Schrecken: The Terror (Liplow, 1920)

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Schrecken (The Terror)

aka Der Januskopf (The Head of Janus)

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When Conrad Veidt, as the kindly Dr. Warren, buys a figure of the two-face Roman god Janus, he finds himself changing into the evil Mr. O’Connor. After prostituting his own fiancee and killing a young girl, the doctor’s degenerate alter ego escapes arrest by taking poison. Bela Lugosi portrayed Dr. Warren’s butler.

This was the first of two Murnau films which fell foul of the courts for infringing copyright. While his Nosferatu (1922) eluded the best efforts of Bram Stoker’s widow to have it consigned to oblivion, no prints of Schrecken, a poorly disguised adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, appear to have survived a courtorder to confiscate and destroy all prints. Subtitled Eine Tagodie am Rande der Wirlichkeit (A tragedy on the Border of Reality), the film was also known as Loves’s Mockery and Dr. Warren and Mr. O’Connor.

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Production company: Liplow

Director: F.W. Murnau

Cinematographer: Karl Freund

Cast:

Conrad Veidt: Dr. Warren/Mr. O’Connor

Margarete Schlegel

Magnus Stifter

Willi Kaiser-Heyl

Béla Lugosi – The Butler 

Margarete Kupfer

 

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Schrecken 2

Conrad Veidt

Schrecken 1

Conrad Veidt (centre) as the evil Mr. O’Connor, Margarete Schlegel (centre) and Bela Lugosi (left)

Conrad Veidt (right) as Dr. Warren, Margarete Schlegel (centre) and Bela Lugosi (left)

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