Cinema: 7 Minutes With a Madman

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The Tell Tale Heart (U.P.A.) is a seven-minute tour of a madman's mind. Based on Edgar Allan Poe's chilling short story, powerfully narrated in a voice just this side of frenzy by Actor James Mason, the film is one of the first attempts to use the animated cartoon to tell a psychological horror tale. Other cartoon shorts, such as Disney's Donald Duck, Metro's Tom & Jerry, and particularly U.P.A.'s own Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo, have accustomed moviegoers to a skillful distortion of reality and a triumph of line over mass that is characteristic of much contemporary art. The Tell Tale Heart goes far beyond such experimentation. Moviegoers may be more dazed than frightened by its explosion of color and form, by the haunting transformation of staring eyes into milk pitchers and tables into tombstones, as the madman murders to find peace and then hysterically confesses his crime to three iron-faced (and sometimes headless) policemen.

In this film, Producer Stephen Bosus-tow, 42, has proved his point that "the animated film can be used for drama and melodrama as well as for humor, childish romance, pratfalls and 'hurt' gags." Canadian-born Steve Bosustow founded United Productions of America seven years ago after being fired by Walt Disney. In his own company, he operates without time clocks and gives credit where credit is due. Director Ted Parmelee and Art Designer Paul Julian get most of the bows for The Tell Tale Heart, just as other U.P.A. production teams are accorded credit for

SURREALISTIC POLICEMEN (opposite) stand over body of murdered man in movie version of The Tell Tale Heart.

James Thurber's The Unicorn in the Garden, Willie the Kid, and the Academy-Award-winning Gerald McBoing-Boing.

In addition to making cartoon films aimed primarily at grownups ("I'm not against children; we just like to do adult things"), Bosustow does training films for the armed forces, industrial films for such clients as Shell Oil Co. and Timken Roller Bearings, TV commercials and such specialized jobs as the supplying of cartoon "bridges" for the film The Four-Poster, starring Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer. He is eager to move on to full-length animated pictures, and hopes to rival Disney's Cinderella and Peter Pan with adult treatments of classic stories, such as Volpone and Helen of Troy, as well as Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.