The Black Book

During the French Revolution, a moderate politician must protect himself from an army of cut-throats.
126 ratings
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  ALP 4283D
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Also released as:
Reign of Terror for $19.80
Reign of Terror for $14.50

DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 29 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: November 18, 2003
  • Originally Released: 1949
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , , , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenplay by &
Cinematography by
Story by &
Produced by
Director of Photography:

Entertainment Reviews:


User Ratings: 92
Rating: 3/4 -- Mann's direction is quick and unpretentious. All period/costume movies should be this fun. Full Review
Combustible Celluloid
Oct 30, 2016
... the strangest of genre mixes, a costume crime thriller with a continental setting and an American pulp sensibility. Full Review
Apr 10, 2009
Noir visits the French Revolution, as the emphasis on vicious brutality suggests an account written by the Marquis de Sade.
Slant Magazine
May 1, 2006
Rating: B -- It's a French Revolutionary drama made like one of Mann's film noirs. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Jun 24, 2007

Description by

In the late 18th century, the French republic has been thrown into social and political chaos, a disarray that is exploited by the evil Maximillan Robespierre (Richard Basehart). Within 48 hours, Robespierre will sieze power and perpetrate his diabolical tactics on France's helpless citizens. Charles (Robert Cummings), a freedom-fighter working for the resistance, poses as the murderous prosecutor that Robespierre has sent for, skillfully sidestepping the secret police and informants with the guidance of Madelon (Arlene Dahl), a former lover who's now a key resistance member. When Robespierre tells Charles that his black book, a notorious death list filled with enemies on both sides, is missing, Charles is commanded to find it before its contents can be exposed, putting an end to his planned dictatorship. Charles' quest to maintain Robespierre's trust while secretly trying to destroy him and his wrathful allies elicits a series of suspenseful exploits where danger looms around every Parisian corner.

Product Description:

The French Revolution is given the noir treatment in this 1949 entry from director Anthony Mann. The hunt is on for Robespierre's black book, listing the victims headed toward the guillotine. Famed cinematographer John Alton lays the shadows over the tense proceedings.


This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating:
Based on 126 ratings.
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The Black Book Movie Lover: from Cambridge, OH US -- November, 12, 2007

A skillfully done, low-budget film about the final days of the Reign of Terror in 18th Century France. Richard Basehart is wonderful as the evil Robespierre. The film should be remastered by Criterion with commentary.

The Black Book Movie Lover: from saint germain en laye, Yvelines FR -- May, 19, 2006

A relatively low budget film done to the max, to appear bigger than it was. Superbly acted, and fine athmosphere of the French Revolution.
The historical characterizations are quite strikingly good in this fictionalized drama of history. Highly recommended.

Thrilling and beautiful Movie Lover: from Geneva -- January, 18, 2004

This french revolution drama is a real gem. Out of the chaos and carnage of the French Revolution, Anthony Mann fashions not a sweeping historical epic à la A Tale of Two Cities but a tight and shaded suspense story. His gifted collaborator is director of photography John Alton, whose preference for the murky suggestively limned with light was never so evident as in his work here, in country inns and the cellars of bakeshops and the cobbled pavements of torchlit Paris.

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 40,080
  • UPC: 089218428394
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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