The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) starring Vincent Price, Barbara Steele
It has been said that Vincent Price often played the role of the tragic monster — and that’s never truer than in The Pit and the Pendulum. Vincent Price plays Don Nicholas Medina, a man whose wife has unexpectedly passed away. And whose brother-in-law has come seeking to find out the truth of his sister’s death.
It’s difficult to say much more without giving away the plot. Other than to say it’s a psychological drama, with excellent acting. It’s a reminder of why Vincent Price is highly esteemed as an actor. The Pit and the Pendulum is highly recommended.
Editorial review of The Pit and the Pendulum, courtesy of Amazon.com
Movie quotes from The Pit and the Pendulum
Don Nicholas Medina: The atmosphere is heavy in here.
[opens the curtains in Elizabeths room]
Francis: Why have you brought me here?
Don Nicholas Medina: It is her room sir, I’ve had it kept exactly as she left it.
Doctor Leon: We will exhume Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: [shouting Don Medinas name causing him to fall down the stairs] Nicholas!
Doctor Leon: [after Nicholas has fallen down the stairs and appears to have died] I told you to wait.
Elizabeth: I couldn’t.
[she and Dr. Leon kiss]
Elizabeth: What about my brother?
Doctor Leon: He’s supposed to leave in the morning , but now… why couldn’t you wait one more day?
Elizabeth: I’ve waited too long already.
Elizabeth: [goes down to where Nicholas is laying] And now my dear Nicholas I have you exactly as I want you , helpless.
Doctor Leon: Elizabeth there is no time for this.
Elizabeth: I’ve waited an eternity for this moment there has to be time, is it not ironical my dear husband, you wife an adulteress, your mother an adulteress, your uncle an adulterer, your closest friend an adulterer, do you not find that amusing dear Nicholas?
Don Nicholas Medina: You will die in agony. Die!
Catherine: Maximilian, we must break into the torture chamber! Quickly!
Catherine: No one shall ever enter this room again.
Trivia for The Pit and the Pendulum
- To increase the pendulum’s sense of deadly menace, director Roger Corman took out every other frame during the editing stage making the blade appear to move twice as fast.
- Actor John Kerr was worried about being strapped down to the table with the pendulum above him for the movie’s climax. In order to demonstrate that it was perfectly safe, director Roger Corman stood in for Kerr while the scene was being set up.
- This was the second of Roger Corman’s “Poe” films. He had intended to do “The Masque of the Red Death” but felt that it was too close to the content of Ingmar Bergman’s recent The Seventh Seal (1957) (US title: “The Seventh Seal”). Several years later Corman would go to England to make The Masque of the Red Death (1964).
- This film was shot in fifteen days.
- The film never had an original prologue. It was added when the film was sold to TV and a further few minutes were required to pad out the running time. Only Luana Anders from the original cast was available so an extra scene of her in a madhouse was filmed and tacked on to the beginning.
- The pendulum was made out of wood and had a rubber blade.