The Black Rider (1954)

UK, 1953
66m, 6010 feet
35mm film, black and white
mono, English

A British thriller with minor horror elements directed by Wolf Rilla. It was first released in the UK on 10 January 1955.

Plot Summary

A castle supposedly haunted by the ghost of a monk has been over-run by smugglers who themselves are posing as ghosts to keep frightened locals away. Journalist and motorcyclist Jerry Marsh investigates and discovers that smugglers are actually building an atomic bomb and are planning an act of nuclear terrorism.


Directed by: Wolf Rilla
Balblair Productions presents. World distribution controlled by Butchers Film Distributors Ltd.
Produced by: A.R. Rawlinson
Written by: A.R. Rawlinson
Director of Photography: Geoffrey Faithfull
Editor: John Trumper
Music Composed & Conducted by: Wilfred Burns
[Sound] Recordist: W.H. Lindop
Wardrobe: Jean Fairlie
Make-up: Jim Rance
Hairdresser: Betty Lee *
Art Director: John Stoll
Produced at: Nettlefold Studios, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England

Jimmy Hanley (Jerry Marsh)
Rona Anderson (Mary Plack)
Leslie Dwyer (Robert Plack)
Lionel Jeffries (Martin Bremner)
Beatrice Varley (Mrs Marsh)
Michael Golden (Rakoff)
Valerie Hanson (Karen)
Vincent Ball (Ted Lintott)
Edwin Richfield (Geoff Morgan)
Kenneth Connor (George Amble)
Robert Rietty (Mario)
James Raglan (Rackston)
Edie Martin (elderly lady)
Frank Atkinson (landlord)
Peter Swanwick (holiday-maker)
Sarah Davies (holiday-maker's wife)
John Pike (holiday-maker's son)
Anne Gillens (Joyce)
Andrew Leigh (small man)
John Baker (van driver)
Frank Taylor (corporal)


Kine Weekly no.2478 (23 December 1954) p.16
Lively, disarmingly ingenuous modern swashbuckling comedy melodrama. […] The main plot is buttressed by exciting motor-cycle racing sequences and the asides give' additional zest to the wholesome yarn culminating in the spectacular arrest of the crooks. Competently acted and directed, it should earn the plaudits of the family and the crowd. Reliable British programmer […] The picture, unblushing boys adventure, subtly broadens its appeal by using motor cycle racing and gymkhanas to raise laughs and provide extra thrills. Jimmy Hanley displays a sure sense of humour and sets the right tempo as Jerry, Rona Anderson has a touch of class as Mary, Leslie Dwyer amuses as the explosive Plack, and Lionel Jeffries is convincing as Brenner. The concluding reels are great fun and, together with authentic atmosphere and first rate camera work, complete the entertainment oracle.



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.7 p.10
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.2478 (23 December 1954) p.16 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.22 no.253 (February 1955) p.23 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Today's Cinema vol.83 no.7164 (16 December 1954) p.8 – review (by M.M.W.)


  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.14, 43