The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Mystery, Short

The Tell-Tale Heart (1941) Poster

In this classic Edgar Allan Poe story, a man commits a murder, but afterward the victim's beating heart torments the murderer's mind.


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27 October 2018 | AlsExGal
| A 19th century Crime Doesn't Pay episode?
The Crime Doesn't Pay series was an MGM short series that would retell some tale of crime and show how the guilty are always punished. Forget that this is not the case, the censors demanded such an ending, so that was the ending you always got. Sometimes the series would talk about career criminals, sometimes it would be an ordinary person swept up in extraordinary circumstances, thinking that they could get away with murder or larceny or some other serious crime.

This is a little different. It is an adapted dramatization of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". In Poe's story you do not know why the person telling the story has decided to kill the old man, but you do get the feeling the guy is insane because he protests so much that he isn't. The source of his malice seems to be a milky eye that the old man has, which the narrator/murderer seems to focus in on as some source of evil.

In this dramatization, Joseph Schildkraut plays a weaver's assistant who is being physically and emotionally abused by the old weaver. From the dialogue it is ascertained that Schildkraut's character came to work for him when he was 14 and never worked for anybody else - probably an orphan. So the weaver is established as a cruel person. When the assistant kills him in the middle of the night to escape his torment, he may have hidden the body well, but he didn't think through an alibi at all. He has no story for where the old man might have gone and when he is coming back, or why he might never come back. Also, the weaver lets out a scream as he is being killed which a neighbor hears and this brings the authorities the next morning.

Schildkraut shows what a fine actor that he is as he is pretty much the center of attention throughout. Recommended as a showcase for Schildkraut's acting and the fine special effects for 1941.

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