The Haunted Castle | Chicago Reader

The Haunted Castle

Some choice expressionistic images decorate this 1921 German feature by F.W. Murnau, though they're stuck to an ungainly and fairly inert melodrama. A hunting party hosted by a wealthy baron (Arnold Korff) is marred by the arrival of an uninvited guest: the notorious Count Oetsch, who's been tried and acquitted for the murder of his own brother. Also in attendance are the victim's widow (Olga Tschechowa, a niece of Anton Chekhov) and her priestly confessor, who mysteriously disappears. Carl Mayer, Murnau's frequent scenarist, adapted a serialized novel whose notions of guilt and evil remain largely rhetorical here; the same themes would spring to life a year later in their first masterpiece, Nosferatu. 80 min.

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