Animated Poe

United Productions of America (UPA) was a film studio strated by three former Disney employees in the 1950s. UPA studio was active from the 1940s through the 1970s. Beginning with industrial and World War II training films, UPA eventually produced theatrical shorts for Columbia Pictures, notably the Mr. Magoo series.

In an attempt to take animation in new directions, they made a strange adaptation in 1953 of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell Tale Heart.”

I that time, it was considered adult in nature and it was the first animated film in the U.K. to receive an “X” rating. At the time that rating meant "suitable for those aged 16 and over. UPA didn't intend the film for children but it was still strange for a short "cartoon."

The film was designed by Paul Julian and shows the influence of Salvador Dali surrealism and German expressionism. It was narrated by the James Mason.


“The Tell Tale Heart” was voted the 24th greatest cartoon of all time, in a 1994 survey of 1,ooo animation professionals. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

The Simpsons love to do takes on literature and Edgar Allan Poe is a favorite from season one's episode “The Tell-Tale Head” and in the 1990 “Treehouse of Horror” they did Poe’s “The Raven” pretty faithfully with the narration by Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones.

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