light­ing, eight-mil­lime­ter film, a Coro­na type­writer, and oth­er arti­facts of mid­cen­tu­ry dis­so­lu­tion, shows us that they’ve done so in part by tran­scend­ing time and place. Long­ing, it seems, nev­er gets old.

Edgar Allan Poe’s the Raven will be added to our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load The Com­plete Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Macabre Sto­ries as Free eBooks & Audio Books

The First Biopic of Edgar Allan Poe: 1909 Film by D.W. Grif­fith Shows the Hor­ror Mas­ter Writ­ing “The Raven”

Edgar Allan Poe Ani­mat­ed: Watch Four Ani­ma­tions of Clas­sic Poe Sto­ries

The Simp­sons Present Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” and Teach­ers Now Use It to Teach Kids the Joys of Lit­er­a­ture

Hear the 14-Hour “Essen­tial Edgar Allan Poe” Playlist: “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” & Much More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (5)
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  • Bryon says:

    Here’s anoth­er mar­velous Raven video: Chicago’s beloved Flat Five doing there thing:


  • Ohm says:

    Oh, blast those that remove (some of) the con­trols from the video when they embed it. One needs to see how many min­utes the video has and be able to jump through its length back and forth, as nec­es­sary.

    But thanks for final­ly list­ing it here, it’s a nice treat indeed.

  • Gokay says:

    Nice sto­ry telling and direc­tion, yet I’ve to say I don’t like the act­ing, espe­cial­ly how he smokes, was exag­ger­at­ed.

  • phil says:

    Have you got­ten high yet since this post ? A slow draw off a joint is nor­mal . Re think it all 2 yrs lat­er ??? are you of the same opin­ion ?

  • Sharon says:

    When I first start­ed watch­ing, I was hes­i­tant. I did not like the breaks in the nar­ra­tor’s read­ing with actu­al dia­log. But as I con­tin­ued to watch, I saw how it all came togeth­er beau­ti­ful­ly. Know­ing the back­ground of Poe, I can pic­ture this being almost exact­ly how it occurred. The sheer mad­ness of it. I was not hap­py with all smok­ing either, until I real­ly lis­tened to the words that were being said. Poe made ref­er­ence to those burn­ing embers through­out the entire poem, so nat­u­ral­ly it was need­ed to under­stand what was caus­ing him to be delu­sion­al. The crazed act­ing even played into the poem and helped you to visu­al­ize Poe and his rapid decent into luna­cy. Excel­lent Job!

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