Newest Reviews
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
  Black Dragons A Change Is As Good As A Rest
Year: 1942
Director: William Nigh
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Joan Barclay, George Pembroke, Clayton Moore, Robert Frazer, Edward Peil Sr, Robert Fiske, Irving Mitchell, Kenneth Harlan, Max Hoffman Jr, Joseph Eggenton, I. Stanford Jolley
Genre: Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's the height of the Second World War and Japanese spies are sabotaging the American war effort by blowing up strategic shipyards and munitions factories. Who could be behind this, with the specialised knowledge necessary to pinpoint the most damaging targets? It appears to be a group of five American businessmen who just happen to be sympathisers with the Axis forces and tonight they are gathered in the house of Dr Saunders (George Pembroke) to celebrate and draw up new plans. However, a mysterious stranger arrives at the door that night, a man calling himself Monsieur Colomb (Bela Lugosi) demanding to speak with the Doctor...

One of many propaganda films churned out by Hollywood studios during World War II, this example was offered up by Monogram, one of the cheapest outfits around. Looking less like a sincere attempt to bring down the armies threatening democracy and more like an attempt to cash in on the situation, Black Dragons was scripted by Harvey Gates and is a lot stranger than, say, Casablanca. Certainly nowadays the film looks quaint, best described as a mystery because it's a mystery what shape the plot takes until the last half hour, and although it features stock footage of explosions no footage of any battles is used.

Lugosi was now accepting any work he could find, a long way from his Dracula heyday, and here he takes the role of the villain - or he could be the hero, as he sets about bumping off the treacherous industrialists. First he hypnotises Dr Saunders and convinces him to let him stay in his mansion, sending the Doctor to his bedroom where he stays for most of the rest of the film, asking anyone who goes to his door to leave him be. Then he murders one of the spies and dumps his body on the steps of the now closed (for obvious reasons) Japanese embassy, the corpse's hand gripping an Oriental dagger as the newspaper headlines helpfully inform us.

And who should arrive in the middle of all this but Saunders' daughter Alice (Joan Barclay, our heroine) who does her best to find out what's going on, altough in a slightly comical development, whenever she goes to investigate the sound of say, Colomb strangling someone in the room below, there's nothing to be found. Everything about Black Dragons is cheap, from the plotting which has little regard for logic, to the way the cast (including future Lone Ranger Clayton Moore as a flippant hero) stumble over their lines; a shot of a plane flying from Washington is reversed to show it flying the other way - complete with backwards writing along its side. That said, it is amusing to witness its highly unlikely revelations as to what the plotting is actually about, and at least its heart is in the right place. If not much else is.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4595 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: