The Black Book (1949 History, Romance, Thriller film noir)

Directed by Anthony Mann and starring Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart and Arlene Dahl. The film is set during the French Revolution. Plotters seek to bring down Maximilien Robespierre and end his bloodthirsty Reign of Terror.
Already the most powerful man in France, Maximilien Robespierre (Richard Basehart) wants to become the nation’s Dictator. He summons François Barras (Richard Hart), the only man who can nominate him before the National Convention. Barras refuses to do so and goes into hiding.

Meanwhile, patriot Charles D’Aubigny (Robert Cummings) secretly kills and impersonates Duval (Charles Gordon), the bloodstained prosecutor of Strasbourg, who had been summoned to Paris by Robespierre for some unknown purpose (which Robespierre’s enemies want very much to ascertain). Neither Robespierre nor Fouché (Arnold Moss), the chief of his secret police, have met Duval before, so the substitution goes undetected. Robespierre informs D’Aubigny that his black book, containing the names of those he intends to denounce and have executed, has been stolen. Robespierre’s numerous foes are kept in check by not knowing whether their names are on the list or not. If they were to learn for certain that they are on the list, they would band together against him. He gives D’Aubigny authority over everyone in France, save himself, and 24 hours to retrieve the book.
Robert Cummings as Charles D’Aubigny
Richard Basehart as Maximilien Robespierre
Richard Hart as François Barras
Arlene Dahl as Madelon
Arnold Moss as Fouché
Norman Lloyd as Tallien
Charles McGraw as Sergeant
Beulah Bondi as Grandma Blanchard
Jess Barker as Saint-Just
Wade Crosby as Danton

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