Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Haunted Castle Schloß Vogeloed 1921

Directed by F.W. Murnau

Produced by Erich Pommer

Screenplay by Carl Mayer

From the book by Rudolf Stratz

Photographed by László Schäffer and Fritz Arno Wagner

Starring Arnold Korff, Lulu Kyser-Korff, Lothar Mehnert, Paul Bildt, Olga Tschechowa, Paul Hartmann, Hermann Vallentin, Julius Falkenstein, Georg Zawatzky, Robert Leffler, Victor Bluetner, Walter Kurt Kuhle and Loni Nest

Released 7th April 1921 (Germany)

Prior to plumbing the depths of revulsion and desperation with such movies as Faust and The Last Laugh, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau tried out the waters with this dark play of a storm-bound manor house and the grisly secret that lingers inside. A hunting party is disturbed by the arrival of a infamous Count (Lothar Mehnert), who's thought to have killed his brother. The unwanted invitee launches a complicated plan to revive the spectres of past times and bring to light the gloomy enigma that dwells at the middle of his brother’s demise.

The fateful ambiance and psychological complexity urged Murnau to dig deeper into the horror genre, which he did the next year, with the godly vampire story Nosferatu made in 1922.

German Silent Films

German Silent Films

After World War 1, the German silent film industry flourished, which was aided by rampant inflation throughout the 1920’s.

After the horrors of the war, the German silent film industry tended to be aimed at horror and crime films. This culminated in the German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which was made in 1919. This film is credited as the beginning of expressionism within German film. There was no location shooting, but relied on sets that were painted to represent the mental state of a madman.

Other landmark films from this period in German silent film are Nosferatu 1922 and The Golem 1920.

Films from this period concentrated on imagery and symbolism to tell the narrative. The expressionist movement within German silent cinema ended during the mid 1920’s.