The Imp of the Perverse - BBC2
The Times; London; Dec 22, 1975; Stanley Reynolds;
Although it seemed to be flying under false seasonal colours, coming to us billed as the Centre Play for Christmas, Andrew Davies's dramatization of Edgar Allan Poe's The Imp of the Perverse was one of the best things I've seen on the telly this season.
The story had nothing really to do with the festive season but one quickly forgave the false billing and came under Poe's spell and the fantastic performance of Michael Kitchen as the young ne'er do-well who worms his way into the house-hold of a kindly old philosopher, played by Philip Stone, and then has an irresistable urge to murder his benefactor.
Andrew Davies's adaptation was highly stylized. People do not actually speak the sort of dialogue Poe wrote. But the dialogue was brilliantly done, achieving at times an intense sort of poetry...
I came to the Imp of the Perverse prepared for Yuletide jollity - a little murder and mayhem before the serious business of Bogart in The Maltese Falcon - but I came away full of wonder. How nice it was to see Poe's genius rescued for once from the generations of schoolmarms and the clutches of Vincent Price.
Many thanks to Deb for digging out this review.