The latest English film importation sent over by Clifton-Hurst is a macabre and thoroughly frightening production based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It may be seen at the Mayfair Theatre.
In presenting this tale of the homicidal maniac the English company have followed the sequence and spirit of Poe’s story rather faithfully. It was a difficult task but one which has been intelligently executed both in the picturization and acting. Norman Dryden who plays the very exacting role of a madman has given a performance, the excellency of which cannot be denied.
If you remember your Poe you will recall that “The Tell Tale Heart” is a psychological story which traces a man’s reaction to a brutal murder he has committed. Having buried the body under the floor of his room he feels secure until the thought enters his mind that he can hear the heart beats of his victimâ€”unrelentingly the poundings of this dead heart re-echo in his brain until unable to contain his emotions, he screams out a confession.
Nothing could be easier than to over-play a theme of this sort, but the English company under the direction of Desmond Hurst, has been able to control the situations and keep them within the bounds of plausibility. The other members of the cast and especially John Kelt, the kindly old man whose days are numbered, are likewise excellent.
How American audiences brought up on pap and sugar will take to this experiment in psychological realism is hard to guess but this is a picture far above the usual run of cinema entertainment.