The Tell-Tale Heart

A lonely man documents the events that drove him mad.

 

United Kingdom
1953
Short Film
Realism: 
Surreal
Black & White
3.04
How I heart thee!
3.04
3.04
6
2
1
2
1
Ambiance
Plot
Dialogue
This 20-minute short film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name stars Stanley Baker and no one else. It was believed lost until a 16mm copy was found in a bargain box in 2018. It looks much more dated than it is for reasons I cannot fathom. It’s in the performance, the posture, the body language, the lighting, the grain, and the architecture.
This cast should normally include four or five characters to tell the original story. It’s narrated by Edgar Allan Poe himself speaking in the past tense, in his estate... or his master’s, possibly. If he’s to meet a sinister fate, how could he narrate this in this setting, considering where this story originally ends. At the risk of spoiling this age-old tale, it’s a pretty destructive journey.
1953’s black and white retelling of The Tell-Tale Heart is the kind of stuff you watch in film school, or when you go down the Poe rabbit hole. Most fans of the man would agree this is one of his best stories. This version does it justice, be it through its poetic vibe, its text, or its ambiance. It’s shot like a 1940s movie in one location and just one actor.
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