A nobleman, living in the Vogelod Castle, invites a group of guests for a hunting party. Among the guests is the Baroness Safferstatt whose husband died three years ago in a mysterious incident. As clouds overcast the castle, the Baroness, her new husband, her brother and other guests are faced with the truth of the death of the Baron. Set in a creepy yet fascinating old castle, the story unfolds scenes of jealousy, hypocracy, ominous dreams and murder. Therefore, this work of 1921 is often said to be Murnau’s prologue to his masterpiece Nosferatu. The direction visualizes anxiety and the suppressed psychology of the characters and the delicate camera work supremely exhibits the mysterious tone of the film, capturing the special charm of Murnau films. Manuel Gottsching’s dreamy and peculiar musical touch is in concord with the films’ tone and is in itself a masterpiece in contemporary music.
Truly a master of light and shadows, F. W. Murnau (1888-1931) created a total of 21 films in his short life, and of these, 12 survive to this day including the first classics of the horror film, < Nosferatu> (1922); his last film was < Tabu> (1931). He established German expressionism as the most significant movement of the silent film era, and crafted a body of work which penetrates deeply into the psychic world of his characters and constructs a remarkably distinct cinematic universe.