Release dateJune 1950 WriterDorothy Catt, Edgar Allan Poe (story), Kenneth Thompson
The Fall of the House of Usher is a 1950 British horror film directed by Ivan Barnett and starring Gwendoline Watford, Kaye Tendeter and Irving Steen. It is an adaptation of the 1839 short story of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe.
The film uses a framing device set in a Gentlemen's club where one of the members reads to his friends from a copy of Poe's book. A century before a young man visits a bleak-looking mansion in the English countryside where his friend Lord Roderick Usher lives with his sister Madeline, both of whom are mysteriously ill. He discovers that they are suffering from a curse brought on them by their father which will cause them both to die shortly, leading to the downfall of the ancient family of Usher.
Production and release
The film was made in Hastings by a low-budget company GIB Films. Ivan Barnett produced the film and also worked as director and cinematographer. Work commenced in 1947, but it wasn't released until 1950. It was issued an 'H' Certificate, a rarity at the time, by the British Board of Film Censors. Despite its limited budget the film proved surprisingly successful on its release as a second feature and even topped the bill in some cinemas. It was reissued in 1955 and again in 1961. It may have been an influence on the subsequent development of Hammer Horror.