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The Black Book

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Set during the French Revolution, this romance is laced with conspiracy, with both sides vying for a tome loaded with vital information. The story is of the little people caught in a ruthless dictatorship and their struggle to win their freedom from persecution and oppression.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Richark Hart, Arlene Dahl, Arnold Moss
  • Directors: Anthony Mann
  • Producers: William Cameron Menzies
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: SPE
  • DVD Release Date: January 3, 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006DHATCI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,015 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Archmaker VINE VOICE on July 27, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This completely unorthodox, unusual film, demonstrates that in the hands of brilliant talent even seemingly screwy ideas can be realized into marvelous entertainment and even art. Anthony Mann and his cinematographer, John Alton, took all the trappings of film noir and made a period piece about the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution and, on an obviously very slim budget, created a fast paced, exciting, thriller. It rips along with incredible tension and atmosphere created by a fine cast and the skill of the two aforementioned gentlemen. The limits in scope due to budget contraints, is more than made up for by the film noir elements: all light and shadow, camera angles and focus. And it works marvelously, the deep blacks and slanted light fitting perfectly for the mood of terror for the eponymous era.

The cast is uniformly excellent, with Richard Basehart a nicely fanatical Robespiere, Arlene Dahl stunningly gorgeous, a stalwart Bob Cummings, and most especially Arnold Moss, as a slyly duplicitous Foucher. Other fine performers are here in small rolls: Norman Lloyd, Buleah Bondi, Charles McGraw etc. There is enough actual history to ground the fictional melodrama in reality, and the violence and fear of the era is certainly captured.

This fine, strange film has finally gotten an acceptable transfer in this Sony addition. The prior DVD release of this title, as many have pointed out, was atrocious. This version is a vast improvement. Slightly grainy at times on BluRay player/big screen but perfectly viewable. And unless they create a BluRay version, this is likely the best we're going to get. I would give it 4 stars for the limitations of the film, but I give it 5 here because Mann and Alton did so much with so little, and it is like no other film you're likely to see.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Scott Wofsey on June 24, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The quality of this print is awful for a restored print transferred to DVD. I'm not familiar with the releasing company Film Chest, but this is on par with an old Good Times VHS recorded in the ELP mode. Even the soundtrack is poor. The score drags too & the overall sound is fair.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Block on June 25, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's ghastly looking and sounding--it's even worse than most of the public domain copies. Get the Columbia disc released on 1/3/12. That's the best copy out there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nick Leuci on June 26, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film arrived new and played fine. My issue is the poor quality of the transfer.
The image quality is fair at best, not clear or crisp. It is a weak transfer of a master that was not digitally cleaned up. It is in Standard Definition, 480p 1:33. I don't care how the transfer was labeled. If the producers of this content, a fine and interesting movie, had really cared about it, they would have cleaned it up and given it the good SD transfer it deserves.

If you are a serious collector, get the DVD. However, if you picky about image and transfer quality, pass on this.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By falco on November 2, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The previous VCI release of this film was an acceptable transfer with great extras,but this Sony release print is excellent,with unfortunately no extras.Great Anthony Mann film with good cast.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peggy S. Oba on August 22, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of those movies that got me interested in the French Revolution. Other movies to buy and round this one out are "Marie Antoinette" with Norma Scherer, "The Scarlett Pimpernal" with Leslie Howard, and "A Tale of Two Cities" (1935) with Ronald Coleman. If you are interested in fictional prequels..re: Louis XIII and Louis XIV....the "Three Musketeers" (1948)with Gene Kelly and "Man in the Iron Mask" (1939) with Louis Hayward. I love the old movies, they just look more real and you feel like you have traveled back in time.
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