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Black Dragons

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Black Dragons (1942) starring Bela Lugosi, Clayton Moore, Joan Barclay
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In Black Dragons, a group of businesssmen are sabotaging the war effort, for unknown reasons. Then Bela Lugosi’s character starts killing them, one by one! And FBI agent starts investigating …

Black Dragons (1942) starring Bela Lugosi, Clayton Moore, Joan Barclay


In short, Black Dragons is a very good murder mystery, with a very weird premise. Close to absurd, in all seriousness. But it begins well, with good acting all around. The basic story has five prominent American businessmen, conspiring to destroy the war effort by sabotage or any other means necessary. Even though this will cost them their fortunes — but why? Then, a mysterious Monsieur Colomb shows up as they’re meeting, presumably to consult with one of them – a prominent physician. And he does something that the audience doesn’t see. Causing the doctor to lock himself in his bedroom, giving Colomb run of the house. Even when his niece arrives, he refuses to see her.

And one by one the men are killed, with a Japanese dagger left in their hand, and their corpses left in front of the closed Japanese embassy. It’s clear to the audience that Colomb’s responsible, although there’s no direct evidence of it.

Finally, the backstory is told in flashback — and it’s blatantly ridiculous. Colomb is actually a loyal Nazi — a plastic surgeon. He was taken to Tokyo to … Make five Japanese saboteurs look exactly like the five American businessmen. Who’ve been captured, and murdered, by the Japanese. And the Nazi plastic surgeon is going to make them look identical to the Americans. So identical, their closest friends & business associates couldn’t tell the difference. And they flawlessly speak English as well, identical to the dead men.

In the end, justice is served to all. But the whole plot, revealed,, is just blatantly silly.

Product Description 

Nazis send plastic surgeon Dr. Melcher (Bela Lugosi) to Tokyo where he transforms Japanese spies into identical copies of prominent American businessmen. In order to keep their secret safe, the Black Dragons, an organization of fanatic murderers, imprison the doctor and plan his execution. The Japanese “duplicates” begin to commit acts of sabotage and destruction. The plan seems foolproof until the impostors begin to turn up dead on the steps of the Japanese Embassy. Secret agent Dick Martin (Clayton Moore) is brought in to investigate. He uncovers a trail of horror discovering that Dr. Melcher has been kidnapping, killing and even turning his victims into deformed monsters. Black Dragons is the third film in the infamous 1940’s Bela Lugosi “Monogram 9.” Clayton Moore, seen here in one of his early roles, went on to great acclaim as the star of the western TV series “The Lone Ranger.”

Cast of characters

  • Bela Lugosi (The Return of the Vampire) … Dr. Melcher – aka Monsieur Colomb / Cell Prisoner
  • Joan Barclay (The Corpse Vanishes) … Alice Saunders
  • George Pembroke … Dr. Bill Saunders
  • Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger TV series) … Dick Martin
  • Robert Frazer (The Vampire Bat) … Amos Hanlin
  • Edward Peil Sr. … Ryder
  • Robert Fiske … Phillip Wallace
  • Irving Mitchell … John Van Dyke
  • Kenneth Harlan (The Walking Dead 1936) … FBI Chief Colton
  • Max Hoffman Jr. … Kearney
  • Frank Melton … FBI Agent
  • Joseph Eggenton (You’ll Find Out) … Stevens
  • I. Stanford Jolley … The Dragon (as Stanford Jolley)

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