Sunday, January 31, 2010

Twice-Told Tales (1963)

Twice-Told Tales is a reference to a collection of short stories written by 19th century writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The 1837 work contained 36 stories. The 1963 movie contains three stories, only the first of which actually appeared in the Hawthorne volume. The movie is a low budget Vincent Price vehicle. He narrates and stars in all three parts.

Part 1 is "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", the story of two elderly friends (Price and Sebastian Cabot of Family Affair and Pooh fame) visiting on a story night to speak in flowery, Elizabethan language. When the storm opens the tomb of Cabot's departed love, they investigate to discover dear Silvia's body perfectly preserved for 38 years. Maybe it has something to do with this water that's been dripping on her corpse? Lets do an Experiment!

The second, "Rappaccini's Daughter", the story of a mysterious young woman who stays shut away in a garden courtyard. A young university student is intrigued by her mysterious nature, and also is looking to do the Victorian mambo. I won't spoil her secret, but let's just say it involves being able to steam a lizard purple. Serious mood killer, people.

The rubber match is "House of the Seven Gables". A "gable" is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof, because I just know you're interested. Anyhow, Gerald Pyncheon (Price again) returns after 17 years to claim his ownership of the estate. Only, there is a curse on the Pyncheon men. Apparently back in the day, the Pyncheon family swindled the land from Matthew Maulle, and the house was built on top of his grave. Totally curse-worthy. Jerry doesn't care about that, however. He is looking for a secret vault that contains something valuable.

I was a little bit put off by this set at first, what with the flowery language and cheap, Dark Shadows-esque sets, but I was won over. Two of my boys actually watched it with me, a real treat for me. The cheesy sets and obvious plot flaws were irrelevant. We had fun watching it. We all agreed that Seven Gables was the best and Rappaccini was the worst. If there were a Trice Told Tales I wouldn't jump on it, but I'm glad I saw this. Not Price at his best, but good. And fun. AMRU 3.


  1. I am planning on getting to this one within the next month or so, I am a sucker for anthologies but I wasnt all that impressed with Tales of Terror, so I am hoping to find more to like in this one. Thanks for the review!

  2. I think you liked it a bit more than I. Think I should check out Tales of Terror? I actually have a backlog of "must see" movies.

    Thanks for your comments.