Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953)

1 Nominations,  0 Wins

Nomination: Best Short Subject, Cartoons - Stephen Bosustow

Oh what a difference a few years can make.  After watching several Oscar nominated short films from the 1940's over the past few days, I stumbled into "The Tell-Tale Heart" and felt as if I had taken a ride in a time machine.  Though the short came out only a few years after some of the other shorts I have reviewed recently ("The Rookie Bear," "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt," etc., "The Tell-Tale Heart"is of an entirely different generation than these films.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" is an adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe tale, narrated by the inimitable and legendary James Mason.  The film is a weirdly ingenious film, eschewing the traditional hallmarks of animated shorts for a much more abstract and form-bending effect.  This is the type of effort that would eventually be lampooned in the Mel Brooks Oscar winning short "The Critic," but was produced a decade before such abstract efforts became ripe for parody.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" has everything going for it: innovative animation with a strong depth of field, chilling narration, and a classic story.  This is not a conventional animated short, and resembles many of the nominees from recent years more than its contemporary efforts; "The Tell-Tale Heart" lost the Academy Award to "Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom," a relatively creative but far less daring Disney cartoon.  I enjoy many of the nominated animated films from the early years of the category, but after watching a few too many in a row, the spookiness of "The Tell-Tale Heart" was a welcome change of pace.

Remaining: 3168 films, 871 Oscars, 5443 nominations

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