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Black Room
     

The Black Room

Director: Roy William Neill

Cast: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Thurston Hall

 
A curse pronounced upon land the baron DeBerghmann has devastating long-range consequences for his twin sons, Gregor and Anton, in The Black Room. Twenty years later, Anton (Boris Karloff) has developed into a debauched and much-hated despot, disposing of his enemies by dumping their bodies into the titular chamber on his estate.

Overview

A curse pronounced upon land the baron DeBerghmann has devastating long-range consequences for his twin sons, Gregor and Anton, in The Black Room. Twenty years later, Anton (Boris Karloff) has developed into a debauched and much-hated despot, disposing of his enemies by dumping their bodies into the titular chamber on his estate. But when Anton's kindly, benevolent brother Gregor (also Karloff) returns home after a long absence, he is so beloved by the townspeople that Anton "graciously" gives up his title and estate to Gregor. Actually, Anton plans to kill his brother and take his place so that he can indulge in even more deviltry -- including the framing of young Lt. Lussan (Robert Allen), the sweetheart of the beautiful Thea (Marian Marsh), for the murder (committed by Anton) of Thea's father Col. Hassel (Thurston Hall). Ultimately, however, Anton's true identity is revealed by Gregor's faithful mastiff. Although reminiscent of an old folk legend, The Black Room was written directly for the screen by Arthur Strawn.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Despite the presence of famed horror film star Boris Karloff, The Black Room does not qualify as a horror film but rather as a dark, Gothic melodrama, complete with identical twins, one good and one evil. Henry Myers and Arthur Strawn's screenplay is compact and solid; it's far from a great work of art, but it's well crafted and gets the job. If there are few surprises along the way, and if the dialogue tends toward the kind of faux-classical style often found in the genre, it's still and effective story. Roy William Neill has directed with a great sense of style and atmosphere, working with cinematographer Al Seigler to create dark, dank interiors that belie the film's relatively small budget. Neill's work is very good here; again, it's not art, but it's expertly workmanlike and hits the right notes. Where Room does truly stand out is in Karloff's superb performance. Freed from his Frankenstein's Monster make-up, Karloff turns in a trio of marvelous turns -- as the evil brother, as the good brother, and as the evil brother donning the disguise of the good brother. It's his work in the last named "character" that is really worth the price of admission, with Karloff demonstrating that as an actor he was both smart and talented, and criminally underused because of his intense identification with the Monster role.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/04/2011
UPC:
0043396388901
Original Release:
1935
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures Home
Time:
1:08:00
Sales rank:
65,912

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Boris Karloff Baron Gregor de Berghmann
Marian Marsh Thea Hassel
Thurston Hall Col. Hassel
Katherine de Mille Mashka
John Buckler Beran
Henry Kolker Baron Frederick de Berghmann
Robert Allen Lt. Albert Lussan
John Bleifer Franz
Egon Brecher Karl
Torben Meyer Peter
Colin Tapley Lt. Hassel
Edward Van Sloan Doctor
Fredrik Vogeding Josef

Technical Credits
Roy William Neill Director
Richard Cahoon Editor
Stephen Goosson Art Director
Murray Mayer Costumes/Costume Designer
Henry Myers Screenwriter
Robert North Producer
Al Seigler Cinematographer
Louis Silvers Musical Direction/Supervision
Arthur Strawn Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Black Room
1. Chapter 1 [10:00]
2. Chapter 2 [9:59]
3. Chapter 3 [9:59]
4. Chapter 4 [10:00]
5. Chapter 5 [10:00]
6. Chapter 6 [10:00]
7. Chapter 7 [8:04]
8. Chapter 8 [:00]

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