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The Black Room (1935)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Horror  |  15 July 1935 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,044 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 21 critic

Ignoring an ancient prophecy, evil brother Gregor seeks to maintain his feudal power on his his Tyrolean estate by murdering and impersonating his benevolent younger twin.

Director:

(as R. William Neill)

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marian Marsh ...
Robert Allen ...
Lt. Albert Lussan
Thurston Hall ...
Col. Paul Hassel
Katherine DeMille ...
Mashka (as Katherine de Mille)
John Buckler ...
Beran
Henry Kolker ...
Baron Frederick de Berghman
Colin Tapley ...
Lt. Paul Hassel
Torben Meyer ...
Peter
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Storyline

Prophecy has it that younger twin Anton will kill brother Gregor in the castle's Black Room. Anton returns to the castle after a 10 year hiatus. Gregor, a Baron, has many attempts on his life as his subjects detest his tyranny. However, good natured Anton earns the subjects' respect, and the admiration of Col.Hassel, uncle of the beautiful Thea. When Gregor kills young servant Mashka, his subjects storm the castle to remove him. Devious Gregor renounces his title in favour of brother Anton to appease them. He then kills Anton to assume his identity and the Baronship again. He is free to pursue Thea with Col.Hassel's blessing. When Col.Hassel discovers Gregor's impersonation, he also meets death. With Thea's true love, Lt. Lussan, wrongfully convicted of Hassel's murder, it appears nothing can stop evil Gregor from ambushing her into marriage. But what of that prophecy? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prophecy | baron | twins | castle | servant | See All (80) »

Taglines:

HE WAS A DEMON OF DEATH -- ...WHOSE MYSTERIOUS CHAMBERS HELD GRUESOME SECRETS! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 July 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crna soba  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Present extant version, as presented on Turner Classic Movies, bears title and end credits redesigned for the 1955 wide screen re-release. See more »

Goofs

When Col. Hassell arrives at the inn to meet Anton near the beginning, there is no glass on the carriage window when the carriage arrives at the inn. There is also no sign of broken glass when the carriage arrives at the castle, but a shot is fired through the carriage's glass window en route. See more »

Quotes

Baron de Berghman: This house began with murder. It will end the same way.
[Reading from the coat-of-arms]
Baron de Berghman: "Principio Et Finem Similia." I end as I began!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Boris Karloff (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Grossly Underrated Film of the 1930s
24 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A prestigious house starts when a younger twin kills the older and a prophesy says some day the house will end by the same method. Today the house is run by a baron with a younger brother, though the younger has moved away and has a gimpy arm. But when the younger brother returns and the people have turned against the older, a crucial moment arrives -- how can the older brother satisfy the people without fulfilling the prophecy? Can it be avoided? How has "The Black Room" gone so many years under my radar? Boris Karloff is amazingly versatile here, playing both brothers (sometimes on the screen at the same time). Marian Marsh plays both brothers' love interest. The picture is crisp, the sound is clear and the production value is beyond impressive for 1935. And the plot? Intriguing, to say the least. While the baron can't be considered a villain on the level of Dracula or Frankenstein's monster, the story here is gripping and the setting really anticipates the works of Roger Corman in the 1960s.

A special note must be payed to the lovely Marian Marsh. Marsh rounds out the cast and does a fantastic job alongside the dominant men of the cast (not just Karloff, but practically everyone). Her beauty and charm sell the picture well, as the Baron's love for her character really drives the plot. Sadly, Marsh gave up acting in 1959 to become an environmentalist. While I fully sympathize with the move, Hollywood was denied a great talent and spirit for the next forty years (the time of Marsh's death).

I strongly encourage those who enjoy older films to give this one a try. I found it both enjoyable and critically satisfying. So many thrillers of the 1930s seem one-dimensional and cliché, but "The Black Room" is fresh, prescient and timeless. I would love to see a deluxe edition of this film, though I suppose it is now too late. Its due failed to come when it mattered most.


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