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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:

HE WAS A DEMON OF DEATH -- ...WHOSE MYSTERIOUS CHAMBERS HELD GRUESOME SECRETS! (original print ad - all caps) 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

A series of publicity photos of a menacing Boris Karloff holding Katherine DeMille in bondage (sometimes with a rope around her neck, or around her body, or with shackles on her wrists), and others representing utter submission (the actress is fainted in his arms or passed out at his feet, on the floor) have absolutely nothing to do with this film! There are no such scenes in the entire movie. To this day, no reel has been found. Why they were shot, and used as publicity to represent this film, is anybody's guess. It has been proposed that Karloff had a clause in his studio contract (verbal or written) that required such subjugation scenes to accept a role, and that they compromised and offered him such publicity shots since they couldn't work them into the movie itself. This would appear very plausible as, upon close examination of Karloff's career, indeed such scenes can be found in his every film post (and including) Frankenstein. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Mashka: Don't you want to kiss me?
Baron Gregor de Bergmann: [Cutting a juicy pear with his knife and eating it as he talks] A pear is the best fruit!
Mashka: Every time you see her, you want to be rid of me.
Baron Gregor de Bergmann: [Seemingly ignoring her] Lots of juice in a pear!
Mashka: Well, you'll find out I'll not be got rid of so easily! Do you hear what I say?
Baron Gregor de Bergmann: Adam should've chosen a pear.
Mashka: You've got it all planned, haven't you? You're gonna marry her. You're gonna make her your wife, your baroness!
Baron Gregor de Bergmann: I like the feel of a pear! And when you're through with it...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bravo! Bravissimo! Extraordinary Karloff Performance

The Black Room is a great movie. The sets are poor, it lacks the grandeur necessary for a period movie, it obviously had an incredibly low budget, even the premise is poor (though the script had a good twist), mostly Z-grade material, and if that weren't enough, the acting by Karloff's colleagues is abysmal. However Boris Karloff is GREAT in this, I have seen many of his films, which range in quality quite staggeringly, my favourites being the Tourneur movies (least favourite the mad doctors), however in this film his acting is EXTRAORDINARY.

In what is perhaps his greatest performance he plays twin brothers Anton and Gregor so incredibly convincingly. One is an innocent sensitive fop, the other an evil sociopath, what range, what awesome acting! Somehow he seems to make both of them endearing! Let me tell you they certainly don't do it like this anymore.

I am an identical twin myself and it is hard to believe that you aren't watching the performances of twin brothers. The twin dynamic is certainly there, and the scenes when both characters are on screen together are seamless, due to some obviously very clever trickery and Karloff's skill. I can't think offhand of many examples of greater acting in film history, certainly few other actors have Karloff's range.

Highly recommended movie. A fratricidal epic!


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