The Tomb Of Ligeia - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

"The Tomb Of Ligeia", released on Inauguration Day 1965, returns us to the sort of Vincent Price fare most loved by horror movie buffs: Edgar Allan Poe as seen in color by Roger Corman. Price is Verden Fell, cursed by his dead wife, Ligeia and hoping to free himself with his new wife Rowena. Both are played by Elizabeth Shepherd, a good actress who had been hired to replace Honor Blackman on "The Avengers" and then fired before audiences saw her in action. Diana Rigg was then cast as Mrs. Emma Peel and many years later no one can imagine anyone else in the part. Certainly not Uma Thurman or Elizabeth Shepherd.

It is tricky to imagine Diana Rigg as Ligeia and Rowena, because for all her enormous talent as an actress she has never convincingly conveyed terror or vulnerability. Shepherd projects both, but she is not in the same league as her charismatic co-star. The presence of fine character actors like Richard Vernon, Frank Thornton, Denis Gilmore and a well trained black cat help, but we still miss Vincent Price during the long stretches dominated by Ligeia and Rowena. This was the eighth collaboration between Corman and Price, after which the director swore off Poe. It was everyone's loss.

© 2009 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 10/21/09
Movie Magazine International