Classic Cinema: Reign of Terror (1949) – By Jason S. Lockard

John Richard Basehart was born on August 31, 1914 in Zanesville, Ohio. Most people know Richard Baseheart for his TV appearances, but Richard was quite the film actor as well! His most notable roles was as an acrobat known as “the Fool” in the Italian film La Strada from 1954. He showed his ability to play the macabre characters when playing a killer in the 1948 film noir He Walked by Night, as well as a psychotic member of the Hatfield clan in Roseanna McCoy from 1949. Than in 1962 he would play the role of the most despicable man in history Adolf Hitler.  He also received the opportunity to played Ishmael in the 1956 classic Moby Dick. But in 1949 Richard Baseheart took on the role Maximillian Robespierrre in our film of the month Reign of Terror.

The film follows Maximillian Robespierrre who is the most powerful man in France, but isn’t happy he wants to be the nation’s dictator. Panic ensues in 1794 France when the people discover he is looking for his black book. Now it’s not a book of ladies numbers, it’s a list of people marked for the guillotine that will be the key to making him the ultimate dictator. Will he reign supreme or will he be stopped. You’ll have to watch the film to find out!

In the 1964s Richard Basehart would transition from the big screen to the small screen when he took the lead role as Admiral Harriman Nelson, on Irwin Allen’s sci-fi TV classic, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. After the success of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Richard would go on to guest star in such classic shows as Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-O, Little House on the Prairie, Columbo and as billionaire Wilton Knight on Knight Rider. He would also play in made-for-tv movies; Sole Survivor and The Birdmen.

Richard Basehart was married three times and had 3 children. One day after Richard saw a small dog get thrown from a fast-moving vehicle on a Los Angeles freeway. He was moved to start the non-profit charity Actors and Others for Animals, which he founded with his third wife Diana Lotery.

In the summer of 1984 Basehart was an announcer for the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Than less than a month later he suffered a series of strokes and on September 17th 1984 Richard Basehart passed away.

Richard Basehart with his deep voice was distinctive. He left a legacy of great films and TV appearances that will live on! So until next month this is Jason S. Lockard reminding you! If you want to see a good film, check out a classic.

Moral Rating: Mild Violence
Audience: Parental Guidance
Genre: Drama
Length: 89 Minutes
Released: 1949
Rating: A-