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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

In two scenes the background music is the popular Revolutionary song, Ca ira. The music director clearly knew his stuff. 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

Madelon: It's so dark in here.
Madelon: I can hear in the dark... speak.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Amérique, notre histoire (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant film noir disguised as French Revolution Epic
10 March 1999 | by metaphor-2See all my reviews

True film noir, that densely urban, disillusioned body of work characterized by the deep shadows that separate the characters from each other and isolate them from society, was almost always set in contemporary cities... in France before WWII and in America after it. ALMOST... Anthony Mann's THE BLACK BOOK (aka REIGN OF TERROR) is one of its finest examples, a costume thriller set in the French Revolution, and somehow managing to create the visual style and emotional mood of true film noir in a completely atypical setting.

This is a film to watch for its cinematic, visual brilliance... The story is serviceable, but the experience it services is a thrilling piece of movie art. Photographed by the great John Alton (a man who, it is said, could re-light Times Square at high noon, if necessary) the frame consistently dazzles and intrigues. Anthony Mann's taut and claustrophobic work (rather at odds with the usual French Revolution epic, and with Mann's later work in other genuinely epic-scale costume dramas) draws a compelling parallel between the atmosphere of fear in post-revolutionary France and in mid-20th century McCarthyite America.


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