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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.

Director:

Francis Searle

Writers:

John Dickson Carr (radio series Appointment with Fear), John Gilling (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

Thriller

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1950 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (United Programmes Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Trivia

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

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User Reviews

 
Gaslighting your step-daughter 101.
29 October 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This British film begins with learning that Mr. Clavering (Sidney James) is a follower of Eastern mysticism and is married to a horrid second wife, Bertha. He knows he's dying and decides to try out a particularly difficult and dangerous stunt...to put himself into a death-like trance. He demands absolute silence...claiming it could be fatal if anyone makes any noise. During this exhibition, a painting falls off the wall...and Clavering appears to actually be dead!

When the will is read, the bulk of the estate is to be given to Clavering's daughter from his first marriage, Joan. However, Bertha and her viper-like daughter are allowed to stay in the house and the will stipulates that Bertha is to advise and oversee Joan until she reaches 21. Bertha instead decides her best route is to instead try to drive Joan mad and take the fortune for herself! To do so, she begins 'gaslighting' Joan. In other words, acts as if things are just fine and gets Joan to doubt her own sanity. To assist, is a particularly vicious thug, Victor. So what's next? See the film.

I give this film kudos for being darned clever. The script is very well written--with nice unexpected twists, a terrific ending and wonderful dialog. All in all, a nice little suspense film that manages to offer a few genuine surprises.


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