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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Avenging Conscience; Thou Shalt Not Kill, The (1914)
*** (out of 4)
Feature from D.W. Griffith, which he quickly shot before he started filming on The Birth of a Nation. An uncle is constantly putting presure on his nephew (Henry B. Walthall) to spend more time on his work. When the nephew falls in love with a local girl (Blanche Sweet) the uncle demands that they call it off. When the nephew can't think of anything else, he decides the only way to keep the girl is by killing the uncle. This film is based on several Edgar Allan Poe stories with the second half of the film dealing mainly with The Tell-Tale Heart. You can tell this film was quickly made but there's still some nice direction, good performances and G.W. Bitzer's wonderful cinematography. There's some nice scenes dealing with devils and ghouls from Hell as well as a scene of Jesus. The special effects are quite nice for the era as well. Mae Marsh and Ralph Lewis have small parts. Due to the lack of copyright laws at the time, Griffith used all these short Poe stories without any credit being given.
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