THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM – The Dungeon Review!
“Until now no one has dared to film this …… the most diabolical classic of all time!”
This is another Roger Corman/Vincent Price outing. I haven’t seen every Corman film by any means, but this is definitley one of the best from what I have.
Francis Barnard travels to Spain after learning his sister Elizabeth has died. His intention is to question his sister’s husband Don Medina. Medina is the son of a notoriously barbaric Spanish inquistitor and lives in the family’s isolated castle. Francis is told Elizabeth has died of a blood disease. He is immediately suspicious of this explanation and insists on staying at the castle until he uncovers the truth.
The films greatest strength is an extremely well written screenplay. I was fully engaged in the story from the first scene to that awesome finale. It is well paced and maintains a moody atmosphere throughout. Vincent Price does a good job with Don Medina but does get a little over dramatic at times. John Kerr who plays Elizabeth’s brother Francis, is a bit dry and rather uninspired. He was bearable, but I would have preferred someone with more energy in this role. The supporting cast really shine in this one. Antony Carbone and Luana Anders do one hell of a job. The stunning Barbara Steele has little screen time but leaves a lasting impression. The film is quite suspenseful. There are no monsters, gore or cheap scares. There is only a nice steady climb to the climax that will keep you guessing. The sets are pretty nifty, especially that pendulum device set. Esthetically speaking this film is pretty much perfect, unfortunately a dull performance by a lead actor does stand out. This minor infraction will not effect your overall enjoyment of this extremely entertaining film. Highly Recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Roger Corman
Starring: Vincent Price, John Kerr, Barbara Steele, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone, Patrick Westwood, Lynette Bernay, Larry Turner, Mary Menzies and Charles Victor