The Black Raven (1943)

Yep! It’s time for more screeching horns n’ strings and shaky, washed out, black and white images (and va-voom, Wanda McKay!) in another dark and stormy night murder mystery.

The last time, we were at the Rogues’ Tavern, then the haunted Fal Vale Junction train station (see this week’s reviews for The Rogues’ Tavern and The Ghost Train). Yep, it’s another group of weary travelers stranded after a bad storm (Dig those plastic trees swayin’ in the high winds! Don’t slam the door too hard, you’re shaking the set’s walls!) that washed out a nearby bridge and they have to hold up at the Black Raven Inn. Two people are murdered and the hunt is on for $50,000 in quick succession because, even when trapped and facing death, everyone still feels the need for greed.

You may know Wanda McKay from her appearance in 1942’s Bowery at Midnight with Bela Lugosi; another horror notable is 1944’s The Monster Maker; but none of us remember (do you?) her for being the Chesterfield Cigarettes girl, which was a pretty sweet gig back in the day. If you watch an old “poverty row” PRC or Monogram Pictures B-Movie from the 1940’s, chances are (sigh) Wanda was in it.

As for the big man, George Zucco. Wow. We’ll rattle off a few: Madame X (1937), The Cat and the Canary (1939), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), House of Frankenstein (1944), and Scared to Death (1947) — great, creaky films all.

Yeah, just another great public domain ditty saved by the likes of You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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