Vogelöd Castle (1921)

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Original title Vogelöd Castle
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1921
length 73 minutes
Director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
script Carl Mayer based on the novel of the same name by Rudolf Stratz
production Erich Pommer
camera Fritz Arno Wagner
László Schäffer

Vogelöd Castle is a German horror film by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau from 1921. It was based on the crime novel of the same name by Rudolf Stratz .


A group of men meets for a multi-day hunt at Vogelöd Castle, where Herr von Vogelschrey is the host, but pouring rain spoils the fun and the guests pass their time inside the castle. The uninvited Count Johann Oetsch also appears. He is avoided by the other participants in the hunt, as he is reputed to have shot his brother Peter a few years ago. This rumor is fed by a former district judge.

The brother's widow, the remarried Baroness Safferstätt, is also expected - which makes the situation uncomfortable for the host. Count Oetsch ignored this and stayed. The baroness is appalled at her arrival and determined to leave. She is held back by the news of the arrival of Father Faramund, who is related to her former husband; she wants to make confession with him.

In the following days, Oetsch and the baroness - as well as the baron - accuse each other of murdering the count's brother. At the same time, in flashbacks, the baroness confesses in stages that their marriage was anything but harmonious. Her husband was more and more interested in spiritual things than in her, so that in the presence of Baron Safferstätt, a friend of her husband, she wished for something "bad" - which, in turn, misunderstood and shot her husband. The common guilt finally allowed her and the baron to marry without feeling anything other than emptiness for one another.

The father takes off his fake beard and wig and reveals himself to be Count Oetsch, who can now prove his innocence. Baron Safferstätt shoots himself. The real Father Faramund finally reaches the castle.


The buildings in the film come from Hermann Warm , including the tableau of the exterior view of the castle and its surroundings, shown several times in the film. The story on which the script is based was first published in the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung .

One of the most memorable scenes is that of an empty room with the baroness and the baron Safferstätt, one on the left and one on the right, which is supposed to symbolically represent the state of mind of the couple.

The premiere of Castle Vogelod was on April 7, 1921. In 2002, the manufactured Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation a reconstruction of the film from an original negative of the film archives of the Federal Archives in Berlin and a viragierten Nitro copy with Portuguese intertitles the Fundacao Cinemateca Brasileira at .


On October 30, 2003 and November 1, 2003, music inspired by the film, composed by Manuel Göttsching , was performed live for the film in Braunschweig. The music was released in 2005 on the CD "Concert for Murnau".


  • Rudolph Stratz : Vogelöd Castle. The story of a secret. Illustrated edition with eight plates (93. – 103. thousand.), Vossische Buchhandlung, Berlin 1927 (1926 edition), 328 pp.
  • Rudolph Stratz: Vogelöd Castle. The story of a secret. tredition, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 3-842-41886-8 .

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