THE SECRET OF THE BLACK WIDOW (1963) Reviews and overview of krimi thriller

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The Secret of the Black Widow is a 1963 German-Spanish krimi mystery thriller about an alcoholic journalist investigating strange murders. Someone is killing members of a South American expedition using poison darts with a rubber black widow spider attached to them.

Directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb [as F.J. Gottlieb] (Lady Dracula; The Phantom of Soho) from a screenplay co-written by Alexandra Becker and Rolf Becker, based on a novel by Louis Weinert-Wilton. The Spanish version is credited to José Luis Guarner and José María Otero. Produced by Alfons Carcasona.

The International Germania Film-Procusa co-production stars O.W. Fischer, Karin Dor, Klaus Kinski, Werner Peters, Doris Kirchner and Eddi Arent.



” …the comic relief character is used rather sparingly. Unfortunately, the dubbing is a little weak, and it runs too long, which is especially noticeable during a somewhat protracted climax. Once again, the fantastic content is rather light; the method of murder has a slight horror feel to it, but that’s about all. This one is a mixed bag.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“Most of the actors, particularly hero O.W. Fischer, mug outrageously, to the extent that even the “straight” roles take on a comic tone […] It’s a lively production, though one really never knows quite what’s going on most of the time. But after the viewer gets past the goofiness of the villain’s modus operandi and the charms of [Karin] Dor, Widow doesn’t disclose any secrets worth knowing.” Naturalistic! Uncanny! Marvelous!

“There’s a neatly staged nightclub performance by a chanteuse (Belina), whose song improbably summarizes much of the plot of the movie; again, this is well in the krimi spirit. But the great charm of the krimis is the surrealistic way in which their makers are completely careless about matters of plot consistency or indeed whether or not the plot actually makes any sense at all. Here, despite the fantastication of the murder method […], the plot hangs together reasonable coherently.” Noirish

Choice dialogue:

Fish [Eddi Argent]: “Death through murder! Why the essential excitement appeals to me.”

Cast and characters:

O.W. Fischer … Mr Wellby
Karin Dor … Clarisse Miller/Avery
Klaus Kinski … Boyd aka X13
Werner Peters … Mr Shor
Doris Kirchner … Mrs Shor
Eddi Arent … Fish, newspaper archivist
Claude Farell … Mrs Ayke
Gabriel Llopart … Charlie Selwood
Fernando Sancho … Slim
José María Caffarel … Cartwright (as Josef Cafarell)
Belina … Sängerin
Antonio Casas … Mr Bronsfield/Bromfield
Tomás Blanco … (uncredited)
Félix Dafauce … Inspector Terry (uncredited)
Cris Huerta … Slim (uncredited)
Ángel Menéndez … (uncredited)
George Rigaud … (uncredited)

Technical details:

99 minutes
Black and white
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Original title:

Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Witwe “The Black Widow’s Secret”

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