The Tell Tale Heart 1953 Dir. Ted Parmalee
I first became aware of this cartoon as an extra on the Hellboy DVD. Which is a shame because this short should be more widely known than it is. Directed by Ted Parmalee for UPA Studios (an experimental contemporary of Walt Disney Studios), this adaptation of Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart is narrated by the brilliant James Mason and was the first animated film to be given a certification of “X” by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC). It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1953 (But lost to Disney’s Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom). The short is beautifully designed with abstract imagery that perfectly encapsulates the growing madness of our unseen narrator. There are even moments when it feels like we are looking directly through his eyes at the man he is about to murder.
The Tell Tale Heart isn’t just an excellent short film, it is a piece of animation history.