Twice-Told Tales (film)

Twice-Told Tales
Directed by Sidney Salkow
Produced by Robert E. Kent
Edward Small (executive)
Written by Robert E. Kent
Based on novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Starring Vincent Price
Sebastian Cabot
Brett Halsey
Beverly Garland
Richard Denning
Joyce Taylor
Narrated by Vincent Price
Music by Richard LaSalle
Cinematography Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Grant Whytlock
Admiral Pictures / Robert E. Kent Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • September 1963 (1963-09)
Running time
120 minutes
Language English

Twice-Told Tales (1963) is an American horror film directed by Sidney Salkow and starring Vincent Price.

Production background

The film is based on two of Nathaniel Hawthorne's stories, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (1837) and "Rappaccini's Daughter" (1844), and the novel The House of the Seven Gables (1851), which had previously been adapted in 1940 also starring Price.[1] Only "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" was actually published in Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales, which supplied the film's title.


Each of the three sequences is introduced by Vincent Price (in a voice-over). Price also stars in all three narratives.

"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment"

Two elderly friends, Carl Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot) and Alex (Price), meet to celebrate Heidegger's 79th birthday. They discover that Heidegger's fiancée from 38 years before, Sylvia, is perfectly preserved in her coffin. Heidegger believes that the water dripping into the coffin has the power to preserve. He tries it on a withered rose and it comes back into full bloom.

Carl and Alex drink it and become young again. Carl injects the liquid into Sylvia and she comes back to life. Sylvia reveals that she and Alex were secretly lovers. Carl attacks Alex, but Alex kills him in the struggle. The effects of the water wear off. Sylvia is reduced to a desiccated skeleton, Carl's body returns to its original age. Alex returns to the crypt to find more of the water, but it no longer flows.

"Rappaccini's Daughter"

In Padua, Giacomo Rappaccini (Price) keeps his daughter Beatrice in a garden. A university student next door, Giovanni, sees her and falls in love. One of Giovanni's professors says that he used to teach with Rappaccini. Many years ago, Rappaccini abruptly quit academia and became a recluse after his wife ran away with a lover. Rappaccini has treated Beatrice with an exotic plant extract that makes her touch deadly; he does this to keep her safe from unwanted suitors, but it makes her a prisoner in her own home.

When Giacomo sees the attraction between Giovanni and Beatrice, he surreptitiously treats Giovanni with the extract so they can be together. Giovanni is aghast, and obtains an experimental antidote from his professor. He consumes the antidote in front of Beatrice, but it kills him. Beatrice drinks it also, killing herself. Giacomo grabs the exotic plant with both hands and its touch kills him.

"House of the Seven Gables"

Gerald Pyncheon (Price) returns to his family house after an absence of 17 years, bringing with him his wife Alice. His sister Hannah, who had been living in the house, tells Alice about the curse put upon Pyncheon men by Matthew Maulle, who used to own the house but lost it in a shady deal to the Pyncheon family. Jonathan Maulle, a descendant of Matthew, arrives, but he refuses Gerald's offer to give him the house in exchange for the location of a vault where valuable property deeds are stored. Alice becomes haunted by the curse on the house, which eventually leads her to the cellar.

Gerald finds her there and discovers the map to the vault. He kills Hannah to keep her share of the inheritance. Gerald traps Alice in the basement grave of Mathew Maulle, then goes to the study to find the vault. He opens it, and a skeletal hand inside the vault kills him. Jonathan arrives and takes Alice out of the house, just as it shakes and collapses.



Filming started on Halloween 1962.[2]

See also


  1. Article at Turner Classic Moves accessed 9 June 2013
  2. Champion to Direct 'Daisy,' 'Carnival': Husband Will Star Ginger; 'No Man an Island' Review Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 Nov 1962: C9.

External links

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