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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
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Reviews & Ratings for
Nosferatu More at IMDbPro »Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (original title)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: Connor from Toronto, Canada
29 November 2011

As a very young person relative to this film, I first heard of Nosferatu through Spongebob Squarepants in their funny horror episode. That was years ago. Finally I got around to seeing this classic horror. What can I say about it? It was OK.

As a loose adaptation of Dracula, the film's plot cuts out a lot of the story and adds a little. No Van Helsing or Lucy-alikes, shortened sequences of... everything, but with the additions of Knock, an ending I liked, and a great boat scene.

The music in the version I saw was great, one of the best parts. I believe it was composed by James Bernard, and it was excellent. As said before, the other things I enjoyed were the boat scene, left ambiguous in the 'Dracula' I read, but shown here in the film, with the scariest results in the film. Also, the ending, was a heroic sacrifice, even though it didn't make much sense. Also, Max Schreck's menacing Nosferatu is just iconic.

I didn't find the film the most engaging though, and some unnecessary things were put in. The film is short and cuts out a lot, but leaves in irrelevant things. At 90 years old, the films has aged worse than even other silent films.

It's a classic horror fans should see, or if it's on you should see it just for kicks. Just don't expect to get your socks knocked off like it's 1922. 7.3/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Certainly not Murneau's Best Film, but his most Daring

Author: (IMDBcinephile) from United Kingdom
8 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would give "Nosferatu" a 7. Why? Because out of all the films that predate it, Nosferatu comes of age. But we must respect the fact it pertains to a medieval tradition and some flaws can be found outside when you actually see Max Shreck outside in the sun light. More a nitpick then anything on Murneau's masterwork. What made me like it so much? Well out of all the macabre films that have launched in the genre, this one had more layers and had well executed performances; it was actually shot in the Carpathian mountains, it infused the Monster (Frankenstein's Monster)'s pathos with the Vampire's lust for blood and the film chronicles epidemic more in earnestly then most films (only thwarted by "Vampyr" and Coppola's "Dracula" in terms of serious approach).

Nosferatu uses atmosphere to capture the viewer's reverie for nightmarish figures. Knock is a character who has been driven from sanity to madness as the disseminating epidemic takes its toll. It took Bram Stoker's novel and Murneau explicated how he could translate it with subtlety. The answer was substitute the name (now well seeded in folklore) and create jagged and prismatic architecture to change the story ultimately. It's fair to say the film doesn't really have an all encompassing narrative, though it does encompass narrative POVs. There's a famous key scene when Orlock's shadow engulfs Hutter and it's seen from a Woman dying in her bed. The scene is so lurid and so resonant that it doesn't matter about movies like "Saw", "Halloween" (brilliant notwithstanding) and "Friday the 13th" when the director gives your imagination enough fulcrum.

It was bodacious no doubt even with the notable flaws that we can dismiss. Undoubtedly it's probably the most sterling horror movie ever made. I.e. when Hutter comes to the mountains he's completely lost. His time being lost gives us enough to soak up the gorgeously Stygian and cavernous world, much like how Allan Grey soaks it up 10 years later in Vampyr. It's only abruptly that Orlock interjects and stipulates that Hutter must come here. Not exactly a congenial acquaintance as the ravishing Bela Lugosi, but a shunned ogre-esque creature who besotted company. Then another scene, which looks almost like stop-frame animation, where Orlock moves rigidly to the coffin to make it up and then wields it as if like Jesus carrying the cross. I'm not saying this was intentional symbolism, but the impression is so sacrosanct that it starts to feel cogent.

Like with most silents of greatness, some may not respond to it concordantly. We must remember though that for its time, it had brilliantly archaic element, like "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari", which remain artistic. Although I must admit I have seen many other amazing silents.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Silent classic with the unforgettable rodent face Max Schrenk as the most horrifying of all screen vampires

Author: ma-cortes
16 October 2011

This expressionist German milestone called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie Des Grauens -Nosferatu a Symphony of Horror- turns out to be a hit in the history of world cinema and especially in terror cinema . It deals with newlyweds named Jonathan and Lucy Harker who are saddened when Harker is sent to Transylvania by employer Renfield to arrange for Count Dracula's purchase of a house across the street from the Harkers' house. Harker travels to Transylvania where he stays with the Count , is sucked by the Count, and eventually escapes from the castle. Jonathan returns to Lucy but spends all his time sitting on a chair in the living room. Nosferatu moves into the house across from the Harkers' and goes to Bremen in a ship called Demeter . The rise in deaths is accredited to a plague thought to have arrived with the Demeter. Only a woman can break his frightfull spell , a woman pure in heart who offer her blood freely to Nosferatu and will keep the vampire by his side until the cook crowed . As the vampire meets his doom when Lucy manages to keep him until after cockcrow.

This German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 is a captivating and eerie experience with creepy images , imaginative sets and exciting touches . Max Schreck is perfect as Nosferatu with his rat face, long nails , pointed ears and skeletal frame . The story brilliantly conveys the loneliness , despair sadness of the characters .The landscape is moody and lovely and the sets are gorgeous as well as creepy , especially the phantom castle of The Count , the ship and Bremen town . The slow, somewhat exaggerated reactions of his characters brilliantly echo the performances given by the silent actors . One day, the great Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau was talking with Max Reinhardt. Reinhardt introduced Schreck to Murnau. Murnau saw talent in Schreck and hired him to play Graf (Count) Orlok in the fledgling Prana Film's first production, "Nosferatu; Eine Symphonie Des Grauens" -Nosferatu; A Symphony Of Horror- .The regards to Max Schreck are a mystery, he made a few pictures and we don't know anything about his life. His performance as the bald, bat-eared, close fanged Orlok remains one of the most frightening film characters in history . This brilliantly eerie motion picture is originally and compellingly directed by F.W. Murnau .

This vampire masterpiece is remade in 1979 titled ¨Nosferatu the Vampyre¨ by Werner Herzog with Klaus Kinski ,Bruno Ganz and Isabelle Adjnani in which Count Dracula is the victim , he does not enjoy his immortality and wants only to live, love and die like a human ,this version of Nosferatu, in places almost a frame for frame remake , it results to be an enjoyable homage . Followed by ¨Nosferatu in Venice¨ by Augusto Caminito and Mario Caiano with Christopher Plummer , Donald Pleasence and also with Klaus Kinski . Furthermore ¨Shadow of the Vampire¨ with Willem Defoe and John Malkovich ; it is a film about the making and production of Nosferatu ; it had to deal with a lot of strange things ,some crew members disappeared, some died, this movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

How to get plague off your teeth...

Author: Clark Richards from United States
30 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While it is a creepy film and at times quite brilliant in capturing with shadows and stop motion photography sense of true dread, the main culprit in the undermining of Nosferatu is with it's clunky story telling and comical acting.

I will normally cut a lot of slack for the temperament of silent film theatrics, but considering the place this film holds amongst most, if not all critics, I'm going to have to judge it a little bit harder than the other classic films of its time. Again, kudos for finding and then maintaining such a great look and feel throughout the entire film, but really, I can't go any higher than a seven. There's too many questions concerning the two main characters in their haste to race back from Transylvania. Why won't Hutter take his love away from Nosferatu? He did sell him the house across the street, he had to know this scenario was going to take place.

Also, why leave it as a mystery to the character of Knock? At least with Renfield we understand why he is slave to Dracula. In Nosferatu there's not much to go on plot wise to signify any connection, other than that crazy looking home buyers document. I realized Knock was crazy, but I didn't know he was Transylvanian crazy.

This is a must see film, don't get me wrong. But other than making a note of it and moving on to other films, I can't see why this film get the love it gets from critics.

But, it is really, really creepy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Why did you kill such pretty flowers?!"

Author: Lauh from Portugal
27 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really enjoyed this movie, specially because most of the scenes must have been really hard to make in 1922. However, I liked so much of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" that I was expecting a lot more from this (maybe I actually forgot this was made in German in 1922 and I shouldn't have). However, I did find Nosferatu creepy at times, specially Max Schreck character. He was just perfect for the role. None the less being a masterpiece, I really wished the story was more loyal to "Dracula": in the end everything ends up fine, in the movie Ellen dies. Also, I missed Van Helsing very much: I was always expecting for him to appear. Maybe I shouldn't think so much in the "inspired by Dracula" sentence: after all, it's an 1922 adaptation. For everybody who is wondering if this movie is worth watching: yes, it is. It's extraordinary how Murnau was able to film all this and still make it feel real.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The film that brought one of German cinema's masters to international attention.

Author: G K from Mars
6 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Count Dracula (Max Schreck) goes to Bremen and is destroyed by sunlight. This was the first and last Prana Film; the company declared bankruptcy after Bram Stoker's estate, acting for his widow, Florence Stoker, sued for copyright infringement and won.

Nosferatu is an unauthorised treatment of the Bram Stoker novel, with a terrifying Count and several genuinely chilling moments. Schreck is extraordinary, the film dutifully terrifies - and director F.W. Murnau ended up in the embrace of Hollywood. Werner Herzog's 1979 homage to Nosferatu, Nosferatu the Vampyre starred Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, not Orlok.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A True Original.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
22 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Never having read the novel, I don't know how closely this film follows Bram Stoker's tale, but it certainly sticks fairly closely to the narrative we've come to be familiar with from later movies.

Renfield is a real estate broker in Bremen in 1838 and he sends agent Jonathan Harker to Graf Orlok's castle in Transylvania to close a sale on a dilapidated apartment complex in Bremen. Graf Orlok is Nosferatu, or Dracula. He's played by an actor called Max Schreck, which in German is a joke.

Renfield is under his far-away spell, though Renfield's place in the plot is problematic, at least in this version. I mean, he's an agent of Nosferatu. So what? His thread is a dead end.

At any rate, Harker makes the trip to the Carpathian Alps where he is warned by the peasants at the inn to avoid the Count's castle at night. Ha ha, laughs Harker.

And actually Harker is pretty dumb. Nosferatu meets him at the castle entrance and, alright, this is a fantasy, but no normal human being would get within ten feet of Max Schreck. The creature is grotesque. He has no neck. His ears end in Darwinian points. His incisors look like hypodermic syringes. He wears these skinny trousers on his long legs so that he seems to be walking on stilts. And his fingernails are those of a Chinese mandarin. Not to mention that nose, which alone signals an organism desperately in need of attention from St. Michael the Archangel.

I don't want to go through the entire plot. It differs from the classic Bela Lugosi version in a few ways. There is no business with mirrors, garlic, crucifixes, Mogen Davids, bats, St. Christopher medals, silver bullets, or stakes through the heart. Renfield's part is, as I say, largely irrelevant, and the Count's second victim, the pure Lucy, hardly appears. Neither does Professor Van Helsing.

This isn't the spookiest version of the tale, although it gets all sorts of kudos for originality. The most frightening version is probably the one with Frank Langella as the count. (I get the titles all mixed up.) It's the most nearly believable because we can imagine the smooth, handsome Langella bringing women under his spell. Francis Ford Coppola's rendition is hardly more than an exercise in style. The classic, with Bela Lugosi, has the advantage over "Nosferatu" of being a talkie. It's replete with lines that are unintentionally hilarious. "Da spider spinnink his vep faw da unvary fly." And, "I never drink -- wine." There have been numerous parodies too -- "Love At First Bite."

It was directed by F. W. Murnau and released in 1922, but it wasn't what I expected. Murnau was said to be fond of moving the camera around, sliding it sideways, lifting it. As someone once said of Murnau's directorial style, "They took away his crane and then/ I thought he'd never smile again." But this is shot from eye level. Howard Hawks could have done it. There's little stylization in the sets either, not a touch of expressionism. This is light years from "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari." Yet it's enjoyable enough. It's bad when Nosferatu is sucking the blood of the poor folks in Transylvania and it's even worse after he moves to Bremen and people start dying all over the place. We always want to see Nosferatu finally get it in the neck himself, if he had one. And actually he gets smoked in the end. Harker's wife follows the directions for exterminating vampires and allows Nosferatu to suck her blood until he's trapped by the rising sun, at which point he disappears in a puff of vapor.

Vampires seem to have never died -- at least not in cinematic history. There currently appears to be a fascination with them. Several recent movies have shown them as in conflict over their conditions, reluctant to breed with humans, but still ultimately evil. I've tried to figure this out. They're obviously symbols for some other marginalized group, but which group? Gays? The mentally disordered? Pedophiles? Cigarette smokers? Clearly something that Hollywood isn't ready to handle without spells and mirrors and legerdemain.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Sorry Ange - It's No Masterpiece

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
26 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I once had a friend called Ange who many years ago attended a certain university to take a " visual arts " course which is a euphemism for film studies . As can be expected at graduate level the course featured the usual suspects of Soviet Montage , Italian Neo-Realism , La Nouvelle Vague and German Expressionism . I won't identify the university but from what I heard it seemed like the worst university in England with one tutor being a former smack addict and another seen out on the club dance floors totally wired on cocaine . The standard was so bad that when the final test came someone in authority messed up so badly that the students had to revolt so they'd actually receive their final degrees . After this the visual arts course was taken off the syllabus and hopefully the tutors found a vocation better suited to their talents like sitting outside train stations pleading for any spare change . Still despite this Ange seemed to enjoy the course especially the German Expressionism part , so much so that she bought NOSFERATU on video . However after then seeing this movie - which is free to view online because it's in the public domain - I'd really hate to watch the films Ange didn't like if this is the best the university could show

NOSFERATU has a complicated history . The producers couldn't obtain the rights to Bram Stoker's novel of Dracula so changed the title and character names . How they managed to get away with this I've no idea since a similar analogy would be making a film called LORD OF THE THINGS featuring creatures called " Bobbits " and who have to throw a thing in to an ancient volcano or else the forces of evil called " Dorks " will conquer Middle World . Hmmm I wonder if anyone would notice the difference between this and a certain book ? In fact the version I saw makes no pretense that it's a wholesale copy of Dracula and uses the character names from the original source novel

The problems with the film is that it's never expressionistic or stylised enough . We've all seen clips of it like Max Schreck's Dracula rising from his coffin and his shadow entering the room of Mina but this is atypical from the rest of the film . There's very little surrealism , bizarre set design , nightmare imagery or any anything expressing the sensations the characters may be feeling . In truth it's very conventional with many scenes that are supposedly set in the dead of night being filmed in daylight

It's not a bad film and considering it's silent and feature length I never found myself praying for the end credits which speaks well of its pace and rhythm . That said it's a cinematic legend that no doubt features in all university film courses and led to Hollywood making a film called SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE starring Willem Dafoe as Max Shreck so a mainstream audience should rightly expect more from NOSFERATU . Certainly THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI is much more impressive and memorable and I do wonder if Ange should have wisely spent her money on something else

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: JackBenjamin from NYC
23 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The images in this film are deeply frightening. Modern depictions of the vampire, at the behest of the studios no doubt, are of handsome, charming gentlemen who, even when they shift at night to monster form, retain grace and appeal. Nosferatu is a horror.

I think the best way to approach art is, in Harold Bloom's terms, to read it outward from within. There's a danger in trying to see a work in a social context because you're starting from a false focal point, one you've yourself ordained as critical. That said, I think it's hard to read any film that came out of 1922 Germany outside the context of WWI. One of the most meaningless, mindless, devastating events in human history, and Murnau is very much the Nosferatu who rose from the grave to tell the tale of those undead, survivors in a changed world -- after all, how could life ever have been the same after the war; no, it must assume some new, unspeakable, unnatural and abominable form.

The meek beast notwithstanding, other memorable images for me include that establishing shot of the ship at sea (I don't think I've seen this imitated since, which is surprising); the clever intercutting of Ellen's sleepwalk with the trolling vampire a sea away; the shadow of his clawed hand crawling up her nightgown; the reverse negative of the frantic carriage; the fast-motion current of the nighttime river; the extreme longshot of the townspeople chasing the scarecrow (and Murnau's clever use of the iris to simulate a gargantuan setting sun) -- all images that play with the notion of time and how it manipulates nature and vice versa, which, to me, is the most intriguing aspect of the vampire myth.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

what a horror

Author: ricedanielle from United States
7 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is both horrifying and comical. The make up used on the vampire is amazing. His ears look like they belong on an elf and his skin is extremely pale. His teeth look like they can be real even though they are all pointy and some rotted. The one make-up touch that is most interesting is his fingers. His fingers are abnormally long which makes his hunched over body even more awkward looking. One could think he wouldn't be able to pick anything up with them, yet he carries around his own coffin everywhere he goes. Thats the comical part of the movie (when he carries his coffin) the music that is played as he walks sometimes makes it almost impossible to stay serious.

Some of the most interesting shots are those in which you see nothing but his shadows. When the monster is suppose to be walking up the stairs all you can see is the shadow of his long skeletal body and fingers.

His look itself is just scary to think about. When he is on the ship walking and his body rises up. The first thing that comes to mind is " keep that thing far away from me" With his eyes bulging out of his head and his intense stair it seems as if the vampire is going to walk directly out of the screen. Moments like this occur all throughout the film. Its a good movie for someone to watch if they want to both be slightly frightened yet laugh a few times.

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