The Tomb of Ligeia - 1965

Director: Roger Corman
Vincent Price as Verden Fell
Elizabeth Shepherd as Rowena Trevanion & The Lady Ligeia
John Westbrook as Christopher Gough

"Even on her wedding night she must share the man she loved with the 'Female Thing' that lived in the Tomb of the Cat!"

This movie is an adaptation of the story The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe. The main plot of the movie revolves around a noblewoman, Rowena Trevanion (Elizabeth Shepherd).

While out hunting, she has an unusual meeting with an eccentric widower while reading the inscription on a gravestone. Her scream of shock at the sudden sight of Verden Fell (Vincent Price) popping out from behind his deceased wife Ligeia's grave brings her fellow hunters rushing over to her aid.

Vincent Price as Verden Fell.

One of the hunting party recognises Verden Fell as an old friend. They retreat to the home of Verden to perform first aid on Rowena whom hurt her ankle when she fainted. She quickly becomes enraptured with Verden and once he notices the resemblance she has to his previous wife they begin a relationship.

Perhaps you can see some resemblance here...

Little does she know, the peculiar, moody man with an aversion to the sun that she eventually marries is still obsessed with his former wife Ligeia. He seems captivated by her last words "Herein lieth the will which dieth not. Man need not kneel before the angels, nor lie in death for all eternity, save only for the weakness of his feeble will."

Their marriage.

Ligeia's grave is a marble tomb amongst walls of the run down old abbey that Verden inhabits, however Ligeia's strong will to live and refusal to pass over brings her to "life" in a myriad of ways throughout the movie.

The cast of the movie is small, including a sinister, noisy black cat which seems to be the incarnation of The Lady Ligeia. The cat has been described as the real star of the movie with ever watching eyes. Observing, attacking and influencing the outcome of events throughout the movie.

The Black Cat.

The black cat illustration on the front cover of the movie when compared, is obviously the inspiration for several versions of the Devil Doll logo.

When Lady Rowena moves into the old abbey with her new husband Verden, things start to get a little delirious. Verden refuses to share a bed with her and disappears at all hours of the night without explanation. His mood swings become worse and worse throughout the movie as he seeks explanation for the strange happenings in their house.

Verden and Rowena.

She experiences nightmares which materialise into reality. She finds the thick black hair of Ligeia filling her hair brush and is continually taunted and attacked by the mysterious black cat.

Rowena in her nightmare.

During one scene Verden tries to hypnotise Rowena to find out what is troubling her but is instead faced with her uttering the last words of Ligeia her while she is deep in a trance.

Rowena in a trance.

Eventually Rowena's friend, Christopher Gough (John Westbrooke) becomes convinced that Ligeia is not dead and tries to expose this fact. He digs up the grave of Ligeia and discovers that the body in the grave is made of wax.

The body of Ligeia

Verden tires of Ligeia's interference and tries to kill her. He throws her into the fire but she disappears and it turns out he has killed Rowena.

Verden fighting with whom he believes is Ligeia.

Here are some interesting links to information on the original story by E.A Poe.
Essay on The Black Cat and plot summary.
Read The Black Cat.

Written by Pearl.