Originally titled Das Geheimnis des Abbe X, Behind the Altar was the second directorial effort by Wilhelm (later William) Dieterle. Based on Dieterle's own screenplay, the film is a murder mystery with a church background, stronger on atmosphere than plot. The director himself essays the leading role, with Marcella Albani leading support as the romantic interest. American critics found Behind the Altar confusing and amateurish, with one reviewer suggesting that a home-movie enthusiast could have done better. Perhaps this was due to the substandard prints which were distributed in the U.S.; most German audiences responded to Dieterle's heady blend of murder, romance and suspense.
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