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William A. Wellman
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 »
If you love Lionel Barrymore like I do you will enjoy this one!
I had no idea there were so many silent adaptions of this film. This is the only one I've seen.
Whatever else is lacking in this 1926 film it is certainly not the sheer talent! Lionel is a master as always here! He goes through a wide range of facial expressions and nuances that fit the mood without overdoing it.
From charming and the favorite of his tavern patrons to a guilt ridden murderer and descends quickly. He is heavy in debt and decides to murder a passing wealthy visitor and covers it up. I love the snowy remote village setting here as well! Really sets the mood. There is a copy of this on YouTube and I like the accompanying music there.
Boris Karloff very early in his career as a creepy mesmerist who suggest he can get him to confess. But it is Barrymore's character's conscience that will do him in. It could of had a better ending but this movie was intriguing and held my interest.
Another aspect I really enjoy is this film is that it has a real stage feel about it. It was adapted from a play (but Lionel wasn't in it). By watching this you get a feel of what it may of been like to see this wonderful thespian in his stage days. It must of been amazing!
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