Nosferatu

1922

Fantasy / Horror

28
IMDb Rating 8 10 80476

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1hr 34 min
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English
NR
18 fps
1hr 34 min
P/S 6 / 66

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jhclues 10 / 10

Max Schreck IS "Nosferatu"

In 1921, director F.W. Murnau set out to make a horror film based on Bram Stoker's novel, `Dracula,' but was denied the rights to the property by Stoker's estate. Undeterred, however, Murnau merely changed the title to `Nosferatu,' the name of the title character to `Count Orlok,' then proceeded to make what has come to be considered nothing less than a classic of the silent film era. An unsettling film (especially for the times in which it was made), it is a faithful adaptation of Stoker's story, and brings images to the screen, the likes of which at the time, had never before been seen. And although by today's standards much of it may seem relatively tame, there is an innate sense of the sinister about it that is timeless. For the same elements that so unnerved audiences in 1922 when it was released, are equally discomfiting now, most of which is courtesy of Max Schreck, who portrayed Count Orlok. It was the first screen appearance for what is now the most famous vampire in history, and the German character actor Schreck brought an eerie presence to the role that has never been equaled. Bela Lugosi may be considered the definitive Dracula-- his portrayal is certainly the most well known-- but even he could not match the sense of evil that Schreck brought to the character. The scene in which Schreck's shadow is cast on the wall as he slowly negotiates a staircase, emphasizing his misshapen head and elongated fingers and nails, is an image that leaves an indelible impression on the memory, as does Schreck's overall appearance: Lanky, though slightly stooped, with oversized, pointed ears and haunted, sunken eyes. It was Schreck's greatest screen role, and had it not been for a lawsuit by Stoker's estate that prevented wide distribution of the film, it would no doubt have made him a star. The supporting cast includes John gottowt, Alexander Granach, Wolfgang Heinz, Max Nemetz, Gustav von Wangenheim, Ruth Landshoff and Greta Schroder. An air of mystery surrounded the set during the filming of `Nosferatu' that became something of a myth, which began with the fact that Schreck, a method actor, was never seen by cast nor crew without his makeup and in character. And it was further perpetuated when it may have been implied by Murnau that Schreck was actually a vampire playing an actor playing a vampire, all of which goes a long way toward proving that `hype' is nothing new to the entertainment industry. One of the three most highly regarded German directors of the times, Murnau, whose philosophy was that `nothing existed beyond the frame,' directed a number of films, but none achieved the lasting notoriety of `Nosferatu.' For film buffs everywhere, as well as aficionados of silent pictures, this film is a must-see, and a perfect companion piece to the recently released (2000) `Shadow of the Vampire,' the film by E. Elias Merhige that chronicles the making of `Nosferatu.' A comparatively short film-- the restored DVD version runs 81 minutes, the video, 63 minutes-- it will nevertheless provide an entertaining and memorable cinematic experience. This is an example of not only the magic, but the magic at the very core of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.

Reviewed by FilmDog-1 10 / 10

A Symphony of Horrors

They don't make films like this faded, haunting masterpiece of silent cinema anymore.

When Dracula was first put on sale for movie rights; the one of the first men to grab it was F.W.Murnau one of the most of the famous German directors of his time. By the time word got back to them about using the rights of the name and storyline of Dracula (Owned by the rights of Florence's widow.) Murnau had alread started production on the film; so to get around it they cut out the name 'Dracula' and replaced it with Count Orlok, Jonathan Harker became Hutter and Ban Helsing became Professor Bulwer; Orlock stalks the gothic streets of Bremen instead of Vistorian London.

What is so different from Nosferatu and many of the others films of the time was that most of the film was shot on actually locations around Eastern Europe; the production hardly used any studio sets. What makes the most haunting feature tho is the sense of realism and the expressionism (most evident in the interiors od Orlok's Castle) that gives the film its hypnotic visual power.

If there is any film a film student would need to have in his/her collection, it's this film. Although it is a hard task to find any surving copies. The reason for this is when the film was released Florence Stoker (widow of the author of Dracula) noticed the comparsion; she pursued the case relentlessly and in July 1925 a German court ordered all prints of the film to be destroyed. Luckily for us several prints of the film survived; a few in which have still been lost over the last few 8 decades.

But thanks to the 2000 release of 'Shadow of a Vampire' a film which looks behind the filming of Nosferatu and starring John Malkovich (F.W.Murnau) and Willem Dafoe (Count Orlok) the film was released for the first time on DVD in it's full original length of 94 minutes.

Sadly soon after the film hit America in 1929; at the age of 43; Murnau was killed in a car crash.

"Men must die. Nosferatu does not die!" proclaimed the original publcity for the film. We can only hope it's the truth for this film.

Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 10 / 10

a truly original Vampire film- a tale of the Gothic legend in Murnau's masterpiece

Nosferatu is a great horror movie (possibly the first ever according to some accounts), and one of the pinnacles of the German silent era of film-making. Made in the silent age by the German expressionist/auteur FW Murnau, the film has the genuine power to act creepy, odd, alluring, mythic, and beautiful by way of images and music that don't leave your mind once the film is over. It's like someone collected a stash of nightmares and pulled them together with the original Bram Stoker story of Dracula. Max Shreck, in his most notorious role (and apparently the only one really anyone's bothered to see) plays the monstrous Count Orlock, a vampire who comes out at night to tempt the living and, of course, to suck blood. Though this story of Dracula has been numerously repeated (even by the Hollywood version in the early 30s), this film is one of the prime examples of how horror SHOULD be done- dispense with cheap thrills or overloading with exposition.

A director like Murnau here, who had total artistic control (abeit the film not in circulation for many years), could transform Orlock's world into one of acute, deliberate angles, long deep shadows, and painting with light like some mad artist from the dark ages. One could almost claim that this, alongside Night of the Living Dead, changed the way audiences looked at horror films, that a style and presence could be wrung from characters that bring out the worst fears and dread in common people. Years from now, long into the digital age, there may still be room for of all things a silent, non-talking effort like Nosferatu, where the terror can still be felt through the black and white (sometimes tinted) photography and stark physical performances by Schrek and the others. In short, a film like this is one of the reasons I love to watch horror movies.

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