The Hope Diamond Mystery

The Hope Diamond Mystery is a 1921 American action film serial directed by Stuart Paton and featuring Boris Karloff.[1] The film survives with a copy at the Library of Congress.[1]

The Hope Diamond Mystery
Film poster
Directed byStuart Paton
Written byJohn B. Clymer
Charles W. Goddard
May Yohé
StarringGrace Darmond
Boris Karloff
Distributed byKosmik Film Co.
Release date
  • February 19, 1921 (1921-02-19)
Running time
15 episodes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles


Loosely based on Lady Francis Hope's book The Mystery of the Hope Diamond, the story is told in two eras—in 16th century Burma, Tavanier, a French adventurer, steals the diamond from its place on an idol in the Temple of Sita, and the High Priest of the temple (Boris Karloff) swears vengeance and puts a curse upon the jewel. In 20th century London, a high-class crook with hypnotic powers called Sidney Atherton masquerades as an Asian crime-lord to try to steal it. He tries to mind-control Mary Hilton, secretary to rich collector Marcon, in order to accomplish his goal, and John Gregge, a criminologist, and Dakar, the apparent reincarnation of the High Priest, try to stop him and return the jewel to its proper owner. After several ambushes by Nang Fu's gang at Marcon's home and elsewhere, Gregge, Mary, and Dakar are taken prisoner on a ship by Atherton, but escape and the plot is resolved as the cast members meet in final conflict on a rocky beach.




This serial was shot on the Universal Pictures lot and a custom set, the "Temple of Sita," which reportedly cost $100,000 to build, and was Boris Karloff's first major film role. A blue color tint was used on title cards in the serial with an illustration of the diamond in the background, and legend has it that additional special color effects may have been incorporated into other scenes showing the diamond as well, and evidence of such remains in the existing print of the film Color effects have been retained in the 2014 restoration of the serial by Eric Stedman of the Serial Squadron. The color effects of this film are so unique and ahead of their time that no other film had tried to imitate them. Not until 2 strip Technicolor could similar visuals be attained. When watching the film, there are multi-colored tints in a single scene, reminiscent of the old hand painted color shorts of Georges Méliès. The last 6 chapters almost exclusively feature them. May Yohe appears as herself in episode opening and closings.

See also


  1. "Progressive Silent Film List: The Hope Diamond Mystery". Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  2. THE HOPE DIAMOND MYSTERY original film
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