Horror Fest 2016 – The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)

tell-tale-1Horror Fest 2016: The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)
Cast:      Joseph Schildkraut as Young Man (Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation)
Roman Bohnen as Old Man (The Mask of Dimitrios)

Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe
Screenplay by Doane R. Hoag
Directed by Jules Dassin (The Canterville Ghost, The Naked City)

Plot: A master has spent years abusing his slave/apprentice until the young man can’t take it anymore. After killing the old man, he becomes overwrought with guilt. But is that the beating of the old man’s heart he hears in the distance…getting louder…and louder?

tell-tale-2Personal Thoughts: One of the wonderful things about Turner Classic Movies is that they will play forgotten and seldom seen hidden gems from the past. This includes short subjects from musicals to cartoons. It was twelve years ago, in 2004, that I recorded and first watched Mad Love (1935). When I sat down to watch it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that after the movie, TCM played this short. It is a simple but entertaining retelling of the classic Poe tale. Filmed BY MGM, it takes a few liberties with the story, as most adaptations of Poe’s work often do. But it is incredibly well-made, with lighting and camera work that is supposedly heavily influenced by Citizen Kane, another little film released the same year. Schildkraut and Bohnen are also well-cast and help elevate this beyond a standard short subject, not surprising considering it comes from MGM. Well worth spending twenty minutes of your day to experience this version.


  • This was the feature film debut of director Jules Dassin. He was part of the infamous Hollywood Blacklist in 1948 and would spend the majority of the rest of career in Europe.
  • Joseph Schildkraut is best known to genre fans for his work in the 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone, Deaths-Head Revisited.


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