Paul Leni was the first of the great German expressionist directors to split to Hollywood, and this adaptation of John Willard's stage thriller was his American debut. It's the definitive 'haunted house' movie, with the cast gathered for the midnight reading of a bizarre will in a mansion where a maniac is on the loose. Since the plot creaks as much as all the secret passageways, Leni wisely plays it mainly for laughs, but his prowling, Murnau-like camera-work generates a frisson or two on the way. It is, in fact, hugely entertaining, and Laura LaPlante makes a charming victim.
Cast and crew
Robert F Hill, Alfred Cohn
Laura LaPlante Creighton Hale Lucien Littlefield Flora Finch Arthur Edmund Carewe Tully Marshall