Wisbourg, Germany based estate agent Knock dispatches his associate, Hutter, to Count Orlok's castle in Transylvania as the Count wants to purchase a isolated house in Wisbourg. They plan on selling him the one across the way from Hutter's own home. Hutter leaves his innocent wife, Ellen, with some friends while he is away. Hutter's trek is an unusual one, with many locals not wanting to take him near the castle where strange events have been occurring. Once at the castle, Hutter does manage to sell the Count the house, but he also notices and feels unusual occurrences, primarily feeling like there is a dark shadow hanging over him, even in the daytime when the Count is unusually asleep. Hutter eventually sees the Count's sleeping chamber in a crypt, and based on a book he has recently read, believes the Count is really a vampire or Nosferatu. While Hutter is trapped in the castle, the Count, hiding in a shipment of coffins, makes his way to Wisbourg, causing death along his way, ... Written by
A Distinctive & Memorable Version of the 'Dracula' Legend
F.W. Murnau's version of the 'Dracula' legend still remains as distinctive and memorable as ever. The enjoyable Bela Lugosi version is perhaps easier to watch, and strictly as light entertainment it might work better, and many later versions brought their own interpretations - but nothing matches "Nosferatu" for its engrossingly morbid atmosphere and its unusual interpretation of the main character.
Max Schreck and Murnau were able to create an image of the vampire that remains in your mind long after seeing it. Regardless of whether it or some other conception is closest to the 'true' Dracula (if such a thing even exists), it is quite effective, and it was particularly well-conceived for a silent screen version that cannot rely on dialogue to define a character. The settings and the story perfectly complement Schreck's weird character, creating an atmosphere full of constant strangeness, uncertainty, and foreboding.
It's unnecessary (and probably impossible) to make detailed comparisons among all the film versions of the Dracula character and legend. "Nosferatu" stands perfectly well on its own, as a unique and skillfully done adaptation of the story, and as one of the memorable classics of the silent era.
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