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 »
Fits more properly into the category of gothic melodrama than of horror, but lately it has been distributed as horror (perhaps owing to the presence in the supporting cast of the great horror actor Boris Karloff, and to the film's gothic style). It claims to be from an Edgar Allen Poe story, but this concoction of suspicious wives and somnambulists is really little more than a rip-off of Germany's "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (which was perhaps itself a take-off on the venerable, much-abused Poe). Barrymore serves admirably as the film's central character, though he hasn't really learned good film technique yet, making his performance one in the "high theatrical" mode.
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