The Tell-Tale Heart (1934 film)

The Tell-Tale Heart is a 1934 British drama film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst.[1] The screenplay by David Plunkett Greene is based on the 1843 short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. It is the earliest known "talkie" film adaptation of the story.

The Tell-Tale Heart
Directed byBrian Desmond Hurst
Produced byHarry Clifton
Written byDavid Plunkett Greene
Edgar Allan Poe
(short story)
Based onThe Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
StarringNorman Dryden
John Kelt
Music byJohn Reynders
CinematographyWalter Blakeley
Edited byVernon Clancey
Blattner Studios
Distributed byFox Film Company
Release date
  • 14 June 1934 (1934-06-14)
Running time
55 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


A young manservant is driven mad by his obsession with the repulsive diseased eye of an old man who cares for him. He kills his master and hides the remains under the floorboards. When the police investigate the old man's disappearance, the imagined beating of the victim's heart haunts the murderer's thoughts so much that his words and actions arouse the suspicions of the police.


  • Norman Dryden as The Boy
  • John Kelt as The Old Man
  • Yolande Terrell as The Girl


Produced by Clifton-Hurst Productions (with Harry Clifton as the listed producer[2]), it was filmed at the Blattner Studios in Elstree, and released in the USA under the title Bucket of Blood. The film was considered so gruesome that it was withdrawn from some cinemas in the UK.[3] The cast was mostly amateur (John Kelt had appeared in several silent films) and the dialogue is so sparse that Hurst recalled when interviewed:[4]

At the big Elstree studios nearby they said "There's a fellow over at Blattner's studio who's making practically a silent picture."

See also

List of horror films of the 1930s


  1. The Tell Tale Heart at British Film Institute
  2. The Tell Tale Heart at British Film Institute
  3. The TellTale Heart (1934) at the official Brian Desmond Hurst legacy website, retrieved 21 March 2014
  4. "Re-Viewing British Cinema, 1900-1992: Essays and Interviews" Wheeler W. Dixon, pub. SUNY Press, 1 Jul 1994, ISBN 9780791418628, p.27

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