With supporting cast and sound effects.
Written and directed by Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence.
Musical score composed and conducted by Victor Young.
“The Cask of Amontillado” (sometimes spelled “The Casque of Amontillado”) is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.
The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly in the 18th century) and is about the narrator’s deadly revenge on a friend whom he believes has insulted him. Like several of Poe’s stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive—in this case, by immurement.
Montresor tells the story of the day that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester’s motley.
He baits Fortunato by telling him he has obtained what he believes to be a pipe (about 130 gallons, 492 litres) of a rare vintage of Amontillado. He claims he wants his friend’s expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine cellars of the latter’s palazzo, where they wander in the catacombs. Montresor offers wine (first Medoc, then De Grave) to Fortunato; at one point, Fortunato makes an elaborate, grotesque gesture with an upraised wine bottle. When Montresor appears not to recognize the gesture, Fortunato asks, “You are not of the masons?” Montresor says he is, and when Fortunato, disbelieving, requests a sign, Montresor displays a trowel he had been hiding.
Montresor warns Fortunato, who has a bad cough, of the damp, and suggests they go back; Fortunato insists on continuing, claiming that “[he] shall not die of a cough.” During their walk, Montresor mentions his family coat of arms: a foot in a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot’s heel, with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit (“No one insults me with impunity”). When they come to a niche, Montresor tells his victim that the Amontillado is within. Fortunato enters and, drunk and unsuspecting, does not resist as Montresor quickly chains him to the wall. Montresor then declares that, since Fortunato won’t go back, he must “positively leave [him]”.
Montresor walls up the niche, entombing his friend alive. At first, Fortunato, who sobers up faster than Montresor anticipated he would, shakes the chains, trying to escape. Fortunato then screams for help, but Montresor mocks his cries, knowing nobody can hear them. Fortunato laughs weakly and tries to pretend that he is the subject of a joke and that people will be waiting for him (including the Lady Fortunato). As the murderer finishes the topmost row of stones, Fortunato wails, “For the love of God, Montresor!” Montresor replies, “Yes, for the love of God!” He listens for a reply but hears only the jester’s bells ringing. Before placing the last stone, he drops a burning torch through the gap. He claims that he feels sick at heart, but dismisses this reaction as an effect of the dampness of the catacombs.
In the last few sentences, Montresor reveals that it has been 50 years since that night, he has never been caught, and Fortunato’s body still hangs from its chains in the niche where he left it. The murderer, seemingly unrepentant, ends the story by remarking: Requiescat In Pace! (“May he rest in peace!”).