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The Black Castle
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The Black Castle More at IMDbPro »

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33 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Uninhibited filmmaking at its best

10/10
Author: kkbasil (gilacretin@aol.com) from Amsterdam, New York
17 October 1999

This is a prime example of uninhibited filmmaking at its best. Richard Greene (who does good in the role) search for his two missing friends takes him to the Black Forest domain and castle of one-eyed Count Bruno (Stephen McNally), a past enemy of his whom he has never seen face to face. Incredible film has so many awesome elements combined (for once) into a single film--a crocodile pit; a hulking mute (played by Lon Chaney, Jr.); a crafty doctor (played by Boris Karloff); a leopard hunt (VERY well done and VERY atmospheric); a love story; a castle; a swordfight; a sadistic, one-eyed count and his two evil accomplices (played by John Hoyt and Michael Pate!!!); an intriguing background story which makes the film even more interesting; and more!. Jerry Sackheim's script doesn't allow itself to be bound in--making a film that comes extremely recommendable to anyone who is into unlimited filmmaking with a touch of horror and atmosphere to it.

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Hugely enjoyable atmospheric thriller.

7/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
9 March 2010

The Black Castle is one of those film's that has found its way into a Boris Karloff collection and is mistakenly expected to be an outright horror movie. Whilst some horror elements exist within Nathan Juran's movie, this really is a multi genre piece that's tightly produced and effectively portrayed. Joining Karloff, in what is a small but critical role, are Richard Greene, Stephen McNally, Lon Chaney Jr, Rita Corday, John Hoyt & Michael Pate. It's produced, unsurprisingly, out of Universal International Pictures. The plot sees Greene's English gentleman travel to the castle home of the sinister Count von Bruno {McNally}. He's following an investigation into the disappearance of two friends, an investigation that is fraught with danger and surprise at every turn.

This has everything that fans of the old dark house/castle sub-genre could wish for. Genuine good and bad guys, a fair maiden, dark corners for doing dark deeds, devilish traps, ticking clock finale and we even get a good old fashioned bit of swashbuckling into the bargain. The cast are all turning in effective performances, particularly Greene and the wonderfully sneering McNally. Whilst Jerry Sackheim's writing is lean and devoid of the pointless filler that has so often bogged down similar film's of this ilk. A very recommended film on proviso that Karloff fans understand it's not really a Karloff movie, and perhaps more importantly, that horror fans don't expect blood letting to be the order of the day. A fine atmospheric story with a sense of dread throughout, The Black Castle is a fine viewing experience. 7/10

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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Movie

9/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
13 May 2005

The British noble Sir Ronald Burton (Richard Greene) decides to search his two best friends that have disappeared after visiting Count Karl von Bruno (Stephen MaNally), an evil and powerful man who lives in the Black Castle. Sir Burton travels undercover with another identity, since he fought against Count von Bruno in Afrika with his two missing friends and the count lost one eye in a battle. When he arrives in the castle, he is invited to hunt in the Black Forest around the castle with the count,.while he looks for evidences that the count has killed his friends. Later, he and the count's wife, Countess Elga von Bruno (Rita Corday), fall in love for each other and with the support of Dr. Meissen (Boris Karloff), Sir Burton and the countess try to escape from the claws of Count von Bruno. "The Black Castle" is an excellent movie from a romantic time, with action, romance, mystery and even horror. The story is gripping, and is a great entertainment for any audience. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Castelo do Pavor" ("The Castle of the Fear")

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Great Karloff Classic Film

10/10
Author: whpratt1 from United States
22 May 2005

All Boris Karloff fans will love this classic film, where Karloff is the castle physician and gives his patients excellent attention. Sir Ronald Burton,(Richard Greene), an eighteenth-century English adventurer, believes his two friends have been murdered by Count Von Bruno,(Stephen McNally) on his Black Forest estate. Arriving at Von Bruno's castle to accumulate evidence, Burton learns Von Bruno's unhappy wife Elga (Paula Corday),. and Dr. Meissen(Boris Karloff), the castle physician, are virtual prisoners. Suspecting Burton's motives, Von Bruno and Gargon (Lon Chaney Jr., ) a giant, mute scarred henchman, discover the Englishman was responsible for their being captured and tortured. You will definitely have to view this great Classic Karloff Film to enjoy the ending.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A mad count who loves the hunt, a stalwart hero, a tremulous heroine...no, it's not The Most Dangerous Game

7/10
Author: Terrell-4 from San Antonio, Texas
31 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The best thing -- and that's pretty good -- about The Black Castle is that it's a black-and- white Forties' Gothic grabber featuring a murderous mad count which was somehow made in 1952. The star ostensibly is the British actor Richard Greene, a capable leading man who reminds me of an earlier version of Roger Moore. The villain is a mad count played by Stephen McNally, who does a credible job except when he's called on to laugh maniacally. Skulking around in the shadows is a long-gowned Boris Karloff in a decidedly secondary role of an aged doctor who may or may not be the salvation of our hero.

It's the middle of the 18th Century in Austria and Sir Ronald Burton (Greene) is determined to find out what happened to two close friends. They disappeared in the vicinity of the castle belonging to Count Karl von Bruno (McNally), deep in the Black Forest. It seems that Sir Ronald and his friends had been instrumental in defeating a brutal plan of von Bruno's in Africa three years previously involving slavery and ivory. The Count was left not only with failure, but with a scar on his face and a black patch he now wears to cover a ruined eye. von Bruno vowed revenge, and it seems he might have been partially successful. So under a false name, Sir Ronald arranges for a hunting invitation from the Count, and off we go by carriage through a dark journey of storm and howling wolves to the Count's castle. It's a hulking mass of stone turrets and corridors, shadowy stairways, huge fireplaces...and creepy passages that lead to dank dungeon cells, a torture chamber and a great pit filled with snapping, thrashing crocodiles. It also is filled by the Count's lovely, blond, sensitive wife, Elga (Paula Corday, who sometimes is billed as Rita Corday), and by the Count's two close friends played by those two actors we know from the Fifties who specialized in being slime in costume, John Hoyt and Michael Ansara. There is a dangerous leopard hunt, forbidden kisses, knuckling servants, wooden signs creaking and swaying in the cold wind and poison in a cup. Not the least, Doctor Meissen (Karloff) has a special vial filled with a drug which will so slow the bodily functions that death will seem to have occurred. The risk is that...well, when the person awakes ten hours later, he'd better hope he's not already nailed shut in his coffin.

Surprisingly, for all the clichés, The Black Castle keeps moving merrily along. The movie takes itself seriously, but it's competently enough made to keep our interest, even if we wind up sitting back with a smile while we watch. It's even reassuring in a way to realize there are strong echoes of The Most Dangerous Game. When Burton realizes just how crazy von Bruno is, he becomes even more determined to bring von Bruno to accounts. And, naturally, he has fallen for Elga. von Bruno, crazed by vengeance yet crafty and capable, is a man who loves the hunt and is engorged by the kill. Hollywood's second creative rule has always been, "If you're going to steal, steal from the best." It's first creative rule, of course, is "If you're going to steal, steal from the best and then turn it into liverwurst." The Black Castle is a nice bite of Austrian braunschweiger.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

What a movie should be-the ultimate adventure classic

10/10
Author: drystyx from United States
6 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the ultimate, and I mean the ULTIMATE, ADVENTURE CLASSIC! The plot is good versus evil. There have always been an abundance of films that depict gray areas, and not enough on the basic good against evil to account for the real cases of good against evil in the real world. Only recently have film makers tried to even the odds. In real life well over half of situations are black and white, but only a fraction of movies make it seem that way. This movie is the best example of a back and white look. It is best seen in black and white. The hero is in the worst situation. He is in the territory of a man who wants to murder him, and among various enemies. The movie gives the feel that he is hopelessly outnumbered, and can't count on help. His enemy (The count), has numerous resources. The count's wife was forced into marriage with him, and she knows from his past history that sooner or later he will kill her as he does all his wives. She and the hero become allies and fall in love in away that could win over anyone watching (unless that person just wants to be a contrary brat). Anyone who helps them is killed. They have no escape. The situation is hopeless. So will they survive in the end? You won't guess unless you've read spoilers. The movie also has a lot of great atmosphere, adventure, and intrigue, along with Lon Chaney as a bad guy, and Boris Karloff in his best role ever, as a decent guy. Usually cast as a bad guy, Karloff was at his best when presented with more complex roles such as this one. Chaney was rarely given a complex role, although he strutted his stuff in a few movies such as "Of Mice and Men." This is little more than a cameo for him. Still, the tension never stops. There is suspense and danger throughout. Perfectly written, perfectly cast, and perfectly directed. This is what a movie should be-pure escape, pure adventure.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Gothic thrills

Author: dbdumonteil
11 February 2010

The writer drew on famous sources :Edgar Poe ("buried alive") and Shakespeare ("Romeo and Juliet").The beginning is quite scary and the interest is sustained till the end.The screenplay is certainly smarter than the average horror flick.Boris Karloff is the stand-out ,even if he is not really the scariest thing of the movie.The castle in question is full of traps,dark dungeons and crocodiles pit (which makes sense ,for the story really begins in Africa).The countess and the hero make a good romantic couple inside the gloomy walls of her husband's desirable mansion.The leopard hunting is also a very exciting moment.Very entertaining and a must for Gothic horror buffs.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Nifty Little Murder Mystery

7/10
Author: sddavis63 (revsdd@gmail.com) from Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
25 March 2007

When I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. and Boris Karloff in the cast, I was expecting to find a typically "schlocky" 1950's style horror movie. The opening scene (a graveyard with a wolf howling in the background) seemed to confirm this. Once I began watching it, though, what I discovered was a nifty little mystery about an Englishman (Richard Green) seeking to discover what had happened to two of his friends who had disappeared in the Black Forest and, if necessary, to take revenge against the evil Count (Stephen McNally) who ruled the territory. Chaney, as the voiceless Gargon, had a rather limited role (one which reminded me of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, actually) while Karloff had a somewhat more substantial role as Dr. Meissen. In fact, Meissen was one of the more interesting characters in the movie, and it was difficult to know until the very end whether he would be established to be a good guy or a bad guy! The castle set was magnificent, and even the limited depiction of the Black Forest was real enough. It certainly didn't come across as low-budget, compared to other movies I've seen anyway. The only disappointment, I thought, was Rita Corday's performance as the Countess. She seemed somewhat dry and didn't seem to put much passion into the role.

That aside, I found that this movie held my attention throughout, and there was enough suspense about how this was all going to turn out to make it well worth the watching. Definitely recommended, with a 7/10 rating.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Compelling Gothic horror/drama

6/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
11 December 2006

It's strange that I keep on discovering movies in which Boris Karloff actually plays the GOOD guy! The man will always be an icon of horror-cinema, of course, but I used to think he exclusively portrayed monsters, mad scientists and psychopaths. Here in this forgotten 50's Goth epic, Karloff stars as the noble and honorable resident doctor of an Austrian castle community of which the owner – Count Von Bruno – is the only true sadist and murderer! Sir Ronal Burton arrives at the castle to search for his two missing friends, of which he believes Von Bruno captured and killed them, and eventually relies on Karloff's character Meissen to save him. Von Bruno is a real villain who enjoys barbaric hunting games and holds an impressive collection of torture devices in his dungeon. Burton falls in love with his repressed wife Elga and when he's unmasked as Von Bruno's ancient nemesis, they're both locked up in the cellar. The script of "The Black Castle" is rather complex, but well constructed and rich on topics that fans of vintage Gothic cinema will certainly appreciate. The atmosphere in the extended hunting game sequences reminded me a bit of "The Most Dangerous Game" and the set pieces inside the castle looked genuinely sinister. There are more than enough sub plots and twisted supportive characters to keep the film compelling despite the lack of gruesome horror situations and make-up effects. The cast features another familiar horror face, Lon Chaney Jr., but he and Karloff sadly don't get enough screen time to list "The Black Castle" among their most memorable achievements in acting. This was the debut feature of the respectable director Nathan Juran, who went on making fun & undemanding Sci-Fi/horror flicks like "The Deadly Mantis", "20 Million Miles to Earth" and "The Brain from Planet Arous".

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Solid Gothic horror

6/10
Author: TheFiendsThatPlagueThee from United States
7 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An Englishman is the guest of an evil Austrian count and his wife, to participate in a hunting party. The count has some history and an ax to grind, more so when his guest falls in love with his wife. A Gothic castle, foreboding atmosphere, crocodiles and cruelty are all elements that come into play in this solid little horror movie.

It is far from the great Universal horrors like Frankenstein and Dracula, but The Black Castle is a tight, well written and entertaining tale of horror and romance. It's a bit sad that two of Universal's better known actors, Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr, only get small parts in this one, but the leads perform well anyway.

The atmosphere is decent, the plot fairly simple but with enough intricacies to be interesting and the sets are appropriate. There's nothing too special in this one, but it is far from a bad movie.

Definitely worth a watch for fans of Gothic horror.

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