THE BLACK PANTHER (1977 U.K.) D/P: IAN MERRICK W: MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
Donald Sumpter is very good as Donald Nielson, the unemployed, strict disciplinarian father and husband who was also The Black Panther, a hooded post office burglar who shot and killed several victims during his bungled raids in the mid-70`s. But he became notorious for his kidnapping of a teenage heiress for ransom, which ended in her death in a drainage inspection shaft deep undeground. Unusual for a true crime movie made so soon after the events, this is very factual, with a no-frills, almost docu-drama style. Nielson is portrayed as a frustrated, short-tempered ex-military survivalist wannabe who craved respect. Low-key and slow-moving, but chilling and effective. With David Swift as a Detective on the case. Merrick, a one-time associate of Barry Mahon (!), and who worked at Coppola`s Zoetrope, later directed SCULPTRESS. Armstrong is of course most well-known for MARK OF THE DEVIL.

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