Friday, 27 November 2015

The Black Panther Film - Now out on DVD

The local newspaper published a double page spread about the film made about the Black Panther - Donald Neilson - that is now being released on DVD.  I remember the headlines when it was reported that  film about the murders was being planned, and indeed, a clip was shown on Barry Norman's film show.  But the film remained virtually unseen as some authorities refused to show it.  Donald Sumpter played Neilson, though physically he was not suited.  It was reported that Ian Holm had originally agreed to play him, but upon hearing that the family of Lesley Whittle objected to the film, he backed out.  Not only is he a superb actor but physically, was closer to Neilson than Sumpter.  The film cost £100,000 to make - a low budget - and was filmed in just two weeks.  The sort of shooting schedule that Roger Corman did on many of his low budgeters!  The Whittle family reportedly said that they could not stop the film being made but they made it clear that they were unhappy about the situation.

    The scriptwriter, Michael Armstrong, pointed to films made about murderers such as Christie.  A number of reconstructions of cases are made about murders, such as Sutcliffe, Dennis Nilsen, Griffiths, The Wests, etc, so I can see Armstrong`s point.  Whether it is right or wrong, everybody will have an opinion on it.  But seeing the name of Michael Armstrong brought back certain films.  The Mark of The Devil, made in 1969 in Germany, by Armstrong, and starring Herbert Lom,  Udo Kier and Reggie Nalder.  This was banned in the UK (and I believe it still is - anybody know otherwise?) but I saw it on video around 1983.  Think of Witchfinder General, only very much nastier.  He also did a sex film called "Sex Thief" which featured a then unknown Diane Keen without her clothes!  

    A titbit about Neilson; one customer of mine, a former cop, claimed he once dated Nielson`s daughter, and when he took her out one night, Neilson warned him to have her back by a certain time, or "he would kill him!"  I have no way of knowing if this is true, it is only what he told me. Will people view the film that was largely shunned by the authorities and people?  Only time will tell.