“Yes, and I hope they get it where the bottle gets the cork.”
Frank Brooks (John Stuart) is an architect working on refurbishing an old abbey on the Hillcrist's newly purchased family estate. Frank and Sylvia Hillcrist (Judy Kelly) become engaged. Sylvia’s father, John Hillcrist (Farren Soutar), approves of the match. Sylvia’s childhood friend, Brian Heslewood (Edgar Norfolk) is also in love with Sylvia but bows out when he finds out about the engagement.
The Hillcrist maid, Jane (Davina Craig) and the family gardener, Alf Higgins (Cyril Smith) are courting in the garden. They take a walk over to the abbey where Jane sees the black abbot. Her scream brings the household running. The black abbot is a local legend. Supposedly he is a ghost that haunts the abbey in penance for his sins.
Frank Brooks, Brian Heslewood, John Hillcrist and family friend, Lord Jerry Pilkdown (Richard Cooper), decide to spend the night in the abbey to find out if there really is a ghost wandering around the abbey’s refectory. During the vigil John and Brian see someone outside. They split up and everyone runs outside. While looking around John is kidnapped. Detective Inspector Lockwood (John Turnbull) hasn’t made any headway on the case, so the family brings in an American private investigator, Charlie Marsh (Ben Welden) for his advice.
“The Black Abbot” was released in 1934 and was directed by George A. Cooper. It is a British comedy crime drama and a quota quickie.
It is a short but confusing film. Between a black abbot that doesn’t exist and a bunch of characters that you never really get to know the movie wanders around. I had to watch it twice to figure out who was who and how they fit into the plot. I’m being a little generous with the word plot. The abbot is a bit of a red herring and is only mentioned to get the main characters into position so that Hillcrist can be kidnapped. The movie itself is OK as far as low budget quota quickies are concerned but is nothing to write home about.
The best character in the film is Aunt Mary Hillcrist (Drusilla Wills). She is cantankerous but witty and steals every scene she is in. Davina Craig gets honorable mention as the runny nosed simpleton maid, Jane. She was alright but I did get a little tired of her continual dumbness. I was also pleased to see Ben Welden, the American detective Charlie Marsh, as something other than a dumb mobster like he usually plays.