Lucius Clark (Rudolf Fernau) is about to be knighted by the queen for
his services in the colonies, which he celebrates at his home, Blackmoor
Castle, but right after all the guests have gone, he receives an unwanted
prisoner: A hooded man who demands the diamonds he stole in the colonies
and threatens to kill him if he doesn't hand them over - but then noises
from outside cause the hooded man, who will soon be dubbed "the
strangler" to flee.
Of course, the diamonds the strangler has
talked about are real (and possibly stolen), and Clark keeps them at a top
secret space behind (!) an incinerator. And due to a few failed
investments with money taken out of the trust fund of his niece Claridge
(Karin Dor), he now has to sell some of his diamonds to a fence, Tavish
(Hans Nielsen), who also runs a seedy nightclub. However, whoever Clark
sends to the nighclub ends up dead, and invariably the diamonds are gone.
Only Claridge gets through, not knowing what she's carrying, but when her
box is opened, it contains nothing but sand.
But who could be behind all
these murders. The actual Lord Blackmoor (Walter Giller), an impoverished
aristocrat who saw himself forced to rent out most of his mansion to
Lucius Clark? Clark's butler (Dieter Eppler) who's actually a diamond
cutter and who seems to be addicted to diamonds? Lawyer Tromby (Richard
Häussler), the executor of Claridge's trust fund who has a secret agenda
of his own? Judy (Ingmar Zeisberg), a barwoman who is also Tromby's
accomplice and who likes to pose as a noblewoman?
inspector Mitchell (Harry Riebauer) eventually finds out that whoever it
is is the son of Lucius Clark with another man's wife, and this son is
actually Judy's husband. Apparently the strangler doesn't know Clark is
his real father, otherwise he would probably not threaten to kill him. But
Clark dies anyways from heart failure, as all of this excitement has
proven too much for him.
It all culminates in a chase through the secret
catacombs under the mansion, and at the end the strangler is shot,
unmasked ... and it proves to be a journalist colleague (Hans Reiser) of
Claridge, somebody nobody would have suspected.
In the end, inspector
Mitchell gets the girl - Claridge that is.
The Strangler of
Blackmoor Castle is one of the many attempts of producer Artur Brauner
to cash in on the success of Rialto's
Edgar Wallace-series, this time by adapting a novel by
Wallace's son Bryan Edgar Wallace. But while the younger Wallace was a
writer whose books differed vastly from those of his father, it was seen
to it that the films fitted the Edgar Wallace-style to the t - which might
be one of the reasons for hiring Harald Reinl as director, Karin Dor in
the female lead.
The film is actually in the tradition of the German Edgar
Wallace movies in every way: England is a land full of
mansions, populated by mainly eccentrics who somehow follow the German
clichées of Englishmen, and these mansions are riddled with secret
passageways and hidden catacombs like Swiss cheese. Now put a thriller
plot on top of this that features a hooded killer, gruesome murders, seedy
bars and the obligator innocent heiress (Karin Dor), and mix it up in an
overconvoluted plot that ultimately pulls a murder out of the head rather
than having him revealed after careful deduction, and you come up with The
Strangler of Blackmoor Castle. In other words, if you're into the
Wallace series, you'll very probably like this as well, since
it's almost the same, but if you're expecting a masterpiece ... well, then
just look somewhere else.