The Haunted Castle
Arnold Korff, Lulu Keyser-Korff, Lothar Mehnert, Olga Tschechowa,
This fascinating film weaves an atmosphere of anguished oppression into an intrigue of death and deception, punctuated with spurts of comic relief. It is autumn; at the Castle Vogelod, guests gather for a hunting vacation. Among them is the beautiful Baroness von Safferstadt, whose first husband died years before under suspicious circumstances, perhaps implicating his own brother, perhaps the baroness herself. Murnau captured, as few other filmmakers have, the torturous hold such an unsolved mystery has on its protagonists, as the retreat turns into a series of eerily staged confessionals. As always, the Murnau team (writer Carl Mayer, designer Hermann Warm, and cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner) created moods purely cinematically, from the faint smoke that rises from the chairs as people sit down, to the luminous natural imagery and magnificent set pieces of the confessions.