In a BBC News report, J.B. Williams’ psychological drama The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), a 20-minute British adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, was found on the southwestern Scottish shores of Loch Ryan. The lost film resurfaced in 2017 when Drummore resident Jeff Wells, a 16mm enthusiast, discovered the treasured reel within his attic while he was clearing out his loft. Wells had originally bought the film in Brighton at a second-hand shop back in 1984. He later reached out to Adelphi films after realizing it was missing from their catalog.
Adelphi Films Ltd was a major producer of British films throughout the 1940s and 1950s. It has now been faithfully digitally restored to be enjoyed for years to come. The BBC report continued with Adelphi Films’ manager Kate Lees going on record saying she had been searching for the film for the last 12 years. Lees said:
“We are very excited to have found this film after searching for it for so long and had almost given up hope.” Lees continued, “It is a really excellent film and Stanley Baker is terrific.”
Josephine Botting, a curator of the British Film Institute (BFI), said:
“It’s always exciting when a missing film comes to light, and an addition to both the catalog of British producer Adelphi and the filmography of Edgar Allan Poe is a wonderful discovery.” Botting added, “We’re delighted to be preserving the 16mm print and also to make the film available online to new audiences via BFI Player in time for Halloween.”
Now that J.B. Williams’ long-hidden film The Tell-Tale Heart has finally reached out from its hidden recesses in a somehow ironic twist of film fate similar to the original tale by horror master Poe himself. Fans of lost film footage will be happy to hear that it is available online via the BFI now and ends November 9th.