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

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Rita Corday, Boris Karloff, Richard Greene
THE BLACK CASTLE (1952), Director: Nathan Juran.

Sir Ronald Burton (Richard Greene of The Blood of Fu Manchu) believes that an evil man named Count Karl von Bruno (Stephen McNally of The Lady Gambles) was responsible for the disappearance of two of his friends as an act of revenge for events that happened in Africa. Under an assumed name, Burton travels to von Bruno's imposing castle near the Black Forest, where he sets about trying to find evidence of his friends' possible imprisonment or deaths. Burton receives unexpected aid from the count's lovely wife, Elga (Rita Corday), who was forced to marry him, and the castle's doctor-in-residence, Meissen (Boris Karloff of Lured). But someone overhears Burton and Elga conspiring and there may be hell to pay ...

Stephen McNally
I had never even heard of this movie when I spotted it on youtube, and found it to be a pleasant surprise. Karloff plays a sympathetic role for a change, and both Greene and Corday offer admirable performances. The scene-stealer, however, is Stephen McNally, who is really excellent as the charismatic but malevolent count. McNally had always been a very contemporary kind of actor, but he handles his role in this costume melodrama with aplomb. The Black Castle might be considered more of a thriller than a horror film, but it does have such horror elements as a creepy old castle with a dungeon, people nearly being buried alive, and even a pit full of snapping alligators! In addition to the aforementioned actors, we have solid support from Lon Chaney Jr. as the brutish servant Gargon, John Hoyt as Count Stelken, Michael Pate as the sinister von Melcher, and Turo Owen as Burton's very loyal manservant, Romley, among others. Romley makes a great sacrifice, but is sort of forgotten at the end. Nathan Juran also directed The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and many, many others.

Verdict: Nifty little old castle thriller with very good performances. ***. 


angelman66 said...

Have not seen this one for years but your review tells me it is worth another look. Mr. Karloff kept on working and working and working, didn't he?

William said...

Yes, even in this period and years later his name still had a certain marquee value.