A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with ... See full summary »
Mathias, an Alsatian innkeeper, murders a rich Pole staying at his inn But Mathias' conscience will not let him rest, and the murdered man's spirit drives the innkeeper nearly mad. The victim's brother calls for an inquest and brings with him a sideshow mesmerist supposedly able to read minds. Mathias, as burgomaster, is called upon to conduct the inquest, but under the intuitive eye of the mesmerist cannot resist torment of his own conscience. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Immediate inspiration for the Sept. 1926 film seems to have been the April 1926 New York stage adaptation (one of many). On Broadway that April, director Rollo Lloyd also acted the lead role of Mathias (played by Lionel Barrymore's in the film) and Edward Loeffler played the mesmerist (Boris Karloff in the film). J.M. Kerrigan (later seen in a number of John Ford films) on Broadway '26 played Father Walter. See more »
Lionel Barrymore as a Young Man; and then There's Boris
This is quite a decent silent horror film. The print I watched was quite rich. It is a story, not unlike "Crime and Punishment," where a man beset by debt through his own shortsightedness, kills a kind old Jew and lives it up on his money. He spends on his daughter's wedding, buying clothes for his wife, and playing the part of the Burgomaster. Unfortunately, the bells in the title are the sleigh bells of the shay that the old man was driving when he was murdered. One of the strangest things is the appearance of Boris Karloff as a mesmerist. This was years before his appearance in "Frankenstein." He has thick glasses and this hideous grin. He has the power to get people to talk about their worst actions. Everything plays out, but I'm still not sure about the conclusion. It is a very interesting film and it has Lionel Barrymore playing something other than a bent over old curmudgeon.
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