Several employees on a nobleman's estate show up at a former abbey, reputed to be haunted, to search for a hidden treasure. Howver, a mysterious hooded figure begins killing off those who may have figured out where the treasure is hidden.
Franz Josef Gottlieb
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(1960) Karin Dor, Joachim Fuchsberger, Elizabeth Flickenschildt. A creepy German-made Wallace thriller about the ghost of a hanged man who returns to fulfill his promise. All of his accusers must die! 16mm.
The Premiere Cut of the film featured a different, more extensive ending which was cut out in the theatrical version. This Original Ending was unseen until the 2004 DVD Release by Universum Film. See more »
West German cinema discovered Edgar Wallace's novels in 1959. The films became sensationally popular and during the next twelve or so years some forty + films were brought to the screen, a number which makes other film serials such as James Bond grow pale with envy. In addition to that, another team began screening the novels of Wallace junior almost immediately. The results are often mixed, but especially the earliest "original" Wallace films are superbly atmospheric crime thrillers.
Both these serials are now released on DVD in Germany. Most of these de luxe editions (4 DVD sets) have only German soundtrack and subtitles, but this film has both optional English soundtrack and subtitles, so obviously it was deemed to be one of the best entries.
The Weird Countess can easily stand in line with the best film noir masterpieces. It builds a nightmarish mood up to the point when the viewer is sickened by not knowing what exactly is going on. It's structurally very well crafted and employs some very good actors - such as the legends of German cinema Marianne Hoppe and Lil Dagover, breathtakingly beautiful at 74. There's also the very young Klaus Kinski, giving a performance you wouldn't want to miss.
It might be somewhat weird to look at Germans acting to be English, but once you get accustomed, this is a highly enjoyable, spooky thriller. The story is quite complicated, so you may find yourself reflecting upon it when it ends quite suddenly, but don't worry, it all adds up.
WARNING: The less you know about these films in advance, the better. There's a short summary on the cover, which already says too much, and I feel very lucky I didn't read it before I began watching the film. Avoid any kind of compendiums.
If you yearn for more supernatural German 1960s sci-fi serial, you might want to check out Dr Mabuse films, also great fun.
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