“This murder will happen again, just as it did before — in the Black Room!”
In a desperate attempt to prevent an ancient family prophecy from coming true, a despotic baron (Boris Karloff) kills and impersonates his noble twin brother.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Boris Karloff Films
- Historical Drama
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Royalty and Nobility
This unassuming period thriller about fratricide, ancient familial prophecies, and lust for power remains an enjoyable treat for film fanatics, thanks primarily to the central performance by inimitable horror icon Boris Karloff. Karloff embodies the dual roles of both “good brother” (Anton) and “bad brother” (Gregor) with relish and nuance, immediately convincing us that they’re two different men — but his most impressive work comes once he’s playing Gregor-as-Anton, maintaining a simmering aura of calculated greed and sociopathic arrogance underneath a facade of noble charm. The screenplay is surprisingly tight and suspenseful — especially given that Anton is killed off fairly early — and the denouement offers a nifty resolution to the ancient prophecy. Atmospheric cinematography, creative direction, and appropriately baroque set designs add to the ambience of this compelling B-level flick.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes, simply to see Karloff in one of his best performances.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)