Cinema Admits All

Tell Tale (2002)

Tall tales and murderous lies. All that is certain are death and taxes.
A darkly amusing and post-modern drama which takes a wry look at the horrors of modern life; our increasingly violent cities, harrowing jobs, towering taxes and our naiveté regarding what we're told.
Tell Tale (2002)

A lone tramp busks in an underpass, playing a penny whistle. Badly. It is almost a relief when he draws his last shuddering breath, the blissful silence of death.

A disgruntled office-worker is arrested. He was found at the scene of the crime. Seething. Watching his body decompose.

A faceless drone working a job that is slowly destroying his soul, a tale is told of an obsession. The tramp's music soothed him. The tuneless dirge screeched out by the penny whistle calmed his violent nature. Until the music stops.

Before long, this unhinged psycho-in-a-suit is about to snap. And the tramp is about to feel the break.

A body. An arrest. A confession… but it isn't that simple.

Adjusting his tie, the smartly dressed 9-to-5-er scowls at the police through his expensive suit. He was there, he explains, a whole hour before it happened. He beat him and watched him die, glowering over the lifeless corpse.

A violent story? Well, yes. But that's okay, because this is just a film. And despite what the French critics say, film is a lie told 24 times a second. His statement is not true. More paranoid than Poe, his confession just doesn't add up.

Tell Tale is a wry and cynical post-modern drama, putting a whole new spin on Edgar Allan Poe's classic 'The Tell Tale Heart'. Perhaps you're supposed to find this sort of thing amusing. We couldn't possibly influence your opinion.

But do remember that we told you it was all lies.


Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts
Sunday July 27th 2002 (UK)
  • Drama
  • Black Comedy
  • Art House

Cast (in credits order)

    • Lee Fenwick
    • Lee Fenwick
    • Johnny
    • Ken Mood
    • Ken Mood
    • The Tramp
    • Norman Felton
    • Norman Felton
    • The Boss

Additional Details

13 mins
Aspect Ratio:
Sound Mix:
Black and White


    • Sarah Hacking
    • Producer
    • Claire McFarlane
    • Production Manager
    • Ruth Geraghty
    • Production Assistant
    • Kaye Williamson
    • Researcher
    • Paul Roberts
    • Director of Photography
    • Jon McDermott
    • Camera Operator
    • Foley Artist
    • Daniel Chapman
    • Editor
    • Production Sound


  • Our first film with actor Lee Fenwick, who would make an appearance in our next three films (Fake Shemps, Only The Rocks and Mahler).
  • During the scene when 'Johnny' savagely kicks the tramp, filming was momentarily interrupted by the police. A passer-by apparently thought a real beating was afoot (though quite what they made of the huge camera and dozen-strong production crew watching it all remains a mystery).
  • Inspired by Poe's short story 'The Tell Tale Heart', the intention was to make the film as difficult, curmudgeonly and elusive to the audience as possible.
  • Spoiler Warning: Click here to read
    Producers thought the ending, with it's breaking of character and shots of the filming crew, were an irony too far. At their insistence, the preview version ended a few seconds earlier on the rather alarming line: 'Someday you will die. Every one of you'.
Spiderhouse Productions Ltd
Mike J Hadfield
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