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

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Old pros: Charles Middleton; George Zucco
THE BLACK RAVEN (1943). Director: Sam Newfield.

"He's suffering from rabid delusions aggravated by a moronic mentality." -- Amos.

Amos Bradford (George Zucco), once known as the criminal the Raven, now runs an inn called The Black Raven. On a dark and stormy night he gets a variety of guests, many of whom have some ulterior purpose. Mousy Horace (Byron Foulger) is running away with $50,000 in embezzled money. Winfield (Robert Middlemass) is a crooked political boss whose daughter, Lee (Wanda McKay), wants to run off with the man she loves, Alan (Robert Livingstone of Borrowed Wives). Mike Bardoni (Noel Madison) is another crook, and Whitey Cole (I. Stanford Jolley) is an escaped con who's out to get vengeance on Amos. When someone gets murdered -- the first death of several -- the Sheriff ("Charlie" Middleton) is called in and matches wits with the acerbic Amos. While it's fun watching Zucco and Middleton working together, The Black Raven is a forgettable picture. Glenn Strange, who played Frankenstein, is cast as the half-wit handyman Andy, and is fine. Zucco [Fog Island], Middleton [Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise] and Foulger are also excellent.

Verdict: Another cheap PRC timepasser. **.

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