Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom, 1960. Danziger Productions Ltd..Screenplay by Brian Clemens, Eldon Howard, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe. Cinematography by James Wilson. Produced by Edward J. Danziger, Harry Lee Danziger. Music by Tony Crombie, Bill LeSage. Production Design by Norman G. Arnold, Peter Russell. Costume Design by Rene Coke. Film Editing by Derek Parsons.
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 (Laurence Payne) is the chief librarian in a quaint nineteenth-century town who falls madly in love with Betty (Adrienne Corri), 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 (Dermot Walsh), 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.