The Law of Contact

The Reign of Terror, or The Black Book (October 15, 1949)

Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl in The Reign of Terror

Released on October 15, 1949: The French people are fightingMaximillian Pobespierre, who wants to be dictator, and has a black book filled with names of the people that he must send to the guillotine, and it has gone missing.

Directed by Anthony Mann

The Actors: Robert Cummings (Charles D'Aubigny), Richard Basehart (Maximilian Robespierre), Richard Hart (Francois Barras), Arlene Dahl (Madelon), Arnold Moss (Fouche), Norman Lloyd (Tallien), Charles McGraw (Sergeant), Beula Bondi (Grandma Blanchard), Jess Barker (Saint Just), Ray Bennett (Robespierre's shooter), Ralph Brooks (citizen), William Challee (Bourdon), Frank Conlan (gateskeeper), Clancy Cooper (Saint Just's sentry), Wade Crosby (Danton), Mary Currier (Madame Duval), Sayre Dearing (citizen), John Doucette (farmer Pierre Blanchard), Charles Gordon (Duval), Wilton Graff (Marquis de Lafayette), Dabbs Greer (guard at bridge), Frank Hagney (bakery guard), Colin Kenny (patriot), Victor Kilian (jailer), David Leonard (tavern greeter), Ellen Lowe (farmer's wife Marie Blanchard), Frank Mills (citizen), Boyd 'Red' Morgan (soldier), Charles Perry (citizen), Dan Seymour (innkeeper), Shepperd Strudwick (Napoleon Bonaparte), Leo Sulky (citizen), Anthony Sydes (Pierre's other son), Russ Tamblyn (Pierre's oldest son), Arthur Tovey (patriot), Georgette Windsor (Cecile).


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With revolution and uprise in many of the middle eastern countries these days, we don't need to look back in history for more examples of 'the people' rising up against unjust governments. Today we travel to Paris of the 1790's and watch spy against double-spy, and who is really with the people, and who is really with Robespierre, who means to be dictator of France. Make a big bowl of popcorn, drizzle it with warm, melted butter, a little salt, and we are set for an intriguing hour of mystery, spies, emissaries of Napoleon Boneaparte, and a little black book with the names of French citizens that are destined for death to make way for the rise of Robespierre to the position of Dictator.

Our movie opens as evil dictator-would-be Robespierre executes one of his friends, clearing one more hurdle on his journey to become the total dictator of France. In a cunning bid to defeat everyone that might stand in his way, he sends for the one man in the world who has a reputation of being a bigger murderer than he is. He will task the killer from afar with finding a black book that was stolen from him. This black book holds the names of everyone that the would-be dictator must kill before he rises to power. In the wrong hands it could mean his end. But before the killer from afar can arrive in Paris, he is killed by someone who takes his place. This man may be with the people, or maybe not. As our tale continues, this man mixes with the would-be dictator of France and with the rebellion, and we are still not convinced of which side he is on. Beware, even the woman that he loved and lost in the past may be with him, or may be against him. Everyone is suspect in this revoutionary thriller.