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Roger Corman
Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook, Derek Francis
Writing Credits:
Robert Towne

A man's obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 82 min.

Price: $79.97
Release Date: 10/21/2014

• Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Roger Corman
• Audio Commentary with Actor Elizabeth Shepherd
• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Constantine Nasr
• Trailer
• Still Gallery

Available Only as Part of “The Vincent Price Collection II"


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Tomb of Ligeia, The: The Vincent Price Collection II [Blu-Ray] (1964)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2014)

Based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, 1964’s The Tomb of Ligeia takes us to England circa 1821. Verden Fell (Vincent Price) buries his wife Ligeia but declares that she isn’t dead because she willed not to die.

Years later, the reclusive Fell meets Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd) and weds her. Initially, this appears to go well, but Ligeia’s memory maintains a strong hold on Fell – especially because he still believes she’ll return from the dead.

When film fans consider Roger Corman, I suspect they usually think about his reputation as the “B-movie” producer who gave many famous folks their early work. Most of his efforts remain known as cheap drive-in flicks and not much more.

Which makes the Corman-directed Tomb a bit of a surprise, as it actually seems moderately classy. It lacks the cheesy overwrought nature I would’ve expected from a Corman effort in this genre, as it maintains a fairly low-key tone. I don’t know if I’d call it subdued, but it presents a pretty restrained piece that avoids over the top genre tropes.

While I admire the class and style found in Tomb, I can’t say the final result totally delights me, as it can seem more than a little dull. The original Poe work was a short story, one that seems to have been loosely adapted here. Corman appears to stretch the source out to the point where it moves slowly and fails to present a lot of drama. The movie simply meanders along much of the time and doesn’t manage much to keep us interested until its third act.

Tomb does become more compelling toward its end, though, as the psychological elements kick into higher gear. Corman delivers these components with pretty good style and they allow the tale to get us more involved.

In addition, the actors do fairly well with their roles. Price gives Fell the appropriate sense of being haunted, while Shepherd handles Rowena’s psychological distress in a manner that seems convincing. She becomes the strongest link here, as she helps keep the story together through some potentially outlandish moments.

All of this leaves Tomb as something of a mixed bag. It tends to drag for a lot of its running time but it eventually comes through in the end. While inconsistent, it shows a good sense of style and becomes enjoyable along the way.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C/ Bonus B

The Tomb of Ligeia appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not without positives, the transfer came with a lot of problems.

Sharpness seemed erratic. Much of the movie showed reasonably good delineation, but occasional soft spots materialized as well – more than I expected. I saw no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent.

Print flaws turned into the image’s primary distraction. Throughout the film, I saw a mix of specks, spots, hairs, nicks and other issues. These appeared frequently and gave the image a rather messy look.

Colors seemed fine. These could be a bit on the pale side, but I surmised that resulted from the cinematography. When necessary, the hues looked pretty positive. Blacks were fairly dark and deep, while shadows showed nice clarity; outside of some dense “day for night” shots, low-light elements seemed satisfying. Again, the image had good elements, but the negatives left it as a “C-“.

Though the disc’s menu claims it offers a DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 soundtrack, that didn’t appear to be the case. At all times, this mix seemed to be monaural, as I heard no indications that any audio came from the side speakers.

Audio quality was fine for its age. Music seemed a bit too bright but was reasonably well-presented, and the same went for effect. Though those elements lacked heft, they seemed acceptably accurate. Speech was a little tinny but came with appropriate intelligibility. This seemed like an average soundtrack for a movie from the 1960s.

As we head to the disc’s extras, we find three audio commentaries. In the first, we hear from producer/director Roger Corman, as he offers a running, screen-specific chat about working with the Poe material, cast and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and editing, and connected topics.

Corman’s commentary starts reasonably well but becomes less satisfying before long. The director leaves a lot of empty space and provides only moderately interesting material when he does speak. I’ve heard worse chats, but this one seems slow and forgettable much of the time.

For the second commentary, we get a track with actor Elizabeth Shepherd. Along with a moderator, she offers her own running, screen-specific discussion of her character and performances, cast and crew, sets and locations, and other production elements.

Unlike Corman, Shepherd remembers a great deal about her experiences on Tomb, and she brings out plenty of good notes here. She shows a wonderful enthusiasm for the discussion and gives us a strong look at the film. This turns into a very enjoyable chat.

Finally, we locate a commentary from film historian Constantine Nasr. This running, screen-specific piece goes over the film’s origins and development, the source story and its adaptation, cast and crew, visual design and cinematography, the film’s release/reception and a mix of production elements.

From start to finish, Nasr delivers a terrific commentary. He comes to the piece well-prepared and he covers a sold array of topics in a lively, knowledgeable manner. While I like Shepherd’s track, Nasr offers the best commentary of the bunch.

When you start the movie, you find an introdution from Vincent Price. From a show produced by Iowa Public Television, the three-minute, four-second clip gives us a few thoughts about production specifics. Price appears again after the movie for a two-minute, 12-second recap. Both offer charming comments from the actor.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a still gallery. This presents 26 images that give us a mix of ads and promo photos. Nothing great emerges but it becomes a decent compilation.

With The Tomb of Ligeia, we get a fairly stylish adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story. It can drag at times but it becomes engaging by its finish. The Blu-ray delivers flawed picture, average audio and supplements highlighted by two good audio commentaries. I like the movie but the Blu-ray needs work.

Note that this version of The Tomb of Ligeia comes only as part of the four-disc “Vincent Price Collection II”. That set also includes Return of the Fly, The Comedy of Terrors, The Raven, The Last Man on Earth, House on Haunted Hill and Dr. Phibes Rises Again.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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