The Tell-Tale Heart - Charles Klein

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Maker: Charles Klein
Photography: Leon Shamroy
Original format: 35mm silent film 1.33:1
Featuring Otto Matiesen, William Herford, Hans DeFuerberg, Charles Darvas
New music: Donald Sosin
Courtesy: British Film Institute National Archive

This avant-garde film version of Edgar Allan Poe's story adapts the expressionistic mise-en-scène of Caligari to figure the distorted subjectivity of the insane protagonist. Additional manipulations of the filmic material and two remarkable montage sequences dramatize moments of extreme pathology and delusion, especially around issues of vision and sound. -David James

Charles Klein (1898-1981) worked as a cameraman and director on German feature films before coming to the U.S. in 1923 and to Hollywood in 1926 where he operated as a writer and cameraman. His short film The Telltale Heart (1928) won Klein a director's contract at Fox, but he eventually returned to Germany. -Bruce Posner

Leon Shamroy (1901-1974) was the brilliant cinematographer who collaborated on two of the most remarkable experimental films of 1928: The Telltale Heart with Charles Klein and The Last Moment with Paul Fejós; both films starred the expressive actor Otto Matiesen. Shamroy won an Academy Award for Prince of Foxes (1949) and remained at Fox throughout the 1950s. -Bruce Posner

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