ONCE AGAIN, WE have been most impressed and amazed with the wide ranging numbers subject matter and quality that has been injected into the field of the Short Subject. Most commonly viewed of these being that of the Comedies (Laurel & Hardy, 3 Stooges, Joe McDoakes, Our Gang, Pete Smith, etc.), we seem to be all too unaware of the multitude of other treasures in this category.
IN ADDITION TO their role of providing film exhibitors with inexpensive or even free fodder with which to fill out their programs, shorts also provided the studios witha sort of experimental lab. New ideas could be employed in the making of a short and up and coming and inspiring Directors could be tested and found.
THIS MAY WELL BE the case in point with the production of THE TELL TALE HEART. Director, Jules Dassin, would soon become one of the most important filmmakers of the Post World War II era. Among his output we have: BRUTE FORCE, THE NAKED CITY, THIEVES HIGHWAY and NIGHT AND THE CITY.
AS FOR THIS short film, itself, it has much to recommend it. First of all, the cast of Joseph Schildkraut, Roman Bohnen, Will Wright (uncredited) and Oscar O'Shea (ditto), was most effective in conveying the horror and eerie mood throughout. A sort of underplaying lent itself to the prevailing feelings of loneliness, isolation and frustration.
ONE OTHER QUALITY that we noticed is how the films 2 reels (20 minutes) are so skillfully used. There is naught a wasted moment nor is there any overly long presentation of any aspect of the story. In what may well have been a great coincidence, Mr. Dassin and company may well have given us a key to future productions. What we mean is that intentional or not, this production of THE TELL TALE HEART may be viewed as a sort of blueprint for the half hour television dramas that we seen so frequently over the years. Titles such as Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE and NIGHT GALLERY, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, ONE STEP BEYOND and THE OUTER LIMITS are extreme examples of this notion.
ADAPTED FROM THE story by Edgar Allen Poe, we're sure that he would be well satisfied with the final screen product.