The Avenging Conscience (1914)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Melodrama  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Sandra Brennan

This innovative psychological drama represents one of D.W. Griffith's early full-length feature films and contains innovations that influenced international filmmakers, particularly German ones, for decades to come. It tells the tale of a young man with a fondness for reading Edgar Allen Poe, who is forced to choose between having his uncle's wealth and marrying the girl he loves. He makes a choice and she jilts him, causing him to vent his rage and pain psychotically by strangling his uncle and sealing his corpse behind a brick fireplace wall. As in Poe's Telltale Heart, the young man's cruelty does not go unpunished, and as he sits alone in his cabin, he begins hearing the maddening beat of his dead uncle's heart. Every sound, to the poor youth, becomes another damning thump, and in desperation he runs from his cabin to hang himself. Just before he dies, the law catches up and saves him. Meanwhile, his cruel girl friend is overcome by guilt and so hurls herself from a cliff, but fortunately, this is not the end of the story.



uncle, girlfriend, wall, wealth, corpse, guilt, suicide-attempt