Le Chute de la Maison Usher (1928) - Jean Epstein

Le Chute de la Maison Usher is one of two interpretations of the Fall of the House of Usher that were released in 1928. This French version, directed by Jean Epstein, is a creepy Avant-Garde feature that experiments and has its roots in early German cinema. The soundtrack and cinematography are captivating as well as the overall feel of the movie. It has tremendous flow and feels more like an early Twilight Zone episode than a silent film. The version that I screened came from Archive.org and had crude subtitles in French and Italian. The bonus was definitely the French narrator, translating the title cards into English.

Another film based on an Edgar Allen Poe story. The difference here is that this one is actually creepy. It follows Roderick Usher, who literally paints his wife to death. He steals her body and is haunted by it for the greater part of the film. The movie experiments with shadows and overlays. It looks like the director really put a ton of work into this one. It reminds me of something that Ingmar Bergman would remake.

Overall this is a really creepy short film and I highly recommend it. I am kind of surprised that I hadn't heard about this film until I stumbled onto it. I really enjoyed it and it was pretty easy to follow, and thoroughly entertaining. The running time is short but it fits the movie and keeps it perfect and concise.

  • This is director Jean Epstein's most revered work. 
  • The late Roger Ebert had included this on his great films lists. 
  • Running time of 63 minuets.