Twice-Told Tales – USA, 1963 – reviews

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[Total: 24   Average: 2.5/5]

twice_told_tales_poster_02‘A trio of terror!’

Twice-Told Tales – also released as Twice Told Tales and Nights of Terror  is a 1963 American supernatural horror feature 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).

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The film is based on two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories, “Doctor 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 “Doctor Heidegger’s Experiment” was actually published in Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, which supplied the film’s title.

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

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

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“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

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“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

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“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

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Cast and characters:

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

Censorship:

The United Artists release was cut by BBFC censors for its 1967 release.

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