The Tell-Tale Heart
Edward J.Danziger, Harry Lee Danziger for Danziger Productions
directed by Ernest Morris
starring Laurence Payne, Adrienne Corri, Dermot Walsh, Selma Vaz Dias, John Scott, John Martin, Annette Carell, David Lander, Rosemary Rotheray, Suzanne Fuller, Yvonne Buckingham, David Courtney, Richard Bennett, Joan Peart, Elizabeth Paget, Nade Beall, Pamela Plant, Graham Ashley, Patsy Smart
screenplay by Brian Clemens, Eldon Howard, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Tom Crombie, Bill LeSage
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Librarian Edgar Walsh (Laurence Payne) is a tad on the shy side and
mostly invokes pity in women, nevertheless, he somehow manages to ask hid
across-the-street neighbour Betty Clare (Adrienne Corri) out ... and
gradually opens up to her and falls in love with her, always encouraged by
the fact that she respects and likes him.
Everything could be so beautiful, but then Edgar introduces Betty to
his best friend, the extroverted, open-minded womanizer Carl (Dermot
Walsh), because "everybody likes Carl", and for Betty it is love
at first sight. First Carl tries to push her back, but pushing a woman
back for too long is against his nature, and eventually, on the exact
night Edgar planned to propose to Betty (but didn't), she manages to take
Carl home with her, and they make love in her bed ... in full view of
Edgar, who watches everything from across the street.
The next day, Edgar invites Carl over ... and hits him over the head
with a poker, killing him. Then he hides Carl's body under the living room
floor. However, soon his conscience plays tricks on him, and he starts to
hear Carl's heart beating with everything he hears, be it a clock ticking
or a fawcett dripping. Ultimately, he opens up Carl's hiding place again,
cuts ou this heart and buries it in the garden. To no avail, it just
continues beating - or so Edgar thinks ...
Meanwhile, Betty, worried because Carl seems to have disappeared, goes
to the police, but since Carl has a reputation as a womanizer they think
he has just made himself scarce because of lady problems. it is
only when Betty breaks into Edgar's house and discovers the poker with
still traces of blood on it that the cops think they have something ...
and when they come to question Edgar, he suddenly breaks down, still
hearing the heart beating in his head ...
A far cry stylisticall from the gothic Edgar
Allan Poe adaptations Roger Corman started to make for AIP
the same year, The Tell-Tale Heart nevertheless turns out to be a
very tense thriller in period settings that brings the (well-known) story
to life thanks to a tight script, good actors and a bare-to.-the-bone yet
inventive directorial effort.