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Reign of Terror (1949)

Approved | | History, Romance, Thriller | 15 October 1949 (USA)
Robespierrre, a powerful figure in the French revolution, is desperately looking for his black book, a death list of those marked for the guillotine.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writers:

Philip Yordan (story by), Æneas MacKenzie (story by) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Cummings ... Charles D'Aubigny
Richard Basehart ... Maximilian Robespierre
Richard Hart ... François Barras
Arlene Dahl ... Madelon
Arnold Moss ... Fouché
Norman Lloyd ... Tallien
Charles McGraw ... Sergeant
Beulah Bondi ... Grandma Blanchard
Jess Barker ... Saint Just
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Storyline

Robespierre, a powerful figure in the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror, is desperately looking for his black book, a death list of those marked by him for the guillotine and a key to help him eventually emerge as the country's dictator. He hopes his agents will recover it, but, if it falls in to the wrong hands, it would mean his political ruin and death. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Book See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The title was changed to "The Black Book." Which is how it was listed when shown on TCM. See more »

Goofs

In a conversation with D'Aubigny, Robespierre states that he turned 36 years old in the month of May. However, during their Reign of Terror, the French revolutionaries changed many things, including the calendar. They discarded the traditional Gregorian calendar (January, February, etc.) in favor of a new, decimal-based system, and called it the French Republican Calendar . There were still 12 months, but now each month had 3 10-day weeks (for 30 days) and all of the months were re-named. What would have been the month of "May" in the Gregorian calendar was changed to "Prairial" in the new calendar. ("Prairial" translates to prairie or meadow.) So being a good revolutionary, Robespierre would have used this new calendar and not the old one when referring to dates. He should have said he "turned 36 years old in Prairial" and not "May." See more »

Quotes

Maximilian Robespierre: Death! I demand death for the enemies of France! I denounce... Danton!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bowser Makes a Movie (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very cloak and dagger
3 June 2013 | by AAdaSCSee all my reviews

Robert Cummings (D'Aubigny) goes undercover to end the reign of terror that has gripped France after the revolution in the C18th. Richard Basehart (Robespierre) is about to pronounce himself dictator. Basically, he likes cutting people's heads off and he really likes it a lot. He has a black book with the names of everyone who he'd like to execute, and this book is the key to his downfall if it were to fall into the hands of the French people. Can Cummings and fellow Freedom Fighter Arlene Dahl (Madelon) prevent Basehart from realizing his dream?

An enjoyable film which moves along quickly so pay attention or you'll get confused, especially at the beginning. Then you can just roll with it and enjoy the tense scenes that turn up along the way. A good example is when Cummings is about to come face to face with his supposed wife, who will obviously betray him by not recognizing him. This is because Cummings has taken the identity of her husband and Basehart and his cronies are watching her reaction and are ready to arrest him at the slightest indication of non-familiarity. There is a bit of unnecessary violence at the film's end but I guess they wanted to show what was really happening. Someone certainly isn't going to talk anymore.

The cast are all good - especially Arnold Moss (Fouche) in a very creepy role. Can he be trusted by anyone? I like the film's ending where a soldier with his back to camera announces his name to Moss after a brief word about the future of France. What a shame that the quality of the film isn't that good.


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