Film Commentary, Literature

Rufus Wilmot Griswold

August 30, 2010

Portrait engraving of an 18th century dick.

Anthologist, critic, poet, editor and the very asshole that tried to ruin Edgar Allan Poe’s reputation for eight years since he published a cyclopean obituary (under the pseudonym, “Ludwig”) suffused with falsified accounts of Poe as an evil, unscrupulous and depraved lunatic.

The good news is that, following his death on August 27, 1857, Griswold’s smear campaign was discredited as a fantastic collection of forgeries.

Even his surname begs the acrid aura of “super villain,” doesn’t it?  Comic book stink lines rise from his grave as we speak.

Good riddance.

Now, onto more relatively good news from

The info comes from a tweet by Cusack, which said ‘official — will play edgar allan poe in fall-a-film called the raven, send any poe- gold – my way as i begin this journey into the abyss’ […]

The Raven is a fictionalized account of the final five “mysterious” days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life. Apparently the famous writer joins the hunt for a serial killer whose murders are inspired by his stories.

Raise your hand if your glad that John Cusack nabbed this role and Ewan McGregor didn’t.  What a miscast that would have been.  Albeit, cause for concern is slated filmmaker James McTeigue, who, under the auspices of the Wachowski siblings, directed the underwhelming V for Vendetta.

I’ll be satiated enough if McTeigue’s The Raven is sans any bullet time sequences of Poe dodging cooping agents.  Prior to McTeigue’s involvement, it was rumored that Machinist and Session 9 director Brad Anderson was developing the project, which would have been an ineffably superior pairing.

Still, when it comes to cinematic interpretations of Poe’s last living and breathing days on earth, beggars can’t be choosers.

Now if only the “serial killer” in McTeigue’s version of Poe’s last five days was Griswold himself … it’d be a nice little revenge fantasy — in bullet time.

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  • Reply Bonkers August 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I also harbor an untimely resentment towards that mediocre excuse for a writer.Your own Nemesis being in charge of writing your official posthumous Biography, sounds like a real nightmare.
    That being said, you can’t deny Griswold used Poe’s literary material quite “cleverly” but never imagined that his image would trascend an era where the reputation was pretty much everything.
    Nowadays you can be an artist and also an open addict; be praised for checking into rehab and get even more media attention for bonus law bending and sex taping affairs.If anything, I think Poe’s obscure and infamous shadow made it even more relevant for our constantly defiant generation.
    Not sure McGregor would have a hard time fitting on that role, Cusack is prone to bring a distracting glare of triviality and overexposure to the screen.I will give him a chance to prove me wrong, however McTeigue surely needs to fine tune his storytelling abilities since there won’t be any big explosions to hook up the audience this time around.

  • Reply Ricardo Omar Sanchez August 31, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Some very good points that I hadn’t considered. I also relate to your concerns about Cusack taking the lead role for Poe and his matter-of-fact way of acting. Albeit, I have to say that he mildly convinced me of his ability to play the “tortured soul” in 1408, which I can’t help but watch all the way through every time it’s on Showtime or Encore. McGregor on the other hand, while I enjoyed many of his performances, just doesn’t bring the “darkness” or “macabre” required for this role in my mind (even despite his Trainspotting days and Velvet Goldmine days, which was more Danny Boyle’s and Todd Hayne’s ingenuity and direction than his own), and McTeigue ain’t Aronofsky, so we’ll see.

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