The Tell-Tale Heart (1941 film)
|The Tell-Tale Heart|
|Directed by||Jules Dassin|
|Written by||Doane R. Hoag
Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe
|Music by||Sol Kaplan|
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Running time||20 minutes|
The film marked Dassin's directorial debut after working as an assistant to Alfred Hitchcock and Garson Kanin. It is typical of the short film adaptations of literary classics studios produced to precede the feature film during the 1930s and 1940s.
After years of being subjected to verbal and emotional abuse by his master, a young weaver decides to murder him. Before the elderly man dies, he predicts his killer eventually will succumb to an overwhelming sense of guilt and betray himself.
Shortly after the man's death, the weaver begins to hear various sounds - a ticking clock, a dripping faucet, and rain falling into a metal pan outside the window - that convince him he can hear his victim's heart still beating beneath the floorboards where he buried him. When two deputy sheriffs appear at the house the following day, he confesses to his crime to clear his tortured conscience.
- Joseph Schildkraut as Young Man
- Roman Bohnen as Old Man
- Oscar O'Shea as First Deputy Sheriff
- Will Wright as Second Deputy Sheriff
In an article about Jules Dassin written the week of his death, Time film critic Richard Corliss called The Tell-Tale Heart "possibly the very first movie to be influenced by Citizen Kane ... This short film ... is positively a-swill in Orson Wellesian tropes: the crouching camera, the chiaroscuro lighting, the mood-deepening use of silences and sound effects."