A small village is renowned for its "Ruby Glass" glass blowing works. When the foreman of the works dies suddenly without revealing the secret of the Ruby Glass, the town slides into a deep depression, and the owner of the glassworks becomes obssessed with the lost secret.
Not for the first or last time in Herzogs career opening with a mood-setting mist-scape, the moustachioed Teutonic visionary went off the deep end here.
The early 19th century Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich would seem the big influence in a movie kindly described as, yes, painterly. It looks lovely, very slowly, and the torpor is enhanced by the fact that Herzog actually hypnotised many of the actors as they grimly unfold a mystifying drama of a 19th century glassworks looking to recreate the lost formula of their leading product.
Like Hammers Plague Of The Zombies (except the zombies won), final visions of the apocalypse at least wake us up.