- Recently, there have been a number of attacks on the classic
UPA film, The Tell Tale Heart.
A number of voices – all on blogs
and internet chatter – have called the animation for this film poor. Even recently, in a letter to Michael Barrier, Tee Bosustow writes “about the bad animation in Tell Tale Heart.”
Pat Matthews was the film’s sole credited animator, and he was good, having worked at Fleischer’s and Lantz’ studios before arriving at UPA. His work in this film is exactly what was required of him. Rather, The Tell Tale Heart is a tour de force of production design. It is probably one of the first non-war/propaganda animated films, since Baby Weems, to so feature this element of production over everything else – except story. Paul Julian‘s brilliant artwork oozes from the pores of every frame of this film. Together with James Mason‘s narration and Boris Kremenliev‘s strong musical score, the film evocatively tells the strong Edgar Allan Poe story. This tale has not been told on film any better since it was made in 1953. Ted Parmalee directed the film with authority.
It’s odd how I feel as though I have to defend this movie. I think it a brilliant film and have to remind myself that I’m not alone in believing this. It was nominated for the Oscar and for good reason (it lost to Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom. Ah, the irony!)
Here’s the first of two posts, using frame grabs to feature all of the scenes of the film.
A watch’s hand moved more quickly than mine. Then, what? Yelps.
For an hour, I did not move a muscle. I could feel the earth turn. The eye.
Hear the spider spinning. the grinding crumble of decay.
Then . . . dull and muffled, yet . . . Of course, it was the beating of the old man’s heart.