Black Noon (1971)

Article 3728 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-14-2011
Posting Date: 10-29-2011
Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski
Featuring Roy Thinnes, Yvette Mimieux, Ray Milland
Country: USA
What it is: Mysterious events in a western town

In the nineteenth century, a preacher and his wife become lost in the desert, and are rescued by members of a nearby town. The town has had a run of bad luck; their previous preacher died when the church burnt down, the coal mine which was their source of sustenance emptied out, and they’re being terrorized by a villain in black. While giving a sermon, the preacher apparently miraculously heals a cripple, and then finds that his presence has brought a string of good fortune to the town. But why is his wife mysteriously ailing? Who is the strange man he sees in his mirror? And what does the strange dumb girl have to do with it all..?

Sometimes you shouldn’t read blurbs about a movie before you watch it; the listing for this movie in the John Stanley book I use gives away a revelation that doesn’t occur until the end of the movie. It’s a bit of a shame; the final revelations put the movie into very familiar territory, but the setup is very clever and leaves you wondering how it’s all going to play out. It’s a little rough around the edges; it’s not particularly well-directed, and Roy Thinnes’ big sermon at a crucial point isn’t effective. But I do like a movie that can keep me guessing, and this movie does that well enough. And it’s also nice to catch another TV-Movie that wasn’t a pilot for a prospective series.


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