Professor criticizes Poe film for lack of originality

By Joey Murchison, Staff Writer

Nearly 250 movie adaptations exist about the life and stories of renowned author Edgar Allan Poe.

The newest film, “The Raven,” is a fictitious account of Poe’s final days.

Union University’s Poe expert, Dr. Hal Poe, Charles Colson professor of faith and culture and a descendant of the writer, shared his thoughts on the new movie.

“The man portrayed in the movie is a fictional character that bears little resemblance to the real Edgar Allan Poe,” Poe said. “Even his physical appearance was off.

“The man in the movie wore a goatee, and Poe never wore a goatee in his life, and his face is one of the most recognizable if not iconic of American faces.”

Poe said the storyline is not original.

“There was a movie that came out around 1915 that did the same thing and even a series of five Batman comics that went back to Bruce Wayne’s ancestor — who was Batman in the 1840s — and has him team up with Edgar Allan Poe to solve crimes of someone acting out Poe’s stories,” Poe said. “There’s nothing original to this — it is just a tradition of plagiarism.”

Poe also said the reason so many have failed to portray Edgar Allan Poe is because many are taught fallacies about the author.

“They become obsessed with the mythology that Poe truly was a horror writer,” he said. “Most people don’t realize that Poe’s largest body of works were comic and humorous tales.  He only wrote a few horror stories, and he didn’t care for them; he only wrote them because people liked them and he could sell them and make some money. He actually tended to focus on beauty in his writings.”

Poe faults the director and the movie writers for the film’s shortcomings.

“I had low expectations, and the movie did not even meet them,” Poe said.

“The script was not very dynamic.  They have a good cast of actors, but they don’t rise to the occasion. This is common of Poe movies … But this does show the widespread popularity of Poe.”

Poe said directors poorly chose the film’s location as well.

“The choice to film the movie in Hungary [and Serbia] was interesting,” Poe said. “They were looking for a 19th century city, but the city they chose doesn’t look anything like Baltimore. It was much too grand. It is an imperial city,  and Baltimore was anything but that.  By going to Europe, they got a European city.”


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