A British nobleman who has spent the majority of his life running a tropical island returns to England. He finds that an island princess has fallen in love with his butler. Finding that ... See full summary »
A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. ... See full summary »
On the beach one night, Christine Faber, two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul calling out of the surf...then meets a tall dark man, Alexis, who seems to know all about ... See full summary »
Agnes Langsley gets a job, through Jim Hollis, as caretaker of an old and vacated estate. The owner's cousin, Jennifer, was the last occupant and mysteriously disappeared. Agnes soon begins... See full summary »
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
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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