Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Anthony Forwood and Betty Ann Davies
THE MAN IN BLACK (1949). Director: Francis Searle.

A fellow who calls himself "The Man in Black" (Valentine Dyall) narrates this humdrum story based on a radio program. Henry Clavering (Sidney James of Heatwave) is a wealthy man in an old mansion with an unloving second wife, Bertha (Betty Ann Davies of Blackout) and stepdaughter, Janice (Sheila Burrell of Paranoiac), both of whom are just waiting for him to die. Henry expires during an experiment with yoga, and along come two visitors: Henry's strange daughter, Joan (Hazel Penwarden); and the handsome gigolo, Victor (Anthony Forwood, Dirk Bogarde's significant other). Now the plot is on to drive Joan mad so that Bertha and Janice can take control of the significant estate. The acting isn't bad -- Forwood, more interesting as a bad guy, makes an impression -- and Sidney James plays the dual role of Henry and his inebriated manservant, Hudson. But this is not memorable, just another stinky British mystery released by the cartload during this period. An early production from Hammer studios. Hazel Penwarden makes little impression in this and retired to television.

Verdict: Not worth the time it takes to tell it. *1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - I just looked up Forwood and saw that he was married to Glynis Johns and left her for Bogarde, and that they were happily coupled forever ever...a bold move back in that era, and a nice happy ending! Wish this movie seemed more worthwhile, but thanks for the doing "work" for me!

William said...

Yes. Dirk and Forwood had a long happy relationship after trying to go straight for awhile. Forwood became Dirk's manager, I believe, a perfect way for the two to be together constantly and to prevent the career jealousy that can occur when one partner's career far out-strips another's.

angelman66 said...

Much like Ann-Margret and manager hubby Roger Smith, who just passed away....