The Tell-Tale Heart

On returning from Hollywood and armed with a wealth of film production knowledge and his artistic eye Brian launched himself into the British film world in 1934 with The Tell-Tale Heart. All that was missing was the finance until in stepped Brian’s friend Harry Clifton with a cheque for £3,000. In typical Harry fashion the cheque was written on an opened Gold Flake cigarette package. The cheque cleared and Brian’s film director career was launched (see Hollywood years section for more on Harry Clifton).

Based on Edgar Allan-Poe's short story, this 55-minute film was also known as Bucket of Blood.

A young man is driven mad by his obsession with the repulsive diseased eye of the old man who cares for him and the film caused audiences to be horrified to the extent it was quickly withdrawn from some cinemas.

The Tell-Tale Heart

  Clipping from the Tell Tale Heart (1934) Publicity for Tell Tale Heart (1934)  
Courtesy of the Allan Smith Collection
Starring: Norman Dryden, John Kelt, Yolonde Terrell, Thomas Shenton, Jack Fleck and Colonel Cameron

A scene from Tell Tale Heart featuring one of Brian's paintings- Copyright © The Brian Desmond Hurst Estate


Tell Tale Heart was ‘too horrible to show’ in some cinemas.  Was this one of the scenes that caused so much horror in cinemas in 1934? - Copyright © The Brian Desmond Hurst Estate


The Tell Tale Heart shows one of Brian’s distinctive pieces of art and we can only speculate that it was Brian who painted or inspired the Daliesque eyes in another scene from Tell Tale Heart - Copyright © The Brian Desmond Hurst Estate


The Tell Tale Heart (1934- remastered and re-released by the British Film Institute) can be viewed at the following link for a nominal fee: