Done the same year as Birth Of A Nation (1915), The Raven takes Henry B. Walthall who played Col. Ben Cameron and turns him into Edgar Allen Poe. The film starts out as a biography of Poe’s life. We get a little genealogy that takes us back through a patriotic lineage. Then we get to Poe himself who apparently was a drunk with mad visions. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter. It’s a good enough excuse for how he came up with his poems. Our time with Poe mainly centers on him falling in love.
Then the film gives us a reenactment of the poem with Poe as the tortured soul.
In the end, he loses his lover and can’t sell his work. Poe really becomes the very man he wrote about. A man tortured by the memory of a lost love.
It feels like it might be missing some pieces near the end. Not sure whether it’s intentional or not, but don’t expect a solid biography of Poe. Don’t expect the greatest displays of the poem either. Expect a mash up of the two in 1910’s filmmaking style. My favorite Raven will always be Corman’s. Approach this one with caution.