THE BLACK RIDER (1954)
Article 5112 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Wolf Rilla
Featuring Jimmy Hanley, Rona Anderson, Leslie Dwyer
What it is: Spy thriller
A reporter romances his girlfriend, tries to solve the mystery of the mysterious black rider, and tools around on his motorcycle.
The fantastic content? Legend has it that the black rider (who is supposed to be riding a horse) is the devil himself. We, the audience, know from square one that it’s just a smuggler tooling around on a motorcycle, and though the method of locomotion is supposedly equipped with a silencer to make it sound like hoofbeats, it never sounds like anything else but a motorcycle to these ears. There may be a tinge of science fiction in the fact that the smuggling involves a new type of atomic device that’s small enough that its parts can be easily smuggled, but that about covers the fantastic content. It’s really just a routine spy thriller with an inordinate amount of screen time dedicated to various British men tooling around on motorcycles; the story itself practically takes a back seat to all that. It’s competently mounted and efficient, but there’s really not much to this one. And it is pretty depressing in terms of fantastic content that even the historical evidence for the black rider cited in the movie reveals that he was really just a smuggler.