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Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Friday, October 26, 2012

R.I.P. Screening VII: The Masque of the Red Death

I returned to my mini-Vincent Price viewing marathon with the excellent 1964 film The Masque of the Red Death.  Based primarily on the story by Edgar Allan Poe (while adding a sub-story utilizing another Poe tale, "Hop-Frog"), this is probably the Price movie that holds the most vivid memories for me.  I don't think I'll ever forget the final scenes where Prince Prospero's guests begin the dance of death.




Price stars as Prince Prospero, a decadent nobleman who has sold his soul to the Devil, dragging many of his noble friends (and enemies) along with him.  He terrorizes a nearby village--condemning two men who dare to stand up to him to death.  A beautiful, innocent young woman by the name of Francesca (Jane Asher) begs for mercy.  Prospero has never been confronted by such innocent, unwavering faith before and for amusement says he will grant mercy to one of the men...but Francesca must choose who will live and who will die.  One is her father, the other is her fiance.  Before she can be forced to make her choice, one of the villagers falls victim to the Red Death and Prospero kidnaps Francesca and orders his guards to bring the doomed men to his castle where he and the other noblemen he has granted protection from the plague will feast and be entertained while the peasants die in the countryside surrounding them.  Prospero is intent on corrupting Francesca--proving to her that her God no longer exists and that she should give her allegiance to his master, Satan.  But while he plots her moral demise and prepares her father and fiance for a deadly entertainment, the Red Death enters his castle.


Roger Corman directed several films based on Poe stories.  This and The Pit & the Pendulum are the only two that I have ever seen.  I don't remember much about Pit, but Masque has stuck with me for over 30 years.  This has repeatedly been referenced as the best of Corman's Poe films, and I don't doubt it.  Vincent Price is excellent as always...we certainly believe that he has sold out to the Devil and he is at his creepy best in his efforts to turn Francesca to the dark side.  I know I've said it before...but I do love these classic horror movies with Vincent Price.  


Quotes:
Francesca: Forgive them!
Prospero
: Forgive them? If my hound bites my hand after I have fed and caressed him, should I allow him to go undisciplined? 

Francesca: Is there anything to fear in that room?
Prospero
: For the uninvited, there is much to fear. 

Prospero: I'm not corrupting, Alfredo, no... instructing. 

Francesca: [after Gino has been ordered to be removed from the castle] Prince Prospero let me go with him.
Prospero
: You?
Francesca
: Please.
Prospero
: You, oh no my dear I couldn't bear to think of... No [to the crowd] you will go to your rooms now and prepare for the masque, you will not appear in your costumes until... midnight. [turns to see Francesca following him] Why do you follow me?
Francesca
: Bring Gino back and I will do whatever you wish.
Prospero
: You would destroy yourself for him?
Francesca
: Yes.
Prospero
: [smiling] You almost cause me to doubt. 

Man in red: It's time for a new dance to begin... the Dance of Death! 

Prospero: Your Excellency... this girl [he indicates Francesca] in all my life, I've never met one who's faith rivalled mine. Spare her to me.
Man in red
: A charitible request... a rare thing with you, Prospero. 

Man in red: I have no title. Why do you call me "Excellency"?
Prospero
: Well, I thought that as the ambassador of Satan...
Man in red
: He is not my master. Death has no master. 

Prospero: I should like to see your face.
Man in red
: There is no face of death... until the moment of your own death.

Man in red (to Prospero): Why should you be afraid to die? Your soul has been dead for a long long time. 


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