The Black Panther (1977)

35mm film, colour
mono, English

A British borderline horror film directed by Ian Merrick.

Plot Summary

Based on the true story of Donald Nielsen who, in the mid-1970s, terrorised the British Midlands with a string of increasingly violent post office which eventually turned to and ultimately murder as he snatched wealthy heiress Lesley Whittle.


Directed by: Ian Merrick
© MCMLXXXII [1977] Impics Ltd
Impics presents an Ian Merrick film. Filmed by Impics Ltd
Produced by: Ian Merrick
Production Supervisor: Michael McKeag
Film Written by: Michael Armstrong
Original Treatment by: Joanne Leighton
Assistant Director: Barry Langley
2nd Assistant Director: Mike Higgins
Continuity: Ann Edwards
Director of Photography: Joe Mangine
Camera Operator: Alan Jones
Gaffer: Jim Harris
Lighting by: McGuiness Film & TV Lighting Ltd.
Editor: Teddy Darvas
Colour by: Technicolor
Music Composed and Conducted by: Richard Arnell
Electronic Music by: David Hewson
Music Recording by: Anvil Films
Sound Recordist: Stanley Phillips
Boom Operator: Chris Gurney
Post Production Sound by: Cine-Lingual Sound Studios Ltd.
Sound Rerecording: Tony Anscombe, Colin Martin
Costumes: James Wakely
Make-up: Neville Smallwood
Hairdressing: Jeanette Freeman
Titles & Opticals: G.S.E.
Art Director: Carlotta Barrow
Production Assistant: Jean Clarkson
Medical and Psychiatric Consultant: H. Peter Tarnesby M.D. D.P.M
Filmed on location in England and at EMI Studios Borehamwood, Elstree, Herts, England
Location Manager: Brian Bilgori
TV extract from Intimate Reflections by kind permission of Don Boyd
Fight Arranger: Colin Skeaping
Casting: Irene Lamb
Additional Casting: Stephen Riddle

Donald Sumpter (Donald Neilson)
Debbie Farrington (Lesley Whittle)
Marjorie Yates (Neilson's wife)
Sylvia O'Donnell (Neilson's daughter)
Andrew Burt (Lesley's brother)
David Swift (Det Chief Superintendent)
Alison Key (Lesley's sister-in-law)
Ruth Dunning (Lesley's mother)
Delia Paton
Lila Kaye
Gerry Sundquist
Peter Copley
Michael Barrington
Edwin Apps
Ruth Kettlewell
Graham Ashley
Brenda Cowling
Lyn McCarthy
Paul McCarthy
Barbara New
Jack Galloway
Valerie Holliman
Paul Luty
Richard Aylen
Charles Pemberton
John Eastham
Anthony Naylor
John Dixon
Christopher Holroyd
Loftus Burton

Alternative Titles

Donald Neilson la iena di Londra – Italy
Musta pantteri – Finland
Ordine da Hong Kong uccidete Pantera Nera – Italy



  • Sunday Telegraph 18 December 1977 – review (by Tom Hutchinson)


  • Film Review 1978-1979 by F. Maurice Speed p.140
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti pp.54-55
  • Unsung Horrors by Eric McNaughton & Darrell Buxton (eds) pp.66-67 – illustrated review (by Tony Earnshaw)