TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963) Reviews and overview

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twice_told_tales_poster_02‘A trio of terror!’

Twice-Told Tales is a 1963 American supernatural horror film directed by Sidney Salkow (The Last Man on Earth) from a screenplay by producer Robert E. Kent (Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome; The Werewolf; Diary of a Madman).


The film is based on two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories, “Dr Heidegger’s Experiment” (1837) and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844), and the novel The House of the Seven Gables (1851), which had previously been adapted in 1940 also starring Price. Only “Dr Heidegger’s Experiment” was actually published in Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, which supplied the film’s title.

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The stories in themselves, even the mangled adaptation that they are, could have worked well with a different director. Alas, the film is hamstrung with the dreadfully pedestrian Sidney Salkow who also directed Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964), another thoroughly dull adaptation of a fine horror story. Salkow’s sedentary direction and Technicolor colour wrings all the atmosphere out of the stories.” Moria


“Price is in classic form, the addition of Sebastian Cabot is wonderful, the atmosphere of those two pieces is excellent, and the type of film inaugurated by Corman, Matheson, and Price is so much in its stride that it has taken on ghoulish life of its own.” Voyages Extraordinaires


“None of the stories featured in Twice-Told Tales are particularly well-paced. This isn’t terribly annoying through the beginning segments of the picture, because the stories themselves keep our interest. However, as the film progresses, we become more restless.” Exclamation Mark

“In a year that saw Mario Bava create Black Sabbath and Herschell Gordon Lewis shoot Blood Feast, this Sidney Salkow directed portmanteau sits rather uncomfortably amongst such bold and vibrant work. With its absorbing stories, though, coupled with immaculate stage design and costumes, it does have a Gothic charm about it that’s impossible to dislike.” Zombie Hamster

“Director Sidney Salkow’s pacing is slow but rich in detail in Kent’s script and good ensemble acting make the film a stylish one.” John Stanley, Creature Features


“All the familiar thrills are here in this marathon shocker, but the interests are varied and the effects quite often startling. The more avid seeker after the gruesome class of fare should be amply awarded.” Kine Weekly, 1967

“Triple-layered ‘spine-chiller’, based on the stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne; flatly directed and scripted, but spiritedly acted and climatically thrilling.” The Daily Cinema, 1967

“Price’s performance in the third tale is even an improvement on his The House of the Seven Gables (1940). However, production values – miniature work and makeup – leave something to be desired in places.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Encyclopedia of Film: Horror







Cast and characters:

Vincent Price … Alex Medbourne / Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini / Gerald Pyncheon
Sebastian Cabot … Doctor Carl Heidigger
Brett Halsey … Giovanni Guasconti
Beverly Garland … Alice Pyncheon
Richard Denning … Jonathan Maulle
Mari Blanchard … Sylvia Ward
Abraham Sofaer … Prof. Pietro Baglioni
Jacqueline deWit … Hannah Pyncheon, Gerald’s Sister (as Jacqueline de Wit)
Joyce Taylor … Beatrice Rappaccini
Edith Evanson … Lisabetta, the landlady
Floyd Simmons … Ghost of Mathew Maulle
Gene Roth … Cabman

Alternate titles:

Twice Told Tales
Nights of Terror 


In the UK, the United Artists release was cut by BBFC censors for its 1967 release.




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