Calling all Edgar Allan Poe fans: The Raven adapted for the Big Screen!

Like most new film releases I mention, I’m never sure whether I somehow missed the original wave of knowledge, or if I’m about to bestow some amazing kick ass info on you guys that will have you squealing in excitement, or sighing in exasperation. But either way, it was only yesterday I discovered that there was a film to be released called The Raven based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work starring John Cusack.

My first reaction was huh? How can they possibly come up with a two hour film based on a poem? I was immediately inspired to do some digging and discovered that although the headline said it was an adaption of The Raven, that is not entirely accurate. The film is actually a fictionalized account of the last few days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life.

For those of you who don’t know who Edgar Allan Poe is (I didn’t until reasonably recently) he is a famous poet and writer. A large amount of his work focuses on the mystery and detective genre and he has also been credited by authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle for creating, as well as contributing to the science fiction genre. You can check his poem The Raven out here.

There is still a reasonable amount of mystery around why Edgar Allan Poe died, which is slightly ironic when you take into consideration the genre of his writing. However there are three main theories: disease, poison, and cooping. (The latter being when someone is forced to dress up in different outfits so they can vote multiple times for the same candidate. They are usually beaten up or fed alcohol to get them to cooperate.)  However surprisingly, the film does not seem to tackle any of these, but instead follows Poe as he tries to unmask a serial killer who is murdering people in a way that mirrors his own stories. This of course, is a complete work of fiction.The_Raven_Poster

I can imagine that huge fans of Poe’s work will like this as it will allow them to feel as if they are a part of one of his famous stories. I also think it will be enjoyable for them to try and work out ‘who dunnit’. I can see it turning out somewhat like Sherlock Holmes. However I feel like I would have preferred a more accurate account of his final days, or at least, what they think might have happened in his final days. I can’t help but think that there misrepresenting the original man, by portraying him as someone completely different…..I don’t know, I’m a little torn on this one. I have this image of people seeing the film  and thinking “oh I know all about Edgar Allan Poe now” and not realizing what they’ve seen is incorrect.

So what I would really like to know, is what do you think? Do you like the idea of this film based around Edgar Allan Poe? Do you have a problem with him being portrayed this way? As literary lovers do we think this is a gift or a curse? On the one hand it could inspire people to read his works, but on the other hand it might not do them justice to turn them into another mainstream blockbuster film….
Let me know what you think 🙂

You can watch the trailer for The Raven below. As far as I know, the film is set for release April 27, 2012, but I’m not too sure if that’s the American release date or the UK one. Time will tell!

P.S. Happy World Book Day!

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29 thoughts on “Calling all Edgar Allan Poe fans: The Raven adapted for the Big Screen!

    • Yeah it’s funny you mention that, I thought it sounded familiar too, I’m sure this storyline has been done before in a slightly different format, just basing the murders around a different writers work. I have no idea what the film was though….which doesn’t bode well!

      • When Poe wrote Murders on the Rue Morgue, he based it on an actual murder that took place in New York. I dont think they found the murderer but authorities were saying that the fictional details in the story bore too close a resemblance to the actual murder. He wrote about details that only the police would have known about. So some historians actually consider him as a suspect to the real murder.

        Maybe this is the reason for the familiarity?

      • Wow, I had no idea! Thats really interesting! Thanks Nisha. Another layer of mystery to add the the eccentric Mr Poe. He sure had an intriguing life. Maybe the film IS keeping very, very loosely to some part of the truth then, but just enhancing it x100 to create a better story…

      • I beg pardon, the story was actually ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’ not Rue Morgue although Marie Roget is considered as the sequel to Rue Morgue, hence my confusion, sorry.

  1. This looks really interesting- but I have to join in with your worries about misrepresenting Poe (especially since I love the man’s work. “The Raven’s” one of my favorite poems…). On the one hand, it looks really cool, and I love the idea of intertwining literature with mystery, but on the other hand, this wasn’t really what Poe’s life was like. So I’m torn… but this looks so cool- I WANT to like it, but I don’t know yet if I can.

    • Haha, looks like we’re on a similar wavelength! I only recently came across the poem The Raven, but I too, really like it (coming from someone who is not that keen on poetry).
      I agree, it looks nothing like Poe’s real life, he looks way to stable for starters! 😛 It also looks like the blonde woman’s going to be his wife, so that doesn’t seem to be quite right either….
      Maybe we should try and look at this film as completely seperate from the real Poe, and then we may be able to enjoy it….? I’m still not entirely sold though…

  2. I found out about this not long after the New Year on Youtube. I love Poe’s work, but I don’t like the idea of them fictionalizing the last days of his life. It’s like they are trying to turn him into the next big sensation like they did with Sherlock Holmes. Then again, it might introduce new generations to Poe’s work. Sooo if it makes more young people like me read some awesome classic american lit. then I’ll think about seeing this.

    • Ah, see I completely managed to miss that somehow, although to be honest I don’t tend to keep that up to date with the latest film releases.
      I agree, it just doesn’t sit quite right somehow, I’m not 100% sure why, and your right, I think turning him into a Sherlock-esk character is exactly what their trying to do due to the recent success of the Sherlock Holmes films, and I hate copycats!
      I think it probably will inspire more people to read his work, and that is a great plus 🙂

  3. You afraid Poe will be misrepresented in this movie? What, as being too normal? 😀 Ha ha, Poe will always be deemed as that morbid weirdo writer so I don’t think any future portrayals will change that ;D

    I didn’t know that part about the ‘cooping’ though, thanks for that piece of info. This is definitely my type of movie so I cannot wait for its release, although I do have one problem. John Cusack? The guy is way too good-looking, I would have cast someone like, maybe Steve Buscemi(with pitch black hair of course) in the role. Cusack seems too docile and not eccentric enough…

    That’s my humble opinion anyway. Thanks Becks for the heads up, you’re like the CNN of literature and movies!!

    • Haha exactly! He’s waaay to normal, it looks like they’ve hollywood-ized him.
      No problem! I found Poe’s background really interesting so I just kept on digging 🙂
      I can definitely see your issue with Cusack playing to role, and I totally agree Steve Buscemi could have made a fantastic Edgar Allan Poe with his slightly crazy look, but I do have faith in Cusacks acting, and seeing as they seem to be bypassing the actual truth about Poe’s life I’m thinking they might be leaving out the crazy and eccentric altogether. In which case, I’m perfectly happy for Cusack to fill in the void. (although, like I said above, I would much prefer it if they stuck with the crazy Poe.)
      Hehe, your humble opinion holds a lot of credit on this blog, and I’m always up for a good debate 🙂
      The CNN of literature……haha, I like that! Ta Nisha! I try, I try 😉

  4. You’re right about the Hollywood-ization. They did it to Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock Holmes as well. Get young, good-looking actors to play middle-aged, average men.
    Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow is meant to be this wizened, odious fella with a huge nose but he’s played by a Johnny Depp who looked his normal self(!). The only reason it worked however is because Depp as we all know is eccentric in his own way and Tim Burton used his quirkiness to good advantage.
    Lets hope John Cusack does the same! 🙂

  5. Had to read Poe in HS. He definitely was weird to our teenage brains at the time.

    I must say, I’m looking forward to the film. Anything that calls attention to any great literature is fantastic. I think this will generate a lot of interest in people reading Poe’s stuff. And it was great writing, whether it necessarily is the reader’s cup of tea or not.

    Good discussion, Becks!

    • I really hope it inspires more people to read his work too! I’ve actually been contemplating buying his complete works from Amazon for a while, and this might just have given me enough of a kick to do it 🙂

      Thank you 🙂 Always great to hear from you mj!
      P.S. still trying to work out why I’m not recieving post from your new blog. Bad blogging site bad!

  6. Nisha, you’ve got your facts a bit messed up. Not the first time, I’m sure.
    I could like this movie except that Cusack is box office poison and no one can tell me why he keeps getting major roles?
    Not enough actors in LA? Ir is because he has his tongue attached directly to certain producer’s mouths? Eh?

    • Well I guess everyone has their own opinion, I know there are a lot of great actors out there that never get the chance to have a role because other more famous ones take precedent. However I have to say I personally like John Cusack and the rest of his family as actors, so I’m happy for him to play the role.
      Thanks for commenting, it’s very interesting to see how different people’s views are.

  7. I can’t wait to see this!! Being a huge fan of Poe and of Cusack, I was soooo excited when I saw this film was in the works. I’m sure it’ll be great, partly because it’s such a cool story and partly because John Cusack is brilliant. If you’ve seen High Fidelity, you’ll know what I’m saying. The man can deliver a movie all on his own 🙂

    • I’m very interested to see it too, my dilemma is that I haven’t actually read any of his works other than his poem The Raven, and I would really like to know about the background for the film and his actual works before seeing it, and there’s no way I’m going to be able to do that in time for the films release… Dilemma’s, dilemma’s! At least it’s a good dilemma. Teehee.

      • Haha your teehee reminded me of Ryan Higa, if you know who that is 🙂
        Mm..I didn’t even know it’s based on the last couple of days of his life, before reading your post. So I’m curious to look up some facts myself before going to see the movie.

      • Ahh right cool, I’m glad I could give out some new information 🙂
        Nope I have no idea who that is, I’ll take your word for it 😛

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