Black Panther, The (1977)

Date: 1977
Director: Ian Merrick
Production Company: Impics Productions

Stars: Donald Sumpter, Debbie Farrington, Marjorie Yates, Sylvia O'Donnell
Location(s): Buckinghamshire, London, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire

Region(s): , ,

Storyline:

An ex-military man pursues a secret life of crime, culminating in the kidnapping of a teenage heiress.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson

 

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Morning dawns on Donald Neilson (Donald Sumpter) as he runs with a backpack and his pockets filled with rocks. Pitstone Windmill, Pitstone in Buckinghamshire with the chimneys of Pitstone cement works dominating the horizon. The cement works closed in 1990s and the land has been redeveloped for residential use. The mill also appears in 'The Cherry Picker'.

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Avoiding trespass, Lionel and Cynthia Sear remark "Surely one of the most dramatic transformations that you will find on ReelStreets". Whatever the redevelopment is, it is certainly not obvious, so let us be grateful. Now owned by the National Trust it is in safe hands. (RL)

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Neilson arrives home after attempting an armed robbery at a sub-post office in Lancashire.

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The former soldier turns his key in the front door.

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In his Jeep, Neilson drives into Highley.

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With kidnapping in mind, Neilson makes his way through the Shropshire village.

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A pub is passed.

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Neilson slows down as he passes the Whittle family's coach business.

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After making notes, Neilson watches Lesley Whittle (Debbie Farrington) as she enters the driveway of her home.

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In Harrogate, the Sub-Postmaster (Edwin Apps) cashes two postal orders that were stolen during an earlier robbery as Neilson looks around, preparing for his next raid.

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Neilson reads a poster offering a £5,000 reward for information about the killing of the Sub-Postmaster in Harrogate.

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Turning a corner, Neilson sees a group of youths.

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One of the group is continually beaten by the others.

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The murderer ignores the victim's plight and continues on his way.

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An incident is recalled when Neilson became abusive to a man who had stopped to help him after a fall in the street.

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Neilson walks from the panther's cage at Dudley Zoo. The zoo on Castle Hill in Dudley, West Midlands dates from 1937.

After gathering information about the zoo's layout, Neilson leaves.

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This is the entrance and exit of the zoo on Castle Hill, Dudley. (PW)

A planned route is written down. Outside Dudley Zoo on Castle Hill.

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Not a great deal has altered in the intervening years. (PW)

Moving along from the zoo, Neilson takes note of where telephone boxes stand. This is the zoo's coach park on Birmingham Road, Dudley.

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Taken from the middle of Castle Gate Island. (PW)

Across from the coach park stands the former bus garage on Birmingham Road, Dudley which was demolished in 1993 to be replaced by Castle Gate Island.

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Again, an approximation of the location taken from the middle of the roundabout. (PW)

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Another armed robbery, this time in Higher Baxenden near Accrington.

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The Sub-Postmaster's children run to neighbours after their father is shot dead.

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A recce is carried out to find a suitable place to hide his kidnap victim. The junction of First Avenue, The Avenue and Boathorse Road in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire.

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Now being called 'The Black Panther', Neilson steers his Jeep from the main road. This roadway leads off Ravenscliffe Road at the end of Boathorse Road in Kidsgrove.

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The vehicle is brought to a stand in the deserted car park at Bathpool Park.

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The camera pans across Bathpool Park. To the left is the railway line leaving the new Harecastle Tunnel as it runs north from Stoke on Trent to Kidsgrove and on the right is Bathpool Park and Wood. The large rectangular area is a covered reservoir.

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Donald Neilson surveys the landscape. Bathpool Park, Kidsgrove.

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The Yorkshireman walks along the pathway above the mouth of Harecastle Tunnel as a freight train passes below.

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Leaving the path, Neilson walks alongside the railway line.

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A manhole is found before moving on. Bathpool Park, Kidsgrove is in the north of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

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A sewer vent is noted. Bathpool Park near Kidsgrove.

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Neilson discovers a suitable hiding place. Bathpool Park with the railway line in the background.

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The Black Panther follows his victim.

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The young heiress crosses the road.

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The camera tracks as Lesley starts to talk to her waiting friend.

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The two girls enter the pub.

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Neilson walks along Coventry Street in Kidderminster, Worcestershire before entering the Swan Shopping Centre.

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King Charles Square in The Swan Centre, Kidderminster with Sir Walter's Place to the left.

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Two telephone boxes are found and their numbers taken down. King Charles Square, Kidderminster.

With his plans almost complete, Neilson travels to London. Chalk Farm Underground station on Adelaide Road in London NW3.

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Only a couple of real changes in this shot from Peter.

Having lied to his family that he's away working in Scotland, the violent criminal heads from the station. Adelaide Road in Chalk Farm NW3.

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A sunnier day when Peter captured the same, rather bare entrance.

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Looking through the window of a noisy café, Neilson scans the street outside.

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A man locks his car before checking that it's secure.

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Leaving the café, Neilson walks along the street trying car doors.

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The thief runs when a dog starts barking as an unlocked vehicle's door is opened.

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The camera pans as Neilson continues to run.

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Across the road another likely car is found.

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Using a bunch of keys, Neilson breaks into and steals the Morris before setting out on another robbery which ends in the murder of the Sub-Postmaster in Langley Green.

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On a day while her husband is still away, Irene Neilson (Marjorie Yates) walks slowly home.

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Irene greets her husband when unexpectedly finding him painting the house.

Having kidnapped the 17 year old Lesley Whittle from her Shropshire home, the Black Panther takes her to the drainage shaft that he discovered in Bathpool Park.

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Film poster from the original release of 'The Black Panther'.

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Neilson leaves his house after sending a ransom note to Lesley's Brother.

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The kidnapper crosses the road and gets into the stolen Morris 1100.

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The Black Panther drives back to the Midlands.

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In Kidderminster's Swan Shopping Centre Lesley's Brother (Andrew Burt) waits for a phone call from Nielson.

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Neilson pauses when he sees youngsters around the phone boxes in Dudley.

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Journalists approach Lesley's Brother as he waits for the call from Neilson. King Charles Square in Kidderminster.

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Lesley's Brother drives to another phone box, this time nearer to Kidsgrove.

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Two Police Officers on patrol drive towards a suspicious stranger.

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Outside a chip shop, passers by watch as the two Officers struggle with Donald Nielson.

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The Black Panther is captured.

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