The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942) Movie Script

"In the year 1811 in the
city of Richmond, Virginia."
"Mrs Frances Allan .."
"The beautiful and childless wife of
the town's most prosperous merchant."
"Had been giving little gifts of food
and money to a young actress."
"Who is now penniless, and very ill."
"Often, Mrs Allan had watched the young
woman as she passed the Allan mansion."
"On her way to the theatre,
leading her little son by the hand."
"The sight of the child had
touched Mrs Allan's heart."
"And when the poor young mother
took to her bed in her final illness .."
"The merchant's wife,
like an angel of mercy .."
"Did what she could
to ease her last hours."
"After the mother had gone to her rest,
Mrs Allan took the boy home with her."
"She planned to add
his name to her own."
"Thus, the author of The Raven,
The Bells and Annabel Lee."
"Is known to the world as .."
"Edgar Allan Poe."
Who is the lad?
What do we know about him?
Except that he's the
offspring of player folk.
Poor little fellow.
He has no kin of his own, and
he has come to stay with us.
At your invitation, I suppose?
Please let me keep him.
He'll be just like our own child.
A child of actors?
Our own?
- What difference does it make?
You have great faith, Frances.
Yes. Faith in what our love
can do for a child, John.
See how beautiful he is?
He is .. pretty, no doubt.
What's your name, boy?
What's your name?
- My name is ..
Edgar Poe.
See how he answers? Unafraid.
He likes you already, John.
- Well.
Keep him if you like.
For the present.
Oh, you'll never let him
go, John. I know you won't.
"Mrs Allan loved the boy
as if he'd been her own."
"But that love had a strange
effect upon her husband."
"The narrow-minded man resented the time
and attention his wife gave to Edgar."
"And as the boy grew older .."
"Allan's attitude began to shape
his habits and his thoughts."
"More and more, he wandered alone
into the woods near Richmond."
"The sombre silences
appealed to his imagination."
"And his young mind was tuned
to the sights and sounds of nature."
"In her darker moods."
I assume that you have
studied your lessons carefully.
Well, then. Who can tell me the last
state to be admitted into the union?
Yes, Miss Stollmeier?
The last state to be admitted
into the union is Maine, sir.
Now then, we will proceed
with our lesson on the classics.
Minerva was the Goddess of .. what?
Master Poe?
Master Poe.
Master Poe.
Yes, Mr Burke?
What are you hiding?
- Nothing, sir.
Come. Give it to me.
'A poem to Elmira Royster'.
Mind you, Master Poe, I'm not opposed
to the scribbling of verse on occasion.
But everything in its season.
You know, your foster-father asked
me to report any such occurrence.
Please, Mr Burke.
I didn't mean to be inattentive.
Mr Burke.
I wouldn't like Mr Allan
to know of this.
It would upset him.
You should have thought of that before.
You sent for me, sir?
- Come here.
You have been warned repeatedly to
stop your wasting of valuable time.
There's an end to patience.
- I promise to change, sir.
I'll hear no more of your promises.
- I mean to keep them, sir.
And I mean to see that
you do. Come with me.
This is not the way.
- We shall see.
I'll not be beaten.
I promise to correct my ways.
If you insist on beating
me I'll run away.
You'll what?
- John, please.
I told you .. the apple has
not fallen far from the tree.
The parents were no good.
The boy follows in their steps.
That's not true. My parents were good.
- Of course, darling .. of course.
"In that way, the years passed."
"As Poe grew into manhood, his childhood
romance with Elmira ripened into love."
"In their hearts was an understanding
that one day they would be married."
Look this way a moment, will you Mira.
Hold it.
- The music?
No. The nose.
Thank you, sir.
- You're welcome, ma'am.
Now if you could stop
keeping time with your chin.
Is this a music recital
or an art exhibit?
It's an exhibition of beauty.
Real beauty. That is sufficient.
Do you like drawing better
than you do poetry, Eddie?
Drawing you is poetry, Mira.
- Eddie ..
Keep your chin just like that.
One minute.
Don't move.
Elmira .. Royster.
Edgar .. Allan .. Poe.
What a name to go with a sketch
of the best-looking girl in Virginia.
Lovely .. but the speech is old.
Of course, I've never heard
it better spoken before.
Nor will I ever say it again.
- To other girls in Virginia?
In the whole world.
I wish old Mr Thomas Jefferson
had something better to do than ..
Run about starting universities.
He wants to keep young men
like me from girls like you.
Am I so dangerous?
You grow more dangerous
all the time, my love.
How long will you be away, Eddie?
- I don't know.
Virginia is a new university.
With other colleges it takes three
or four years to get a diploma.
It depends upon Pa really. He's been
talking already about the expense.
Eddie, you haven't had another
quarrel with him, have you?
No more than usual.
Let's not talk about that, Mira.
[ Door knocks ]
Excuse me, Miss Mira.
Your Ma said if you going
to Master Edgar's party ..
You had better get dressed.
- Coming, Mose.
Yes, ma'am.
I wish Ma weren't giving
this party for me tonight.
I'd much rather spend my last
night in Richmond alone with you.
Wouldn't you, Mira?
Yes, Eddie.
You're the most beautiful dancer in
the room, Ma'am. Light as a feather.
Oh, Eddie. You flatter me.
Like Psyche, you're always
young and always beautiful.
Who was Psyche? I'm sure I've
heard of her, but I've forgotten.
In ancient Greece, she was
the Goddess of the soul.
In modern Richmond, her
name is 'Mrs Frances Allan'.
Mother, if ever there was one,
to that good-for-nothing Edgar Poe.
Ladies and gentlemen.
If I may have your kind
attention for a moment, please.
I wish to propose the health of our
up and coming scholar and poet.
A gentleman and a good fellow.
Mr Edgar Allan Poe.
And we might as well include
our gracious hostess.
And also, a charming young lady
who is going to miss him very much.
Remember Allan, we
Virginians marry young.
Unless I've forgotten the
look of the thing, this is love.
Marriage? I hope he's not
thinking of that, the fool.
You're an older fool that I thought
Royster if you want him as a son-in-law.
But I don't quite understand you.
Isn't Edgar your legal heir?
He is not. And I don't intend
to make him my heir.
Well, I'm glad you told me this.
It puts the matter in a different light.
I will speak to Mrs Royster about it.
So here you are.
You had better come in now, John.
Our guests are leaving.
Coming, Frances.
Eben was right, Eddie.
I will miss you.
And I you, Mira.
We'll see each other
in our letters though.
Write me all you do.
The least thing, the least thought.
I will. I'll write to you every day.
I love you so much, Mira.
And I love you.
Goodbye, Eddie.
'Goodnight', Mira.
We'll never say goodbye.
You'll need money.
You know nothing about spending of it.
And less about the saving of it.
But I'm forced to trust you. Here.
Here's a hundred dollars. Make it last.
But, sir.
I am sure I'll need more. There
will be tuition fees and board.
The University knows who I am.
They'll notify me of the
fees as they become due.
I can't go like a beggar, sir.
After all, I am a gentleman.
That I doubt.
You're an idler.
- I'm not an idler.
I'm a good student. I've worked
hard and my reports prove it.
You're wasting your time with trash.
I've seen the books you've read.
Don Quixote.
Pagan foolishness.
And Byron.
I'll not hear that man's
name in my house.
If a man must read poetry
there's Robbie Burns.
If he has time for it.
You're an ingrate.
I've wasted care and money on you.
I didn't ask you to take
me into your house.
You stopped my family in Baltimore
from taking me when they wanted me.
Why not ask them for money
to pay for your foolishness? Why?
Because I wouldn't know what to do ..
- Edgar, my dear.
Without her.
Have you quarrelled with
him on his last night?
I don't quarrel with those that
owe me obligations and respect.
Oh, John, please ..
- Ma ..
It's my fault.
I'm sorry, sir.
- Ha.
What you didn't hear, Ma ..
He didn't give me enough even for board.
- He'll send more, Eddie.
I'll speak to him in a few days.
He'll forget his anger.
Is there ever a time
when he's not angry?
But he does love you, Eddie.
- He's a strange way of showing it.
Sit down, Eddie.
You do want to go to the
university, don't you?
Of course I do, Ma.
And you want to become the great
man I know you're going to be.
Be patient.
And tolerant and understanding.
For the sake of your goal.
I'm going to like him, Ma.
For your sake.
"So Poe went to the university which
Thomas Jefferson founded a year before."
"He had very little money.
But he burned with ambition."
"The love of his foster-mother and his
sweetheart Elmira made life worthwhile."
The post, Mr Poe.
- Thank you, Jasper.
Anything for me?
- No, sir. Not a thing, Mr Burling.
The fear of mail hangs over my
head like a Sheriff's warrant.
Ahh ..
What's the matter? Bad news from home?
- No.
Well, as Plato says:
'No news is good news'.
Editors are idiots.
Are they? I never met one.
I never wrote a poem you
thought may be worth printing.
No. Not even one worthy to
be sent on St Valentine's day.
An idiot of an editor returned a poem
he'll regret he didn't publish someday.
Cheer up. You have many words left.
Something is wrong with Elmira.
Not with Mira there isn't.
She's nobody an editor would send back.
Something is wrong or
she would have written.
Oh, don't worry about
a letter from a woman.
Eben, you're a fool.
- Me, a fool?
Mooning about a love letter.
You ought to be more practical.
A letter from old man Allan with money
in it, is worth a hundred from a woman.
You owe half the tradesmen
in Charlottesville.
And the other half won't trust you.
- Pa will pay them.
That miser?
- Alright, I'll pay them myself.
- By my pen.
Does that pen drip golden pennies?
The pen didn't lay those
golden eggs this time.
Well, here's forgetfulness for a while.
There's nothing better on a cold
December day or any other day.
That's real poetry. Popular.
You don't ever taste it, do you Eddie?
I hate the taste.
It is the effect I want.
If I could get as much out
of one drink as you do.
It would save a lot of wear
on my Adam's apple.
How about another fling at cards?
Maybe your luck will
change before Christmas.
Bring on the pigeons.
I'll ask Turner Dixon.
- And Hugh Pleasant.
Excellent targets.
Better than the Bank of England.
The tradesmen will be paid in full.
But not by the pen.
- Run along, Eben.
I'll make a roaring fire
while you're gone.
Two tricks.
- One for me.
I've had enough.
Well, you owe me $180, Poe.
- And me $75.
Yes, you'll be paid gentlemen in full.
As soon as I get home. My guardian.
Of course we'll be paid. We didn't
question it, did we gentlemen?
The sooner the better. I've run up some
bills I don't want the governor to see.
I'm in the same fix.
Say, Poe. You couldn't let me
have some of it now, could you?
I'd like to pay a few
debts before I leave.
That is, before my father finds out.
- Well, I've got to pack.
Wait a minute.
I have something that's worth
what I owe you. Three times over.
It's impossible to value
its worth now, but ..
Here, look at it, Dixon.
- Hmm, what's this?
Can you read? Has the university left
you where it found you, ignorant?
It's a poem. One of many that
will make me famous and rich.
No insults, Poe.
Insults? You insult me. That's a poem.
A great poem.
- Poem?
Not even great poems pay gambling debts.
Dixon, I'm sorry. I didn't mean this.
Stop it, Dixon.
Just a minute, just a minute.
One moment, please.
Mr Poe, the President wishes to see you.
Old 'Independence' himself.
I'll be there directly.
Come in.
Good afternoon, Mr Poe.
- Good afternoon, Mr Jefferson.
Ah, the trouble you
young men are giving me.
I find it almost more difficult running
a University than running a nation.
Sit down .. pull up the chair.
- Thank you, sir.
Mr Boltman did me an ill-service, making
me read this fantastic tale of yours.
The 'Gold Bug' you call it.
I say 'ill-service' because it
kept me awake last night.
I couldn't go to sleep
until I'd finished it.
I'm sorry, sir.
I'm not .. not a bit.
I think you have hit upon
something new in storytelling.
Tell me.
How did you ever go about writing
a tale that kept me in such a stew?
The recipe is simple, Mr Jefferson.
You take three ingredients: the bizarre,
the romantic and the analytical.
Put them all together, shake well
and you have it. The reader stews.
I see.
What are your plans for the future, sir?
I intend to be an author.
- So, you should.
I'm honored sir, that you approve.
Mr Poe.
When I founded this institution, I
provided very few disciplinary measures.
I have always believed that a
Virginian was a gentleman by instinct.
I hope we haven't failed you, sir.
- Not at all.
You have behaved like gentlemen.
You have gambled and
fought duels and got drunk.
And attended weddings for thirty miles
around whether you were invited or not.
And you've gone deep into debt
in the most gentlemanly fashion.
Yes, sir. But ..
I haven't complained, have I?
- No, sir.
Come along.
Poe, what sort of man is this
foster-parent of yours, John Allan?
He's a practical man, sir.
So I can imagine.
This is a letter from him, in which he
insists you should return to Richmond.
You may read it.
He thinks that you
disgrace yourself here.
Wasting your time on literature.
He has The Law in mind for you.
You think you'd like that, Mr Poe?
- No, sir.
I thought you mightn't.
What do you intend to do about this?
I intend Mr Jefferson,
to return to Richmond ..
And suggest to my foster parent that he
leap into the middle of the James River.
Very spirited sir,
but not very practical.
Why not appeal to the
human side of Mr Allan?
I should greatly regret
to see you leave here.
Thank you, sir.
But I'm afraid convincing
Mr Allan will be difficult.
Try being a different man.
I once sent an ambassador
to the court of St James.
What I said to him wasn't exactly
original, but he found it very useful.
I shall give you the same instructions.
After every question that
Mr Allan puts to you, smile.
Nod your head a bit this way,
and then a bit that way.
Never raise your voice.
And before losing your temper.
Count to ten in Latin.
- I'll try it, sir.
Good afternoon, Mr Poe.
Good afternoon, Mr Jefferson.
And thank you, sir.
$2,500 in debts.
It's outrageous.
You're just a spendthrift and gambler.
I won't pay one penny of them.
Not one penny.
But you forced me to gamble, sir.
I didn't have enough to get along on.
If you please sir, at least pay my
debts of honor to my classmates.
And encourage these scoundrels
in their wickedness? I will not.
Nor your University fees neither.
I'll not support a gambler.
Nor a waster.
Nor a writer.
You prepare yourself for The Law.
- I'm not fitted for The Law, sir.
Then you're not fitted to eat my bread.
I give you until tomorrow morning.
To decide.
Where are you going?
- To the Roysters.
Don't go.
Why not?
Because Elmira isn't there.
- Well, where is she?
She's visiting the
Sheltons in the country.
What is it you have to tell me?
Elmira is going to marry Mr Shelton.
Why, how can she?
I don't understand. She ..
That's why she never wrote me.
I know now what to do.
You gave me until tomorrow morning
to decide. Well, I have decided.
Very well.
Think before you speak, Edgar.
- I have thought.
Writing is my life. The only life
I have and I'm not giving it up.
You make your decision.
Leave my house.
At once.
I must leave Richmond,
mother .. and you.
That's the most difficult
step of all. Leaving you.
I have faith in you, Eddie.
And everything you do.
Goodbye, mother.
I'll always love you.
"Poe knew that he had
lost Elmira for ever."
"Bitterly disillusioned, and broken
in spirit, he became a wanderer."
"In Boston, he found a
friend in a job printer."
"A man who printed a copy
of his first book of poems."
"But had no means of publishing it."
"One day, hungry and desperate."
"He passed a recruiting station."
"And on the spur of the moment,
he enlisted in the army."
"Assigned to a regiment of cavalry."
"He tried to submerge his tempestuous
spirit in army discipline."
"Then began a correspondence
with Mr Allan."
"Would the merchant use his influence
in Washington to obtain for Poe .."
"A place more in keeping
with his qualifications?"
"Seeing a chance to get
rid of him forever .."
"Allan got him an appointment
as a West Point cadet."
"But Poe was unhappy at West Point."
"And at last, secured
his own dismissal."
"By deliberately failing to
attend classes and parades."
"Because of this, Allan decreed he shall
never see his foster-mother again."
"He faced the world
penniless and alone."
"He had no-one to turn to.
Until he remembered his aunt."
"A Mrs Clemm, who lived in Baltimore."
Don't you be hounding me for money
at this time of night, Mr Stevens.
I haven't got a penny in the
world, and you know it.
But I'm an honest woman,
and I'll pay you when I can.
The Lord will punish you for cancelling
our provisions and letting us starve.
Is that you, auntie?
Who is it?
It's Edgar, your nephew. Edgar Poe.
Why, Eddie Poe.
I thought you were the
greengrocer. Come in.
Where have you been
for the past three years?
Well, we didn't know whether
you were dead or alive.
And never a word from
your Ma and Pa Allan.
So we used to write to ask about you.
Why, you're the spitting
image of my brother, David.
Just as handsome and
just as worn-out looking.
Oh, good heavens. Why, you're a soldier.
Sit down dear here.
You must be half frozen.
Sit down by the fire.
Warm yourself.
- Thank you, auntie.
I'll make you a cup of tea.
But we've haven't very
much to eat in the house.
But I'll pour a cup of water in the
soup that's left, and heat it for you.
Don't trouble, aunt. I'm not hungry.
Rubbish. Your branch of the Poes is
always hungry. With good reason.
My, you're an officer, aren't you?
- I've been at West Point.
Ah. Well you've come a long way on foot.
- Yes.
Well, I'll hurry with the tea.
Cousin Eddie.
My, but you've grown.
You're a cadet, aren't you?
You're a very pretty
young lady, Virginia.
Thank you.
Stop fussing over your cousin, and
help me. Go and fetch the bread.
Aunt Maria, permit me.
Oh, Eddie.
You did say that so nice and gallant.
Now, sit down. Eat your soup.
What about you, and Virginia?
- Oh, we've had ours.
Are you going to stay
here now, cousin Eddie?
I'm not going back to West Point.
I was court-martialed. Dismissed.
Dismissed? A nice boy like you?
I went there as I had no choice.
It was the last thing Mr Allan did
for me .. and it was the wrong thing.
Well, this is your home, Eddie.
As long as you want.
We haven't much. You can see that.
You're welcome to what there is.
Cousin Eddie can have my attic.
- Oh, we'll get along somehow.
There's no better seamstress in
Baltimore and what with my sewing ..
Do you think I'm going to accept
your hospitality for nothing?
Why, I've already made arrangements that
may bring me in 15-20 dollars a month.
And that's only a beginning.
Wait .. I've got a present for you.
My first book, Virginia.
'Tamerlane and Other Poems.
By A Bostonian'.
You must be famous.
My .. aren't they pretty.
I wish I hadn't gone and
lost my spectacles again.
Virginia. Read a little to me.
'I have no words, alas, to tell,
the loveliness of loving well'.
'Nor would I now attempt to trace,
the more than beauty of a face'.
'Whose lineaments upon my mind'.
'Are shadows on the unstable wind'.
Eddie. I think it's wonderful.
Kind of sad and comforting.
I don't know where
you get such thoughts.
They'll do for a beginning.
Some of them were written
when I was only 14 years old.
I've got much better poems
in my trunk .. stories too.
They'll make your hair
stand right on end, Virginia.
By the way, I sent my trunk on here.
Of course I had no right to intrude.
This is more your home than
that other place ever was.
Virginia, get a candle.
Show him up to his room.
You must be worn out, poor child.
- Oh, I'm alright, auntie.
But where will you sleep?
- With Muddy.
I'd rather, really. Because I've
been kind-of scared up there.
I hope you won't be.
- On the contrary.
You see, Virginia.
I won't be alone.
You won't?
- No.
Ghosts, dreams.
- Oh, Eddie.
Don't worry. I know what to
do with ghosts and dreams.
Snare them. Put them
in a bottle like this.
And sell them for money and fame.
You frighten me.
I frighten myself sometimes.
The world frightens me.
I'm going to enjoy frightening it back.
I think I'd better show you your room.
"From now on, Poe spends endless
hours at his table in the attic .."
"Writing his poems and stories."
"The second volume of his poems
was published in Baltimore."
"And that gave him some favorable
reviews, but very little money."
"Then came a day of triumph."
"Three men came to see Poe."
"They were Mr White,
Mr Graham and Mr Kennedy."
"Kennedy presented him with
a check for fifty dollars."
"First prize in a short-story contest."
"For the story which Poe called:
'The Manuscript Found In A Bottle'."
"Mr White wanted him to
become editor of his magazine."
"The Southern Literary Messenger."
"Published in Richmond.
The home of the Allans and Elmira."
"Mr Graham wanted him as editor of
Graham's Magazine in Philadelphia."
"Poe, overwhelmed by these
offers, asked them to wait."
"He wanted to consult
his aunt and Virginia."
Virginia. Come here.
Lazarus come forth.
- Oh.
Oh Muddy, look.
Look at the canary.
I wanted another one for such a time.
Eddie, you're the
most thoughtful person.
Ha. Don't carry on that way, Virginia.
He'll sit down and write another poem.
As for you.
So you can recognize true
genius when you see it.
Perfect. Now I can see
the thread of my needles.
Ladies, have you decided
where we're to go?
Eddie, if it were me,
I'd take Philadelphia.
Mr Graham has offered you more money,
and heaven knows we need it.
I'd like to live in Philadelphia
anyhow. They say it's lively.
I don't know. The offer tempts me but so
does Richmond. What say you, Virginia?
Anything you decide, Eddie.
Mr Graham's offer is tempting. The north
is the center of the publishing world.
We can leave tomorrow.
- Eddie is going to Richmond, mother.
Why do you say that, Virginia?
I don't know. I just feel it.
I know it, Eddie and I fear it.
Nonsense, Virginia. Nothing to fear.
Richmond is the capital of my heart.
I'm drawn to it as the murderer
is drawn to the scene of his crime.
Can't you ever forget those
ghosts and murderers?
To show Pa Allan that I'm
independent of his money.
The editor of The Messenger would be a
person of great importance in Richmond.
Are you still thinking of
that Royster girl, Edgar?
I have no feeling for her
but one of contempt.
I shall inform Mr White at once
that we accept his offer.
There are only two opinions in
this house. Edgar's and none.
Goodnight, Muddy.
- Goodnight, dear.
Virginia .. you know that I love you.
Will you go to Richmond
with me as my wife?
Your wife?
The wife of 'Edgar Allan Poe'?
Author and editor.
I need you.
Will you marry me?
Oh, Eddie.
[ Door knocks ]
Mr Edgar A Poe?
- Yes.
By special messenger.
- Thank you.
It's from Mr Allan.
Mom's very ill.
We must leave for Richmond at once.
"But Poe had been notified too late."
"When he arrived in Richmond he found
his beloved foster-mother was gone."
"Only her memory was alive."
"The memory of the woman
who had taken him, an orphan .."
"Into her heart so many years before."
"Soon, the flowers on her snow-covered
grave would wither and die."
"But to the end of his life,
Poe's love for Frances Allan .."
"Would remain green and everlasting."
"Though urged to leave
by his wife, Virginia."
"Poe remained in Richmond as editor
of the Southern Literary Messenger."
"He achieved a certain
amount of success."
"But constantly fought for a
revision of the copyright laws."
"And this got him into
trouble with his employer."
Mr Poe, I believe you've
gone too far, here.
Too far, Mr White?
When you attack the existing conditions
of copyright sir, you attack me.
From whom you derive your living.
I derive my living from no
man but from my own labors.
Your labors were not profitable Mr Poe
before becoming editor of my magazine.
They've been equally
profitable to you, Mr White.
I've increased the circulation of The
Literary Messenger by 3,000 copies.
I don't question that or your abilities.
But there's such a thing as loyalty.
To whom shall a man be
loyal if not to his own kind?
The writers of America have been sorely
wronged by the lack of a copyright law.
You sir. You and your fellow
publishers are thereby able to pirate.
To pirate, sir.
The work of foreign authors
without the payment of one penny.
And so commit our own writers to starve.
I was not aware that
Mr Longfellow, Mr Cooper ..
And other literary gentlemen whom
I could mention .. are starving.
They're the exceptions
that prove the rule.
For every one that you can
mention, I'll name you a dozen.
Very well. I'll make no issue of it.
As long as you're satisfactory
on other accounts, Mr Poe.
It may be well for you to remember our
bread is buttered from the same plate.
Don't let me disturb you further.
You better hurry up, dear. Or you won't
be ready by the time Eddie gets here.
Oh, Muddy.
Oh, isn't it beautiful?
And isn't everything romantic?
Plenty to eat, chicken on
Sundays, and no debts.
Everything is very romantic.
Muddy, I do so love this dress.
Still, I think I've been extravagant.
- Oh, nonsense.
Eddie won't think of the cost ..
Of making his wife look the most
beautiful woman in Richmond.
Muddy, do I really look like
the wife of a great editor?
You look like an
Eddie Allan Poe creation.
[ Door knocks ]
May I come in?
Hurry, Muddy, hurry.
Come in.
I've never dreamed of writing
a poem as lovely as you, madam.
Why, Mr Poe .. thank you, sir.
I must be a genius, too.
I just said the same thing.
How does it feel to be going to
your first ball with your husband?
Oh Eddie, it feels like heaven
to go anywhere with you.
Walk into that ballroom as becomes
the family of 'Edgar Allan Poe'.
If there's a word against Eddie.
Forget you're an aristocrat and
remember your Irish ancestry.
People in Richmond, like Gaul,
are divided into three parts.
Those that like you for yourself.
Those that like you for your ancestors.
And those that do not like
you for your success.
Goodnight, Muddy.
- Nighty-night, darling.
There goes that Mr Poe and his wife.
- Why do you say that Mr Poe?
He is a notorious character.
Isn't he Genevieve?
They say his family were gypsies
or acrobats or something.
Think. Marrying his own cousin.
What difference does that make?
- James.
Oh Eddie, you look so handsome.
Thank you, darling.
But it's only a reflected glory.
I shine in your light.
No, it's the other way round.
I can feel everybody looking at you.
You're too modest, as usual.
Please ask Mr Poe to step
out on the terrace, Eben.
May I have this dance please, Mrs Poe?
No sooner said than done, Mira.
I'm counting on your discretion.
- I understand.
Hello, Eben.
Elmira's out on the terrace.
She wants to talk to you.
You wanted to see me?
I .. I wanted to explain.
There's no occasion for an explanation.
- But there is.
It's about your letters.
I never received them.
I thought you'd forgotten me.
I don't understand, Mira.
My father intercepted them, Eddie.
Every one of them.
I found out afterwards. Too late.
You did love me, then?
Why did you marry Shelton?
I couldn't help myself.
Did you love him?
Not as I loved you.
Why didn't you write me?
I did, Eddie.
Father stopped them, too.
Thank you Mira, for telling me.
It's good to know the truth.
Now I must go back to my wife.
Mr Poe, your wife has
been looking for you.
Elmira, I told you, you were never
to see, nor hear from this man.
Didn't I?
Didn't I?
Mrs Poe, I presume you know your
husband was once in love with my wife.
I'd hoped he was cured of
this uninvited affection for her.
I can't stand any more.
Let's go in, dear.
Darling. Will you wait
there for me a moment?
I warn you, Poe. I shall
beat within an inch of ..
I've been to every tavern in Richmond.
They haven't seen him.
Now, now.
Now, dear.
If that Shelton woman hadn't been there.
It was the fight with her husband
that made him go on this spree.
For three days?
- There, there, there.
There's nothing to worry about.
Nothing to worry about?
Nothing to worry about, when he
might be lying somewhere, dead.
Darling, the good Lord takes
care of fools and drunkards.
He's not a drunkard. It's just that ..
Excuse me, ma'am.
Mr White.
Where is he?
He's at your office, Mr White.
- He is not.
He's in some tavern. Drunk.
I looked everywhere for him, Mr White.
- So have I.
Mrs Poe, your husband
is not to be trusted.
But he is, Mr White.
Edgar is a very sensitive man.
- So am I.
I'm sensitive about my business.
About my duties to my subscribers.
And above all, I'm sensitive
about being taken for a fool.
My husband has the
greatest regard for you.
Then let him show it
by attending to his work.
I'm tired of excusing him,
as you must be, Mrs Poe.
If Edgar doesn't appear
at work, and sober ..
He'll be without employment.
Good day.
Muddy, where can he be?
What can he be thinking
to do such a thing to us?
He's sleeping it off somewhere.
He isn't even thinking about us.
If he loses his position, what do we do?
- Starve.
No-one will employ him.
He'll lose faith in himself.
He'll destroy his whole future.
I have to go and find him.
Don't be a fool.
No man wants his wife
kicking him out of the saloon.
I'll go nevertheless.
- Alright.
You play the beaten drunkard's wife.
Plead for him: 'father oh father,
come home with me now'.
And you lose him forever.
Muddy, I can't just sit around and wait,
not knowing what's happening to him.
I can tell you what's happening to him.
He's standing up at the bar.
If he can still stand.
Dedicating his poem
to the beautiful moon.
'Oh silver orb ..'
Muddy, stop.
Stop making fun of him.
I love him, whatever he does.
To me, he's the greatest
husband a woman ever had.
He's mine.
All yours, dear.
Good morning.
I'll return this later.
- Later.
Well Poe, how do you feel?
Excellent. Never felt better in my life.
That's good.
A good night's sleep, a cold bath in
the morning, and a brisk walk to work.
Poe, you're a liar.
You've insulted me.
I'll not permit you to
insult my intelligence.
You've not been home in days.
Your wife is distracted.
I'm tired of your drinking.
I lead my own life,
I'll have you understand.
I'll have you understand I'll not pay
for your worthless life with my money.
Money, money.
That's all you think about.
I'm sick of your insults and the
crumbs you throw to your betters.
Try running The Messenger without me.
- You're discharged.
You're too late. I discharged you first.
"After his downfall in Richmond .."
"Poe, Virginia and Mrs Clemm
set out for Philadelphia."
"Then, an important artistic center."
"After some struggle for recognition,
he became editor of Graham's Magazine."
"Then followed a period of
literary and social success."
"A time of domestic happiness."
What are you doing out
here in the garden, darling?
Picking a flower for my husband.
But the doctor said that you must rest.
- Nonsense.
Now you're the best-dressed
editor in Philadelphia.
Are you sure you'll be well enough
to come to the office this afternoon?
Of course. I won't miss the opportunity
of meeting the great Charles Dickens.
You must ask him about Oliver.
- His son?
No, you goose.
Oh, you mean Oliver Twist,
the boy who asked for more?
That's right.
I shall tell Mr Dickens he'll meet the
most beautiful woman in America.
Just the happiest wife in the world.
If you don't go to work ..
We'll be the best starved-poet's
family in Philadelphia.
Goodbye, darling.
- Goodbye, Eddie.
He's here, Mr Poe.
Coming up the stairs, now.
He is?
- Yes, sir.
Remember, you promised me his autograph.
- Yes. I know.
Come in, Mr Dickens. Welcome. I'm ..
I know .. 'Edgar Allan Poe'.
The greatest writer in America.
You're too generous, sir.
- Not at all.
I've spoken to literary
men all over Europe.
They know of Irving and
Cooper only slightly.
But Poe?
It's an honor to have you say that, sir.
I wish my wife were
here to share it with me.
She'll share many honors with you. Many.
Thank you, sir. She comes in
later specially to meet you.
She can quote whole
passages from Oliver Twist.
You should have her quote from your
own ending of my Barnaby Rudge.
I was sorry about that, sir.
I often thought to write you an apology.
What for? For splendid writing?
Why, you finished Barnaby for me.
Frankly, I was a little
hard-pressed for an ending.
But Mr Dickens.
Taking a man's work without
paying for it .. is robbery.
That is the practice
that brought me here.
Not my personal grievance.
But the cause of every writer.
The copyright law.
You've been an invaluable aid, Poe.
That article which appeared
in The Messenger.
You expressed it beautifully.
- Thank you, sir.
Let's see how it goes.
The work of a man's hands is his sacred
possession that no-one can deny him.
Yet the divine inspiration of
a man's soul and his mind ..
Editors and publishers steal
with no qualm of conscience.
As if a man's brain is an international
playground for literary pirates.
It is extraordinary.
You know it by heart.
I quote it at copyright meetings
from London to Geneva.
Yet we writers in Europe are a
little disappointed in your ..
Shall we say, lack of
enthusiasm recently.
I know it's not lack of courage.
It is not, sir. Believe me.
But, I have a family.
My wife doesn't complain.
I don't mean that. But ..
Well, she has suffered for
my so-called courage.
She'll suffer more if your work
goes unprotected and unpaid for.
Here comes Mr Graham. He'll need
some convincing on that point.
Mr Dickens.
This is a very great honor, sir.
- Mr Graham.
I'm sorry to be delayed, gentlemen.
Your Mr Poe has been very entertaining.
We were discussing the copyright law.
That's not very entertaining
or profitable, Mr Poe.
It is to us who write, Mr Graham.
I doubt you've any grievance
against us publishers.
Except the grievance any writer has ..
Against those who use the work of
his brain without paying him.
Well said. Well said.
You have scruples
about stealing my watch.
Yet have no scruples
about stealing my work.
That's an impertinence, sir.
It is a just deduction,
is it not, Mr Poe?
Of course it is, Mr Dickens.
And I believe ..
Keep out of this, Poe.
- I'll not keep out.
As you've a high-handed attitude, I'll
write for the cause of copyright law ..
In the next issue of Graham's Magazine.
There will be no 'next issue'
of my magazine for you.
Nor will there be a Graham's
Magazine for my writings.
And your magazine? Why yours? Because
you can't read? Because you can't write?
Because you know how to steal the work
of writers without even a by-your-leave?
Because he's an unscrupulous
pirate of men's minds.
Like yours, Mr Poe.
Fine minds. Good day.
I trust I will see your good wife later.
- Thank you, sir.
And now, Mr Poe. You're through.
And good riddance.
I'm delighted to be through, Mr Graham.
Through helping you
with your literary piracy.
Free to tell the world what I ..
- Free to starve.
I pity your family.
- And I pity you, as a thief.
Turn round. Let me see how you look.
Pretty as a picture.
Tell Mr Dickens if he doesn't like this
dress I'll stop reading Oliver Twist.
He'll like it, Muddy.
And so will Eddie. Goodbye.
I can't tolerate such an attitude.
Where he is and what
he does isn't my affair.
I am sorry for you, Mrs Poe.
I wish no sympathy from you, sir.
If Edgar was rude to you, you
deserved it. He's a man of opinions.
He wishes to be free, madam.
Free to drink.
You will undoubtedly find
him in some tavern .. drunk.
Good day, sir.
A gentleman brought him in two days ago.
He paid his lodgings in advance.
He's resting now.
But when he's awake,
he sure carries on considerably.
He keeps calling for
somebody named 'Virginia'.
Would that be you, ma'am?
You call me if you want anything.
- Yes, thank you.
What place is this?
I've come to take you home, dear.
Haven't I been home?
No, dear.
- Dear?
How can you call me that?
I've done nothing for you, and what
I have done I've destroyed now.
This is the last time.
I hope so. It seems such a waste.
- I swear it's the last time.
I know dear. You'll try.
You'll try because I love
you and you love me.
I do, Virginia.
Eddie, we could be so happy.
There's nothing to stop us. Nothing.
You're the most brilliant
man in this country.
Mr Dickens says so, and I know it.
That scoundrel, Graham.
Pitying me.
Patronizing me before Dickens.
Oh, darling.
They who create have always been treated
like that by those who don't understand.
Oh Eddie, let's go away somewhere.
Away from Philadelphia.
Haven't I led you from place to
place enough? Like some fugitive.
What of it?
I've told you that just
being with you is heaven.
We'll go to New York.
They'll understand better there.
Yes, Eddie.
"In New York, Poe's wife was
stricken with a serious illness."
"To provide for her care .."
"He wrote unceasingly
for the journals of that day."
"His pen, it seemed, was never idle."
"Although his fame increased, his
fortunes remained at a low ebb."
"His reputation as a troublemaker
had preceded him."
"Because of his unceasing fight
against unfair copyright laws .."
"No editor would hire him."
"And few would give his writings
the attention they deserved."
"Then, in a little cottage
in Fordham .."
"Poe and his family made
their last stand against destiny."
"Unable to buy proper food
for his frail, childlike wife .."
"He watched her health
steadily decline."
[ Footsteps sounds overhead ]
Hear him, Muddy?
Hear him walking back and
forward like a man possessed.
He's working.
Then we'll be able to
get some groceries.
If it's real good, maybe we
can get some parsley too.
You're always thinking of
things like that, Muddy.
Of course.
It can't do the poetry any harm
to listen to it with a full stomach.
Now come on. Take some broth.
I don't want any. I'm not hungry.
Oh come now, dear.
It will do you good.
It's dandelion broth.
Fresh dandelion.
I picked the field clean today.
Just as I picked the neighbors clean.
We mustn't lose our courage, Muddy.
Eddie has trouble enough.
No thanks. I don't want any more.
I saw a sheep in the field today.
But I couldn't lift it.
Oh, if the Lord would only send
one leg of a sheep my way.
How are you, my darling?
- Much better.
That's good.
I've wonderful news for you.
It's done. I've finished it and it's
the best thing I've ever written.
Really, darling?
Muddy, didn't I tell you?
I'll take it to Mr Griswold for The
Broadway Journal. I know he'll like it.
You know Muddy, I think he'll
pay as much as $25 for it.
And then food and medicine and
a warm blanket for Virginia.
And a new coat for you, dear.
And a porterhouse steak for me.
What's the name of your poem?
- The Raven.
The Raven? You think they'll be
interested in birds these hard times?
Is it .. to me?
Everything I write,
everything I hope to write.
Is to you, and because of you.
And because I love you.
'And my soul, from out of that shadow'.
'That lies floating on the floor'.
'Shall be lifted .. nevermore'.
I'm sorry, Mr Poe.
I don't think it would
appeal to my readers.
Mr Griswold, I know they'd like it.
It's the best thing I've ever written.
Perhaps $25 is too much.
I could let you have it for $20.
I must have money. My wife is ..
I've got an idea.
I'll call in the printers, and you
shall read your poem to them.
Call in the printers?
- Why not?
They represent the
average man, the reader.
Yes. Yes, call them in. They'll
give you an honest opinion.
I shall abide by their judgment.
Now cheer up, dear.
He'll sell that bird for a golden egg.
He says himself The Raven is
the best thing he's ever written.
I know he will.
Now, don't excite yourself.
Everything is going to be alright.
Gentleman, you're all acquainted
with Mr Edgar Allan Poe and his work.
Mr Poe has written a new poem, called ..
The Raven.
- Yes, yes. The Raven.
He will read it to you.
I want your candid opinion of it.
Please begin, Mr Poe.
'Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered weak and weary.'
'Over many a quaint and
curious volume of forgotten lore.'
'While I nodded, nearly napping.'
'Suddenly there came a-tapping.'
'As if someone gently rapping,
rapping, at my chamber door.'
'Tis some visitor, I muttered.
Tapping at my chamber door.'
'Only this and nothing more.'
'How distinctly I remember,
it was in the bleak December.'
'And each separate dying ember
wrought its ghost upon the floor.'
'Eagerly I wished the morrow.'
'Vainly I had sought to borrow,
from my books surcease of sorrow.'
'Sorrow for the lost Lenore.'
'For a rare and radiant maiden.'
'Whom the angels named Lenore.'
'Nameless here, for evermore.'
[ Door knocks ]
Sorry. I knocked but you didn't hear me.
I hope you don't mind my coming,
but I heard you were ill.
Not at all. It was nice of you to come.
I had hoped that Eddie ..
That Mr Poe was home.
I'm sure he'll be sorry
to have missed you.
Mrs Poe, I've heard that things have
not been going well with him, lately.
He's never written more
beautiful things. Never.
I'm glad. Very glad.
Eddie has a great talent.
He dedicates his poems to me.
Before my husband died.
I am so sorry.
Why are you here?
I thought I might help.
Thanks, Mrs Shelton, but ..
He doesn't need your help.
We're doing very well.
He's famous.
Even a genius needs help
sometimes, Mrs Poe.
Mrs Shelton.
You belong to Eddie's past.
I'm his present .. and his future.
I mustn't distress you further.
And I hope you are better soon.
If there's anything I can do.
- Thank you, Mrs Shelton.
Who was that woman?
- Elmira Shelton.
What does she want?
What's she doing here?
Oh Muddy, don't let her
take him away from me.
Don't let her.
I love him.
'Be that word our sign in parting,
bird or fiend, I shrieked, upstarting.'
'Get thee back into the tempest,
and the night's Plutonian shore.'
'Leave no black plume as a token,
of that lie thy soul hath spoken.'
'Leave my loneliness unbroken.'
'Quit the bust above my door.'
'Take thy beak from out my heart.'
'And take thy form from off my door.'
'Quoth The Raven.'
'And The Raven never flitting.'
'Still is sitting.'
'Still is sitting on the pallid bust of
Pallas, just above my chamber door.'
'And his eyes ..'
'Have all the seeming of a
demon's .. that is gleaming.'
'And the lamplight o'er him streaming.'
'Casts his shadow on the floor.'
'And my soul, from out that shadow
that lies floating on the floor.'
'Shall be lifted ..'
Well, gentlemen?
I'm very sorry, sir.
But I just don't care
for any part of it.
A raven?
Sitting on the bust of
a Grecian Goddess?
And over a door?
And you others?
That will do, gentlemen.
Excuse me, sir.
I thought it was wonderful.
Run along. Run along.
I'm very sorry.
Mr Poe.
Your manuscript.
A dollar? Thanks.
They say his wife is very ill.
Poor Mr Poe.
Here's my five cents.
- Thanks, Timothy.
Hurry up. Hurry now. Hurry.
Mr Poe.
Here .. from the printers.
Hello, darling.
- Eddie.
Did they like it?
- Like it?
Virginia, it was wonderful.
Just think of it.
They gave me $15 in advance.
And promised me $25 more on publication.
Just wait until you see
the food I've brought.
Eddie .. I'm afraid.
Afraid of what?
That we begin to have good luck?
That the doctor says you
are improving so rapidly?
Eddie is not only selling The Raven.
But his whole menagerie of poems.
Oh, Muddy .. you're so funny.
Look Muddy, she's smiling.
Now I'm going to fix some good,
hot, chicken broth for you.
Mrs Shelton was here.
Oh, Eddie.
Do you love her?
How could you ask me that?
What would I be without you?
A wandering minstrel without
a reason for his rhymes.
You are the meaning in my words.
The singing in my songs.
You are my life.
I love you and only you.
Now and forever.
'We loved with a love
that was more than love.'
'I and my Annabel Lee.'
'The angels, not half so happy in
heaven, went envying her and me.'
'Yes. That was the reason, as all men
know, in this kingdom by the sea.'
'That a wind came out
of the cloud by night.'
'Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.'
'After Virginia's death, Poe wandered
back to Baltimore, a broken man.'
'There, he sank lower and
lower, trying to forget.'
'But his heartbreak was one
that could never be forgotten.'
'Destroyed in body and spirit.'
'He was picked up by a gang of vote
fixers and with other outcasts ..'
'Dragged from polling
place to polling place.'
'To make his mark on ballots
he could not even see.'
'One day, in a low tavern,
surrounded by dock-rats and thieves.'
'Poe was recognized by a stranger
who had admired some of his works.'
'The man and his friends took
him to a Baltimore hospital.'
'There, under the care of kind Dr Moran,
and nursed by the good doctor's wife.'
'He lay for three days in a delirium.'
'Everything possible was done for him.'
'Every effort made to revive that
last feeble, thread of willpower.'
'But his will to live
and to create had gone.'
'The flame had burned too low.'
I have genius, Virginia.
Sometimes, a man must ..
Shout it out.
So that the world will hear him.
Dearer to me than life.
You are not wrong who deem,
that my days have been a dream.
All that we see or seem,
is but a dream within a dream.
"Little did the people
of that time realize."
"That one day the statue
of Edgar Allan Poe."
"Would stand in the Hall of Fame."
"And little did they know, that
the manuscript of The Raven."
"Which he tried in
vain to sell for $25 .."
"Would years later bring the
price of $17,000 from a collector."
"The Gods laugh."
"And Poe laughs with them."