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The Black Room (1935)

Unrated | | Crime, Horror | 15 July 1935 (USA)
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:

Roy William Neill (as R. William Neill)

Writers:

Arthur Strawn (screenplay), Henry Myers (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Baron Gregor de Berghman / Anton de Berghman
Marian Marsh ... Thea Hassel
Robert Allen ... Lt. Albert Lussan
Thurston Hall ... Col. Paul Hassel
Katherine DeMille ... Mashka (as Katherine de Mille)
John Buckler 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

Taglines:

Embraced by the Devil! Monster . . . his kiss the password to oblivion! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 July 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crna soba See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karloff's performance was voted runner-up to the best performance for the month of August, 1935 by the Screen Actors' Guild. Henry Fonda in "The Farmer Takes a Wife" and Will Rogers in "Steamboat 'Round the Bend" tied for the top award. See more »

Goofs

The walls of the "stone" pit shaft give way against the weight of bodies. See more »

Quotes

Baron Gregor de Bergmann: [as Anton lies dying in the well of the Black Room] Goodbye, brother. There's nothing to fear now. The prophecy can't be fulfilled.
Anton de Bergmann: [With certitude] It will be fulfilled!
Baron Gregor de Bergmann: Perhaps you will come back from the dead to kill me?
Anton de Bergmann: [Dying words] Even from the dead!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spooks Run Wild (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Duelling Karloffs
22 September 2011 | by flapdoodle64See all my reviews

This film is competently directed and photographed, yet it is not noteworthy from either point of view. The story, concerning human compassion versus cruelty, and the cold, merciless workings of fate, is clever and interesting, all the more so since it does not linger too long and overstay its welcome...this film clocks in at 1 hour and change.

By Columbia Pictures standards, this film is almost opulent, having several sets and a number of outdoor shots, and having good actors, costumes, technicians and atmosphere all around. But, since it is a Columbia Picture, central Europe looks amazingly like Southern California. Still, it proves that Universal did not have a monopoly on horror in the 1930's.

This is not a supernatural film, except perhaps in the fact that it deals with the subjects of prophecy and fate...it is instead a psychological horror film and so it helps to have the right set of expectations going in. In a way, this film is a kind of precursor to the ambiguous metaphysics and psychological themes of the 1940's Val Lewton horror/noir classics.

What makes this film stand out is Karloff's brilliant performance in the double role of twin brothers, one evil and one good. Karloff is completely convincing in both parts, and it is a genuine pleasure to watch him. It is also striking that even without monster make-up Karloff can scare the pants off you, when he chooses.

Modern horror fans are liable to have trouble accessing this film, but it is recommended to fans of classic horror and classic film in general.


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