UK / 74 minutes / bw / Hammer, Exclusive Dir & Story: Francis Searle Pr: Anthony Hinds Scr: John Gilling Cine: Cedric Williams Cast: Sidney James, Betty Ann Davies, Sheila Burrell, Hazel Penwarden, Anthony Forwood, Valentine Dyall, Courtney Hope, Lawrence Baskcombe, Mollie Palmer, Gerald Case.
Valentine Dyall is The Man in Black.
This was a Hammer-produced spinoff from the BBC radio series Appointment with Fear, which ran for ten seasons 1943–5 and then reappeared for a single season as The Man in Black in 1949. Each episode comprised a half-hour tale introduced by a character called The Man in Black—much as the character The Whistler introduced the US radio series The Whistler (1942–55) and the series of eight WHISTLER B-movies spun off from it (see the Encyclopedia for more details of these). In these original Man in Black series the “storyteller” was played by Valentine Dyall, as he is in this movie; when the radio show was resuscitated much later by the BBC, first as Fear on Four (1988–92) and then as The Man in Black (2009–11), the “storytellers” were, respectively, Edward de Souza and Mark Gatiss.
All of which background is to a certain extent irrelevant because really, aside from Dyall’s brief introduction to the tale and even briefer concluding remarks, essentially this is Continue reading