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The Man in Black (1949)

A yogi seemingly dies while simulating death and his evil second wife, and her daughter, try to force his daughter into insanity for control of his estate.

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(radio series Appointment with Fear), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Betty Ann Davies ...
Sheila Burrell ...
Janice
Sidney James ...
Henry Clavering / Hodson
Anthony Forwood ...
Victor Harrington
Hazel Penwarden ...
Joan Clavering
Valentine Dyall ...
The Man in Black - Story-Teller
Courtney Hope ...
Mrs. Carter
Mollie Palmer ...
Elsie
Laurence Baskcomb ...
Sandford
Gerald Case ...
Doctor
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Storyline

Henry Clavering suspects his second wife Bertha is trying to drive his daughter (by his first marriage) insane, to stop her inheriting his money. He decides to use his yoga skills to pretend to be dead, and thereby expose her villainy. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

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Release Date:

January 1950 (UK)  »

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| (DVD)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Hazel Penwarden receives an "introducing" credit. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Early Hammer Suspense Thriller
25 December 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Before Hammer Films branched out into horror they produced a number of suspense dramas that might generously be characterised as film noir. Their other line of content consisted of adaptions of BBC radio and television concepts (Dick Barton, PC 49 and later, to notable effect, the Quatermass serials.) Man in Black was based on a popular radio series called Appointment With Fear hosted by the sepulchral voiced Valentine Dyall, who also provides an on screen introduction to this film. Dyall had a long career as a character actor in the villainous mould and would play the Black Guardian in Doctor Who towards the end of his life.

The other notable player in Man in Black is Sid James in one of his earliest film roles, long before his acclaimed comedic parts opposite Tony Hancock and as part of the Carry On ensemble. Here he plays a serious and quite sober role with conviction.

The film itself is a mild diversion at best, using the old trope of "trying to drive the young heiress insane." The film lacks mushc in the way of surprises but the key villain/s are well played and genuinely amoral in their approach.

Vernon Sewell does not add much dramatic frisson to the tale but everything proceeds at a reasonable pace through the 74 minute film. I was happy to view this relic from Hammer's very early days.


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