The Haunted Castle (1921, FW Murnau)

A silly-ass mystery film with little of the grand style of Murnau’s later films. Also: the castle isn’t haunted, and it’s not a scary movie, and Kino knew that when they gave it that goth-expressionist cover art. All was forgiven when Julius Falkenstein of The Oyster Princess showed up, got scared and had a Nosferatu-prefiguring dream sequence.

D. Cairns already gave a terrific write-up of this movie last month, so there’s little I can add, except that the story revolves partly around a fake beard that I spotted the moment I saw it (then a close-up revealing the character’s “bald” head to be a cap confirmed that even in the film’s reality, this is a fake beard).

Plot concerns a count named Oetsch who comes uninvited to a hunting party at the Vogeloed castle, sits stewing in the corner while everyone gossips about how he murdered his brother the baron a couple years’ back. The brother’s widow, now remarried, is an invited guest, mostly stays in her room avoiding the count. Meanwhile a priest (the count with the fake beard) wanders about then disappears. Somehow this all makes the baroness’s new husband admit his guilt in the ex-husband-slaying, letting the count off the hook.