The Avenging Conscience
|The Avenging Conscience|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||D. W. Griffith|
|Written by||D. W. Griffith|
|Based on||"The Tell-Tale Heart" and "Annabel Lee"
by Edgar Allan Poe
|Starring||Henry B. Walthall
|Cinematography||G. W. Bitzer|
|Edited by||James Smith
Majestic Motion Picture Company
|Distributed by||Mutual Film Corporation|
|Running time||78 minutes|
The Avenging Conscience: or "Thou Shalt Not Kill" (1914) is a drama film directed by D. W. Griffith. The film is based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" and the poem "Annabel Lee".
A young man (Henry B. Walthall) falls in love with a beautiful woman (Blanche Sweet), but is prevented by his uncle (Spottiswoode Aitken) from pursuing her. Tormented by visions of death and suffering and deciding that murder is the way of things, the young man kills his uncle and builds a wall to hide the body.
The young man's torment continues, this time caused by guilt over murdering his uncle, and he becomes sensitive to slight noises, like the tapping of a shoe or the crying of a bird. The ghost of his uncle begins appearing to him and, as he gradually loses his grip on reality, the police figure out what he has done and chase him down. In the ending sequence, we learn that the experience was all a dream and that his uncle is really alive.
- Henry B. Walthall as The nephew
- Blanche Sweet as His sweetheart
- Spottiswoode Aitken as The uncle
- George Siegmann as The Italian
- Ralph Lewis as The detective
- Mae Marsh as The maid
- Robert Harron as The grocery boy
- George Beranger
- "Progressive Silent Film List: The Avenging Conscience". Silent Era. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- The Avenging Conscience at the Internet Movie Database
- The Avenging Conscience is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
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