The Black Book (1929)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

This adventure serial was the last to team the popular Allene Ray and Walter Miller and the last to be produced by Pathé, the company that more than any other had become identified with the genre. Ray played a girl detective and Miller was her stalwart hero, a rehabilitated former crook. The two go in search of a couple of black books containing information that might lead to a secret uranium mine. Having based her screen career on serials, Allene Ray went on to star opposite Tim McCoy in The Indians Are Coming (1929), which contained one "dialogue scene" in each chapter and thus has gone down in history as the first "talkie" serial. Unfortunately, weight gain and a certain awkwardness in front of a microphone cut Allene's career short. Miller continued to appear in both serials and B-Westerns, but almost always cast as a villain. Interestingly, The Black Book was directed by Spencer G. Bennet who much later would helm the very last American-made chapterplay, Blazing the Overland Trail (1956).