The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)

ERNEST MORRIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

United Kingdom, 1960Danziger Productions Ltd..Screenplay by , , based on the story by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by , .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Edgar Allan Poe’s terrific short story is given an expanded film treatment that captures the spirit of his writing but fails to make a particularly compelling film. Edgar Marsh () is the chief librarian in a quaint nineteenth-century town who falls madly in love with Betty (), the flower-seller who lives across the street from him. They begin a shy courtship that turns to ruin when she falls passionately in lust with his rakish best friend Carl (), and Marsh sees them making love from his window. Naturally, the only way for Edgar to make things right is to murder Carl and plant his body beneath the floorboards, which only makes our hero feel so much better about himself. Why is it, then, that in the middle of the night he hears a heart beating whose pulse never stops? Cool effects and wonderfully atmospheric photography are incentives, but the story is better suited to the short format and never really qualifies for its grand treatment here.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Great performance from Laurence Payne in one of his few starring roles.Chiefly a theatrical actor , T.V’s Sexton Blake and three times Dr.Who ‘ villain ‘, in this film he portrays a range of emotions from ‘stiff upper-lip to hysteria’.From a walk on one -liner in Green for Danger[1946] to Shakespeare’s Animated Tales[1992] his movie career was mostly cameos-look out for him in The Court Martial of Major Keller [1960] and Trevor Nunn’s Romeo and Juliet [1972] GILLIAN

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