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The Indian Tomb

Part 1: The Mission of the Yogi

(silent 1921 b 118')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Thea von Harbou's novel, a rajah in Bengal sends a yogi to bring an English architect to design a tomb for the woman who betrayed him with another Englishman.

In Bengal men uncover a sleeping yogi and carry him into a temple. Three men fail to revive him, but he awakes to see Ayan III (Conrad Veidt) and asks his command. Ayan asks the yogi Ramigani (Bernhard Goetzke) to go to Europe.

Herbert Rowland (Olaf Fonss) tells Irene Amundsen (Mia May) that he admires the Taj Mahal, a tomb. Her father calls her home. Herbert finds in his house Ramigani, who gives him a letter from Ayan asking him to build a tomb for a woman he loved. Ramigani tells Herbert he must leave within an hour without telling his fiancée and can name his price. Ramigani's concentration causes a wheel to fall off Irene's car. Herbert writes a letter to Irene that she may follow, and he leaves with Ramigani. Irene arrives, but an invisible hand takes the letter. The butler tells her the word Ramigani told his driver. She asks an Orientalist who says it means "harbor." The harbor master tells Irene that the yacht Bengal just sailed. They send a wireless message, but Ramigani tears it up. Irene's father forbids her to go to India, but she uses her mother's pearls. Ramigani gives Herbert the yacht and his letter.

MacAllen (Paul Richter), an English officer, has a hunting lodge in Bengal and is warned not to wear Savitri's ring. Ayan has tigers. Irene arrives in Bombay and gets on a plane. Ayan takes Herbert across a lake with crocodiles to his palace. A woman shouts and is pulled away. Ramigani tells Ayan that he foresees disaster. Ayan and Herbert ride on an elephant to a mountain to see where the tomb will be. Ayan tells him that the woman is alive and betrayed him with a white man. Ayan refuses to release Herbert, who promises to help him avoid remorse.

Irene finds Ayan and asks to see Herbert. Princess Savitri (Erna Morena) languishes in her room, but her servant Mirrjha (Lya de Putti) tells her that MacAllen is in danger. Savitri tells Mirrjha to ask Herbert and Irene to help him. Ayan makes Irene his guest. Mirrjha sneaks into Irene's room and says a white man is in danger. Irene asks Ayan if Herbert is in danger, and Ayan says he is fine. Irene learns that Ayan is unhappy.

That night Herbert sees Irene from his window. She discovers penitents torturing themselves. Herbert finds them too, and one tells him he will get leprosy. Irene enters a large door and is with tigers. Ramigani orders Herbert to be silent and hypnotizes Irene, who walks past the tigers and out. Herbert can't open the door.

Herbert wakes up in bed with Ramigani sitting by him. Ayan's men follow MacAllen in the jungle. A servant carries Irene inside. Herbert sends a telegram. Ayan gives Irene the telegram from Herbert. MacAllen shoots at Ayan's men to keep from being captured. Herbert feels ill and takes quinine. Servants limit where Irene can go. She finds carrier pigeons and sends a note to the British consul. Mirrjha asks Herbert to save MacAllen and tells how he loved Savitri. Ayan demanded the ruby ring she gave to MacAllen. Herbert promises Mirrjha he will help. In the battle MacAllen's house catches on fire. He runs out shooting and rides off with the horses. Herbert tells Ramigani he has conditions, but Ramigani says Herbert has leprosy and will die.

This drama shows yogi powers being used by a powerful king, who wants to honor a princess while getting revenge against an English officer, symbolizing the Indian resentment against British colonialism.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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