HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
Astronaut
Peanut Butter Falcon, The
Ip Man 4: The Finale
Card, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
   
 
  Reign of Terror The Peasants Are Revolting
Year: 1949
Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Richard Hart, Arlene Dahl, Arnold Moss, Norman Lloyd, Charles McGraw, Beulah Bondi, Jess Barker
Genre: Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1794 and the French Revolution is holding France in the grip of terror, with the statesman Maximilian Robespierre (Richard Basehart) at the head of the situation. Today he is forcing his erstwhile ally Danton to stand trial, if you can call it a trial for the only reason for it is to condemn the man to death for rebelling against Robespierre and so it is that he is soon led to the guillotine and executed. With the leader of the Revolution now planning to make himself dictator, can anyone stand up to him? There may be hope in the person of nobleman Charles D'Aubigny (Robert Cummings), if he can infiltrate the ranks of those who have siezed power...

John Alton was one of Hollywood's greatest cinematographers, and with his unerring eye for a memorable shot he should have enjoyed work on higher budgeted films than he ended up on, but he had the reputation of being temperamental which often meant that B movies were where he made his living. One such was Reign of Terror, where he worked with cult director Anthony Mann whose own reputation rests on some truly excellent westerns of the fifties, but here was a historical adventure that showed he was putting in notable work before that decade too.

Actually, I'm not sure how accurate historically it was, and perhaps it was best not to approach its story at face value, but as a swiftly-paced thriller in period dress, then it was carried off with some skill. In fact, with Alton's photography what this film resembled was a film noir set in Revolutionary France, all brooding shadows and striking camera set-ups, with many a moody closeup on a cast member's features. If the story does not grip you, and screenwriters Philip Yordan and Aenaes Mackenzie could be accused of allowing scenes to verge on the contrived, then you can admire the handsome appearance.

Our dashing hero, Charles, goes undercover as Duval, the Butcher of Strasbourg, who is one of Robespierre's lackeys. His mission? To track down Robespierre's black book, which does not as you may think contain the telephone numbers of his lady friends but the names of and charges that can be brought against his enemies. With everyone thinking Charles is Duval, they bring him into their confidence, though the threat of being found out is what provides a measure of the tension. He also meets up with someone who knows him, Madelon (Arlene Dahl), a past lover who rejected him, presumably included because someone felt the film needed a love interest.

Not that Madelon doesn't have anything to do, but by the end it's apparent that she was mainly present to be saved in the final reel - which makes Charles look better, if nothing else. Some have made comparisons between Reign of Terror's plot and the Communist witch hunts that were in full swing by the time this was being produced, but it could just as easily be seen as an allegory of the recent conflict in Europe, with Revolutionary France standing on for France under the Nazis, or even Germany during those dark years. But the film could just as easily be regarded on the level of derring do, and Mann does the most with some very decent scenes of excitement and suspense. Here is proof that low budget Hollywood could be as satisfying as the prestige productions in the right hands. Music by Sol Kaplan.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3344 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: