In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first ... See full summary »
In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first husband, three years ago. So he is rather undesirable. But Oetsch stays; arguing he is not the murderer and will find the real one... Written by
This is the earliest surviving Murnau work that has been released to video. Of his 21 films, nine are lost, nine are with us and on video and three exist only in archives. This work has none of the special effects, luminous cinematography or incredible lighting of his later masterworks. It is filmed pretty much "straight on" as were most films of the day. Murnau here shows his grasp of character and his firm ability to engage us in the narrative.
At a weekend gathering in a castle, a man suspected of murdering his own brother (but never convicted)shows up suddenly. His brother's widow also shows up with her new husband and resents the man's presence but for reasons other than what we assume. There are family secrets and our anti-hero is here to expose them and the real murderer.
Not wanting to give away the plot, let's say simply that it is well done with the proper amount of tension and the facts of the case are psychologically most interesting for the time. One notes that the marriage goes awry when the first husband becomes obsessed with a philosophy that puts down worldly things (including his wife) - this plot device is at the heart of Moliere's TARTUFFE which Murnau films so cleverly a few years later.
This is a most interesting film - an advance on direction and narrative for its day and well worth seeing.
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