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The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' (1914)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 24 August 1914 (USA)
Prevented from dating his sweetheart by his uncle, a young man turns his thoughts to murder.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (stories), D.W. Griffith
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Cast

Cast overview:
Henry B. Walthall ... The Nephew
Spottiswoode Aitken ... The Uncle
Blanche Sweet ... The Nephew's Sweetheart
George Siegmann ... The Italian
Ralph Lewis ... The Detective
Mae Marsh ... The Maid
Robert Harron ... The Grocery Boy
George Beranger ... (as George A. Berranger)
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Storyline

Thwarted by his despotic uncle from continuing his love affair, a young man turns to thoughts of murder. Experiencing a series of visions, he sees murder as a normal course of events in life and kills his uncle. Tortured by his conscience, his future sanity is uncertain as he is assailed by nightmarish visions of what he has done. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | guilt | blackmail | ghost | See All (4) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 1914 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Murderer's Conscience See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Intertitle: She fears something more than mere mental derangement.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Le coeur révélateur (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Avenging Conscience, Or: Thou Shalt Not Kill (D.W. Griffith, 1914) **1/2
11 October 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Poe's psychological story "The Tell-Tale Heart" uneasily receives Griffith's trademark Victorian approach – turning the madman anti-hero of the original into a frustrated love-struck milquetoast! The broad gestures typical of Silent-film acting render the proceedings unintentionally comical now, especially where the ghostly apparition of the murdered relative is concerned – who, by the way, is fitted with an eye-patch throughout and, yet, no reference whatsoever is made to his all-important "vulture eye"!!

Still, the various hallucinations at the climax – crude though they may be – are reasonably effective. Incidentally, the stilted presentation and moralistic overtones evident here also marked the other Griffith horror effort that I've watched – THE SORROWS OF Satan (1926); all I can say is that, in spite of the solid reputation THE AVENGING CONSCIENCE enjoys within the director's canon, personally I was underwhelmed by the film on a preliminary viewing.

Other cinematic adaptations of the classic tale I've checked out – all of them relatively recently – are the interesting 1928 short (viewed on the very same day as the Griffith title), the so-so 1936 British feature-length version and a pretty good animated rendition of it from 1953.


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