WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Jealousy, loyalty, and a family feud come to play in Universal’s 1940 quickie melodrama, The House of the Seven Gables, loosely adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 Gothic novel.
The sudden death of Pyncheon patriarch Gerald provides his vindictive son Jaffrey (George Sanders) the opportunity to get his brother Clifford (Vincent Price) out of the way and seize the family fortune. Framed for murder and forced to leave his fiancée Hepzibah (Margaret Lindsay) behind, Clifford is sent to prison where he befriends Matthew Hargrave (Dick Foran), the descendent of the Maule family, with whom the Pyncheon’s have a long history of turbulence. Can the two join together to foil Jaffrey, or are the families destined to repeat the mistakes of the past and live out the curse of their ancestors?
If you want to know more about the film and the 2016 UK DVD release, then check it out on my Kultguy’s Keep film blog. CLICK HERE.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Director Joel May also directed Universal’s The Invisible Man Returns (which came out in the US two months before this film’s March 1940 release) and both featured much of the same cast and crew, including Nan Grey, Cecil Kellaway and Alan Napier (who became best known as Alfred in TV’s Batman).
- Vincent Price was drafted in to take the role of Clifford when original star Robert Cummings pulled out due to illness, but he certainly ‘hit is stride’ as a romantic leading man, and his last film under contract with Universal proved to be his best.
- A former Yale Glee Club tenor, Price also got to sing the Frank Skinner/Ralph Reed song The Color of Your Eyes (you can hear it below).
- The film had its world premiere in Chicago on 29 February 1940 in a double-bill with Black Friday, which starred the kings of horror, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. It then went on general release in the US on 12 April 1940.
- In publicising the film, Universal announced that the studio’s art directors had duplicated the 17th-century house at 54 Turner Street in Salem, Massachusetts, reputed to be the Hawthorne model (you can take a tour of the house with Vincent Price by watching the video below).
- In 1963, Price took the role of Gerald Pyncheon in an abridged version of the Hawthorne story in Twice-Told Tales, which was also adapted into a colourful and now collectable Dell Comic.
WATCH THE TRAILER
TAKE A GUIDED TOUR WITH VINCENT PRICE
In this 1990 video guide, Vincent Price takes you on a private tour of a 1668-built merchant house in Salem, Massachusetts that was the model for Hawthorne’s tale.
VIEW MY LOBBY CARD COLLECTION
Recently I added this vintage US lobby card set to my collection. Check them out here.
LISTEN TO VINCENT PRICE SINGING THE COLOR OF YOUR EYES
I made this video presentation in May 2011 as a tribute to the Vincentennial exhibition held in St Louis which featured memorabilia, posters and ephemera connected to Vincent’s life, featuring Vincent signing The Color of Your Eyes as well as When Day is Done from Madhouse as the music in the background. I do hope you enjoy it.