|The Haunted Castle |
|Directed by||F. W. Murnau|
|Produced by||Erich Pommer|
|Written by||Carl Mayer|
Rudolph Stratz (novel)
Paul H. Bildt
Fritz Arno Wagner
The Haunted Castle (1921), also known as Schloß Vogelöd: Die Enthullung eines Geheimnisses and Castle Vogeloed, is a silent chamber-drama directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. The film is a moody psychodrama, "blending multiple flashbacks and dream sequences with a gloomy atmosphere.... It is one of the earliest surviving works of (F. W. Murnau)."
A company of men meet for a hunt lasting several days at Castle Vogelöd, being hosted by Lord von Vogelschrey, but a sweeping rain brings the pleasure to nought and they spend their time in the inward parts of the castle. Even the not invited Count Johann Oetsch appears. He gets eschewed by other partakers of the hunt since he is reputed to have shot his own brother, Peter, a few years ago. This rumour gets nourished by a retired Judge of the District Court.
The widow of the brother, the remarried Baroness Safferstätt, is also expected – which makes the situation unpleasant for the host. Count Oetsch neglects this matter and remains. The Baroness is affrighted by their coming and determined to depart again. The report of the coming of Father Faramund, allied with her former husband, is kept back by her; she will make confession unto him.
In the following days, Oetsch and the Baroness – and the Baron – accuse one another of the murder of the brother of the Count. At the same time, in flashbacks, follows a confession in stages of the Baroness, that her marriage was anything but harmonious. Her husband became more and more interested in spiritual things than in her, so that she, in the presence of Baron Safferstätt, a friend of her husband, had wished for something "evil" – which in turn had falsely interpreted it and thereafter shot her husband. This common trespass had finally let her and the Baron be married, without something else to feel for each other than emptiness.
The Father takes his false beard and his wig off, revealing himself as Count Oetsch who now can justify his innocence. Baron Safferstätt shoots himself. The true Father Faramund comes to the castle.
- Arnold Korff – Lord von Vogelschrey, Schloßherr of Vogelöd
- Lulu Kyser-Korff – Centa von Vogelschrey, his wife
- Lothar Mehnert – Count Johann Oetsch
- Paul Hartmann – Count Peter Oetsch
- Paul Bildt – Baron Safferstätt
- Olga Tschechowa – Baroness Safferstätt
- Victor Blütner – Father Faramund
- Hermann Vallentin – Judge of the District Court, retired
- Julius Falkenstein – Anxious gentleman
- Robert Leffler – Master of the household
- Walter Kurt-Kuhle – Servant