The masterpiece of Mann’s Hollywood period is, of course, Paracelsus (1937), with Charles Laughton. Laughton’s great bulk swims into pools of scalding light out of greater or lesser shoals of darkness like a vast monster of the deep, a great black whale. The movie haunts you like a bad dream. Mann did not try to give you a sense of the past; instead, Paracelsus looks as if it had been made in the Middle Ages – the gargoyle faces, bodies warped with ague, gaunt with famine, a claustrophobic sense of a limited world, of chronic, cramped unfreedom.
from The Merchant of Shadows (1989) by Angela Carter - the above discovered thanks to Feuilleton.