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Edgar Allan Poe movie stars John Cusack, not Baltimore

Filmmakers are shooting "The Raven," a new movie about Baltimore's most celebrated author, Edgar Allan Poe, but don't expect to see star John Cusack wandering around the city. To cut costs, the movie is being filmed in Europe, notable Belgrade and Budapest. Nothing at Baltimore's Poe House, the neighborhood where he died, or his gravesite? Heresy!

Baltimore Sun reporters Mary Carole McCauley and Michael Sragow note that the fictionalized movie, scheduled for a 2011 release, is set during the last five days of Poe's life — a period when he disappeared before turning up dazed and incoherent. He died shortly thereafter.

The film begins with Poe's return to Baltimore for the second and final time, according to the Sun article. A serial killer is terrorizing the local citizens, and it is apparent that he is being inspired by Poe's stories. Initially, the novelist is a suspect. After he clears his name — and after his fiancee is kidnapped — the author works with a Baltimore police inspector to solve the crimes.

The circumstances surrounding Poe's death in Baltimore have always been unclear. He died Oct. 7, 1849, at Church Hospital, a building that has been converted to housing for the Washington Hill neighborhood. Here's how the Sun wrote about the event: DEATH OF EDGAR A. POE -- We regret to learn that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., the distinguished American poet, scholar and critic, died in this city yesterday morning, after an illness of four or five days. This announcement, coming so sudden and unexpected, will cause poignant regret among all who admire genius, and have sympathies for the frailties too often attending it. Mr. Poe, we believe, was a native of this state, though reared by a foster father at Richmond, Va., where he lately spent some time on a visit. He was in the 38th year of his age.

For more Read Street postings, including those marking the 200th anniversary of his birth, check out our Edgar Allan Poe section.

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