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Der Würger von Schloss Blackmoor

The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle

West Germany 1963
produced by
Artur Brauner, Eberhard Meichsner (executive) for CCC-Filmkunst
directed by Harald Reinl
starring Karin Dor, Harry Riebauer, Rudolf Fernau, Hans Nielsen, Dieter Eppler, Hans Reiser, Richard Häussler, Walter Giller, Ingmar Zeisberg, Peter Nestler, Gerhard Hartig, Albert Bessler, Werner Schott, Carl de Vogt, Stephan Schwartz
screenplay by Ladislas Fodor, Gustav Kampendonk, based on the novel by Bryan Edgar Wallace, music by Oskar Sala, cinematography by Ernst W.Kalinke

Bryan Edgar Wallace-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Lucius Clark (Rudolf Fernau) is about to be knighted by the queen for his services in the colonies, which he celebrates at his home, Blackmoor Castle, but right after all the guests have gone, he receives an unwanted prisoner: A hooded man who demands the diamonds he stole in the colonies and threatens to kill him if he doesn't hand them over - but then noises from outside cause the hooded man, who will soon be dubbed "the strangler" to flee.

Of course, the diamonds the strangler has talked about are real (and possibly stolen), and Clark keeps them at a top secret space behind (!) an incinerator. And due to a few failed investments with money taken out of the trust fund of his niece Claridge (Karin Dor), he now has to sell some of his diamonds to a fence, Tavish (Hans Nielsen), who also runs a seedy nightclub. However, whoever Clark sends to the nighclub ends up dead, and invariably the diamonds are gone. Only Claridge gets through, not knowing what she's carrying, but when her box is opened, it contains nothing but sand.

But who could be behind all these murders. The actual Lord Blackmoor (Walter Giller), an impoverished aristocrat who saw himself forced to rent out most of his mansion to Lucius Clark? Clark's butler (Dieter Eppler) who's actually a diamond cutter and who seems to be addicted to diamonds? Lawyer Tromby (Richard Häussler), the executor of Claridge's trust fund who has a secret agenda of his own? Judy (Ingmar Zeisberg), a barwoman who is also Tromby's accomplice and who likes to pose as a noblewoman?

Scotland Yard inspector Mitchell (Harry Riebauer) eventually finds out that whoever it is is the son of Lucius Clark with another man's wife, and this son is actually Judy's husband. Apparently the strangler doesn't know Clark is his real father, otherwise he would probably not threaten to kill him. But Clark dies anyways from heart failure, as all of this excitement has proven too much for him.

It all culminates in a chase through the secret catacombs under the mansion, and at the end the strangler is shot, unmasked ... and it proves to be a journalist colleague (Hans Reiser) of Claridge, somebody nobody would have suspected.

In the end, inspector Mitchell gets the girl - Claridge that is.

 

The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle is one of the many attempts of producer Artur Brauner to cash in on the success of Rialto's Edgar Wallace-series, this time by adapting a novel by Wallace's son Bryan Edgar Wallace. But while the younger Wallace was a writer whose books differed vastly from those of his father, it was seen to it that the films fitted the Edgar Wallace-style to the t - which might be one of the reasons for hiring Harald Reinl as director, Karin Dor in the female lead.

The film is actually in the tradition of the German Edgar Wallace movies in every way: England is a land full of mansions, populated by mainly eccentrics who somehow follow the German clichées of Englishmen, and these mansions are riddled with secret passageways and hidden catacombs like Swiss cheese. Now put a thriller plot on top of this that features a hooded killer, gruesome murders, seedy bars and the obligator innocent heiress (Karin Dor), and mix it up in an overconvoluted plot that ultimately pulls a murder out of the head rather than having him revealed after careful deduction, and you come up with The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle. In other words, if you're into the German Edgar Wallace series, you'll very probably like this as well, since it's almost the same, but if you're expecting a masterpiece ... well, then just look somewhere else.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD