DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE BLACK CASTLE (director/writer: Nathan Juran; screenwriter: Jerry Sackheim; cinematographer: Irving Glassberg; editor: Russell Shoengarth; music:  ; cast: Boris Karloff (Dr. Meissen),  Stephen McNally (Count von Bruno), Richard Greene  (Sir Ronald Burton/Beckett),  Lon Chaney Jr (Gargan), Paula Corday (Countess Elga von Bruno), Henry Cordon (Fender), Nancy Valentine (Therese Von Wilk), Michael Pate (Count Ernst von Melcher), John Hoyt (Count Steiken), Otto Waldis (Innkeeper of the Green Man), Tudor Owen (Romley); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Alland; Universal; 1952)

"Tepid gothic revenge melodrama."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Nathan Juran ("Gunsmoke"/"Tumbleweed"/"Attack of the 50 Foot Woman") directs this tepid gothic revenge melodrama--a Most Dangerous Game rerun. It's shot in b/w and set in the 18th century. The screenplay's author is Jerry Sackheim.

Swashbuckling Englishman Sir Ronald Burton (Richard Greene) returns to England from Africa and insists on going to the sinister Black Castle in Austria's Black Forest, where he believes but has no proof the evil Count von Bruno (Stephen McNally) is liable for killing two of his friends. It's arranged for him to go there by the English government under the alias of Beckett, and he brings along his loyal servant Romley (Tudor Owen). They go to the castle for the count's hunt of a black leopard imported from Africa, and during his stay there he plans to search for evidence of his friend's death or rescue them if they're still alive.

At the castle Beckett becomes involved in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with his host and locates secret passageways, torture chambers and a moat of alligators. Beckett also falls in love with the count's imprisoned wife Elga (Paula Corday), who was forced to marry him. Also imprisoned is the castle physician (Boris Karloff), the Englishman's ally, who knows of a fake death serum that could be used by Beckett to free the countess. The hulking mute servant Gargan (Lon Chaney Jr.) is the count's enforcer.

REVIEWED ON 10/4/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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