Part 2 of 2
This is the result of a project I completed at the University of Minnesota, under the guidance of Composition professor Alex Lubet. I composed a score for a silent film version of Edgar Allen Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher" (1928). Directed by a couple of early American film enthusiasts, it is very much influenced by German expressionism and the cinematic avant-garde of the 1920s, especially in terms of cinematography and storytelling.
This film score composed by Scott Keever, copyright 2009. The version heard here is the MIDI track, derived from Finale 2009. Sound and video edit by Todd Wardrope.
Fall of the House of Usher (1928) was directed by James Sibley Watson Jr. and Melville Webber. It is currently stored by the George Eastman Archive and distributed by Kino International.
Its full length is 12 min. 50 sec.
Because there is rarely any explanation or exposition for the actions or imagery shown during the film, the plot is rather difficult to follow if the viewer is not familiar with Poe's short story. The plot is as follows:
o Unnamed Narrator of the story (known as the Traveler in the film) receives a letter from his old childhood friend Roderick Usher. Usher has not seen him in 20 years and wishes for him to visit. At the beginning of the film, we see only the narrator on horseback, making his way to visit.
o Roderick lives in a castle (the House of Usher) that has been in the family for generations. All relatives are deceased except for Rodericks sister. There is unfortunately a curse on the castle, wherein none of the family is allowed to leave the castle. As a result, an inappropriate relationship has developed between brother and sister.
o As the Traveler arrives, Madeline becomes deathly ill. She eventually is declared dead and placed into a coffin, where she is then buried in the basement of the family castle.
o Roderick is distraught. He is also slightly relieved of his guilt, which makes him even more distraught. He also has a feeling that Madeline is not actually dead.
o Traveler tries to console his friend Tries to distract Roderick by taking him to the castle library and reading to him.
o However, as the Traveler is reading, the words in the book that he is reading come to life and can be heard from the basement of the castle. The word Cracking from one of the books results in a cracking of the coffin lid and the word ripping results in a ripping sound of the nails from the coffin lid and suddenly Madeline comes back to life.
o She searches for her brother and climbs up the endless stairs to the castle library. She eventually finds him and they fall together in a deathly embrace as the castle begins to crumble about them. The Traveler runs and escapes with his life as the castle falls into the sea.
This presentation is not meant for profit and is not meant as a violation of copyright or licensing.