Rich old Cyrus West’s relatives are waiting for him to die so they can inherit. But he stipulates that his will be read 20 years after his death. On the appointed day his expectant heirs arrive at his brooding mansion. The will is read and it turns out that Annabelle West, the only heir with his name left, inherits, if she is deemed sane. If she isn’t, the money and some diamonds go to someone else, whose name is in a sealed envelope. Before he can reveal the identity of her successor to Annabelle, Mr. Crosby, the lawyer, disappears. The first in a series of mysterious events, some of which point to Annabelle in fact being unstable. –IMDb
Paul Leni was born in 1885 in Stuttgart and died in 1929 in Hollywood. After training as a draftsman at an ornamental ironworks, he studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, followed by work designing film posters and stage sets. He worked in film from 1913 onwards, making his debut as a director with “Das Tagebuch des Dr. Hart” in 1916. After the First World War, he designed the sets for Leopold Jessner’s melodrama “Backstairs” (1921). In 1924, he directed the episodic film “Waxworks” (“Das Wachsfigurenkabinett”). In the years that followed, he worked primarily as a set designer for various producers.
From 1926 onwards, he arranged several stage shows in New York, and designed numerous crime thrillers for the Hollywood producer Carl Laemmle, causing a sensation with his ingenious lighting and visual effects. His other films include: “Dornroeschen” (1917), “Die platonische Ehe” (1918), “Prince Cuckoo” (“Prinz Kuckuck”, 1919), “The Genoa Conspiracy” (“Die Verschwoerung zu Genua”… read more