There is a full moon in Swanhaven and George Amble (Kenneth Connor) has had a bit too much to drink at the local pub.  On his way home he takes a short cut through the grounds of a rambling old castle called Brockham Castle.  In the light of the moon he sees what, to him, looks like an apparition.  A black hooded monk on a motorcycle.  The vision is similar to a local legend about a specter called “The Black Monk” who haunts the castle grounds during full moons.  After his harrowing event George tells everyone who will buy him a scotch or a pint.

One of the people that George tells is Jerry Marsh (Jimmy Hanley).  Jerry is a reporter for the local newspaper “The News and Mail”.  Jerry writes a story about the Black Rider.  His boss is Robert Plack (Leslie Dwyer).  Jerry and his mother (Beatrice Varley) live next door to the Placks.  Jerry is engaged to Robert’s daughter, Mary (Rona Anderson).   Jerry’s pride and joy is his brand-new motorcycle.  He joins the local motorcycle club, “The Swanhaven Motorcycle Club”.  Jerry thinks that there may be another story in the Black Rider tale and decides to take his motorcycle out and investigate the castle grounds.      

Two other people that George regales with his story are Martin Brenner (Lionel Jeffries) and his niece, Karen (Valerie Hanson).  Brenner has leased the castle for a few months.  Brenner and his co-horts have been using the castle as a rendezvous point for smuggling.  What they are smuggling in are parts to an atomic explosive device.  The castle is located in a strategic area.  Once assembled they plan on blowing it up, and a good portion of Swanhaven as well.

“The Black Rider” was released in 1954 and was directed by Wolf Rilla.  It is a slightly obscure low budget British Crime thriller with bit of Cold War intrigue.

I was hoping for something substantial, but the movie was more fluff than intrigue.  There’s no suspense as to who the villains are.  Outside of a story with potential that went nowhere the movie is rather plain.  The best part is Lionel Jeffries as the bad guy.   He plays his part straight.  Usually I see him as an eccentric or comic grandfather in films like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” 1968 and “First Men in the Moon” 1964.  I can only surmise that Jerry Marsh was cast as leading man, Jimmy Hanley, for his upbeat and comedic attitude and not for his looks.

The castle used in the film is the Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.  

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