Set during the French Revolution, Bob Cummings has a surprisingly heroic baring as a spy striving to save the people from the madness of Robespiere (Richard Basehart). Everyone is after the Black Book, containing Robespiere's list of who next will go to the guillotine.
The black & white cinematography uses symbolist film noir tricks not usually seen in costume dramas, disguising the cheap sets with shadow & moodiness suited to the spy material, giving the film a marvelous eerie look.
One has to overlook how very un-French the cast is & appreciate the character-actor faces for their own strengths. And one has to not mind a story at odds with historical facts. With those provisos, The Black Book aka Reign of Terror (1949) is quite a good film.
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