The Black Abbot (1963)

aka Der Schwarze Abt
Article 2369 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-20-2007
Posting Date: 2-6-2008
Directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb
Featuring Joachim Fuchsberger, Grit Bottcher, Dieter Borsche

A man is killed in a deserted abbey by a hooded being known as the Black Abbot. Detectives come to investigate, and find themselves caught up in a web that involves a hidden cache of gold.

The print I managed to get of this movie was in extremely good condition, the dubbing was better than usual, it was letterboxed, and the credits were in color (the rest of the movie is in black and white). All of these elements made me initially excited about viewing this entry in Germany’s series of Edgar Wallace movies; it was really shaping up to be something special. Unfortunately, disappointment set in fairly early; the story involves a bewildering array of characters, and trying to sort them out in the first part of the movie turned out to be a real chore, and a rather tiresome one. Throw in a singularly unfunny comic relief character, and things just get worse. Still, once the plot gets moving again and they start thinning out the cast with a series of murders, things pick up considerably. I suspect that the plot is pretty good, and I think about this one as I do about so many of the other movies in the series, in that I’m willing to bet it’s one of those movies that really repays on a second watching. Still, I do feel a little disappointed with this one, especially in comparison to some of the coherently plotted Dr. Mabuse movies I’ve seen lately.



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