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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 ... Anabel - 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

Taglines:

MOST MYSTERIOUS, MASTERFUL AND SENSATIONAL MOTION DRAMA EVER DEVISED- SUGGESTED BY EDGAR ALLEN POE'S STORY OF "THE TELLTALE HEART" AND BY CERTAIN OF POE'S POEMS OF THE AFFECTIONS-INTERPRETED BY SUCH STARS AS HENRY B. WALTHALL, BLANCHE SWEET, SPOTTISWOODE AITKEN, GEORGE SEIGMANN AND RALPH LEWIS. (Print ad- Albany Evening News, ((Albany NY)) 23 July 1915)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Intertitle: She fears something more than mere mental derangement.
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Connections

Featured in Kingdom of Shadows (1998) See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the first ever horror films
8 April 2012 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This D. W. Griffith film is an early effort by the director and shows his developing skill on the lead up to epics such as Intolerance. It's about a young man who falls in love with a girl. This love drives a wedge between him and his uncle who has set a path for him that does not allow for such frivolous distractions. This situation drives the man to murder his overbearing uncle. This event leads to madness and psychological breakdown.

The story is based on Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart' with elements of 'Annabel Lee' and 'The Black Cat' thrown in for good measure. It's a rare horror outing for Griffiths. Indeed it is one of the very first fully form horror films at all. As such it is of interest. It contains several eerie and macabre details like the ghostly spectre of the uncle back from the dead and thoughts of murder represented by a spider on web and ants attacking a larger insect en mass. It's very primitive stuff overall but that is to be expected considering its age. Worth a look if you are interested in the genesis of the horror film though.


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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) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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