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Viewed by Larry Gleeson at San Luis Obispo California State
Polytechnical University's Spanos Theater as part of the 22nd Annual
SLO Film Fest, formally known as San Luis Obispo International Film
The complete 2006 digitally restored version of Nosferatu the surreal German Expressionist classic silent film by renowned director, F.W. Murnau, served as the Opening Night film for the 22nd SLO Film Fest with a new piano soundtrack performed live by German composer and pianist, Markus Horn. Most recently, Horn has performed his musical talents to another silent German film, Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang. Interestingly, Horn created this composition in the Spanos Theater specifically for Nosferatu .
Nosferatu, is similar in a stylistic vein to the classic example of German Expressionism, the 1922 silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with its use of unusual, odd-looking characters, geometric mise-en-scen and its abundant use of light and shadows in its storytelling. A storied production, Nosferatu, an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," was shot in 1921 and released the following year in 1922. It is very similar to "Dracula," retaining its core characters of Jonathan and Nina Harker and the Count while omitting some of the secondary characters.
Interestungly, a court ruling ordered all copies of the film destroyed after Prana Film, a short-lived, silent-era German film studio was unable to get the rights to the novel, was sued Bram Stoker's widow and eventually declared bankrupted in defending itself from copyright infringement. A few copies of the film survived as the studio undauntedly had gone forward with the production changing names and details from the original novel. For example, Count Dracula became Count Orlok, played brilliantly by Max Schreck (Schreck in German translates to terror, fitting for the roles Max Schreck undertook throughout his acting career) and the term vampire became nosferatu. In addition, Count Orlok doesn't create new vampires. Instead he killed his victims with the town folk blaming the deaths on a black plague. And, while Count Dracula was weakened by sunlight, Orlock sleeps by day as any exposure to sunlight would cause his death. In the end, Count Orlok meets his demise in drinking the blood of a young maiden, Mina, who sacrifices herself by allowing Orlok's copulation while enticing him to do so into the day's sunrise culminating in Orlok's death.
Director Murnau prided himself on utilizing various angles in his productions and Nosferatu's cinematographer, Fritz Arno Wagner, delivers. Several shots capture the eye including a film ending low angle shot of a castle in ruin representing the demise of Count Orlok. In addition, several shots on board the ship of stacked wooden coffins and the frenzied scrambling of ship rats as a coffin is opened and its contents spilled become etched in memory.
All this withstanding, the evening belonged to Markus Horn, as he mesmerized the audience with a soundtrack that brilliantly matched the photographic score in creating a dream like atmosphere for the minimalized intertitled narrative. Horn's intense symbiosis of film and music culminated in a rousing, standing ovation by an enraptured audience at the film's end.
This version of Nosferatu with the Markus Horn accompaniment and a run-time of 94 minutes left the audience wanting more. Much more. An exceptional opening film. Highly, highly recommended.
The original vampire movie. In fact, vampire movies don't come more
original than this, as it was probably the first. Great adaptation of
Bram Stoker's Dracula. Revolutionary for its time, the plot and
direction still stand up today. The atmosphere, in particular the sense
of dread, that Murnau creates is palpable, and he uses every trick of
light and shade at his disposal in doing so.
Being a silent movie, the performances are very theatrical. Max Schrek is brilliant as Nosferatu, contributing significantly to the eerie atmosphere.
Not perfect - the pacing is a bit uneven, and the plot sometimes feels contrived.
Still, an absolute classic.
I'm just going to start by saying, this is a scarier movie than the 1931 Dracula. I think Dracula is a better movie but in terms of fear, Nosferatu just edges out. Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula is excellent, but he played Dracula like a charming nobleman. Lugosi was even wearing a tuxedo. But Max Schreck as Count Orlok was much scarier. He was taller than Lugosi, he was bald, he had those ugly hands, and was just downright terrifying and ugly. Lugosi never really bothered me, but Schreck actually gave me the creeps and made me cringe. Orlok is even an uglier name than Dracula. The German cinematography is also creepy and it really works. It's a perfect Halloween movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I did not watch "Nosferatu" by choice. One of the modules I picked for
my first term this year in college is European Cinema, which started
off with German Expressionism. "Nosferatu" was one of the films we had
to watch, and it is, at least to me, one of the better ones.
Directed by F.W. Murnau, one of the most highly acclaimed Expressionist directors, "Nosferatu" is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula." Stoker's widow was unimpressed with this, and asked for all copies of "Nosferatu" to be destroyed. Most were, but one survived, which is the print that people around the world have seen since 1922.
Set in a small German town, a cheerful young real estate agent named Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is summoned by his shady employer, Knock (Alexander Granach), to Transylvania. He is to sell a house to the reclusive man known as Count Orloc (Max Schrek). Hutter obliges, leaving his beloved wife, Helen (Greta Schröder), pining for him at home. Hutter heads to Romania, where he is warned by locals and books of the occult that where he is heading is not safe. Not even when the carriage that is transporting him refuses to go any further sways his stubborn mind. Alas, it is only when he meets the strange Orloc that Hutter realizes things are not all well in the mountains of Transylvania. He cuts himself when eating a late dinner with his host, to which Orloc reacts with erotic flourish, "your blood... your precious blood!" Odd happenings occur at Orloc's castle, such as doors opening for the Count without him moving his hands, Hutter falling unconscious in a chair only to wake up with a peculiar mark on his neck. Most bizarre of all, is when Orloc proceeds to attack his guest on his first night, only for Helen to somehow know something is afoot, calling out her husband's name in a frenzy, distracting the vampire...
Hutter eventually discovers that his host sleeps in a coffin, and after seeing him journey away to his new home, across the road from him and his wife, Hutter escapes and tries to make his way back home. Orloc manages to kill an entire ship, leading the people of his new town to believe that they are in the midst of a plague epidemic. This is not helped when Knock, Hutter's boss, goes mad, and starts killing small animals for their blood.
Despite illness and overwhelming fear, Hutter gets home to his wife, telling her to not research into the events that are occurring. Alas, Helen finds out that the only thing that will stop the henous Orloc is if a good hearted woman gives her blood to him before the cock's first crow...
As a horror film, "Nosferatu" is more chilling than scary. It showcases many human fears, both from the time period and today. There is an underlying sexual tone, perhaps due to Murnau's sexuality (he was openly gay), where the unusually flamboyant man is seduced against his will by a creature of undetermined gender. There is Helen; is she deprived of sex from her husband (which from the amount of kissing they do seems unlikely), or does she see her husband is conflicted and offers herself to Orloc for his freedom? There is the fear of the unknown, of being possessed. Losing control of oneself, of what can not be seen or unseen. Of sickness and death. Of love and war. "Nosferatu" may not be a scary film, but, in the words of Roger Ebert, it haunts us.
This is the granddaddy of every horror movie and one of the best.
Seriously, it's still scary, well-made and enjoyable. Max Schreck plays
one of the greatest villains ever. No emotions, no motivations, no
introspection, just a freaky living corpse sucking your blood.
The flaws are little and rare, the only bad thing is overacting. But this was great and probably really scary for the '20s.
F.W. Murnau is a true cinema master and probably Nosferatu is his masterpiece. And - my opinion - probably the movie with the bast vampire teeth ever.
Aniway, this movie actually introduced the fact that vampires burn exposed at sunlight. And i have to say Orlok is better than Lugosi's Dracula.
I recommend you the colorized 1995 and 2005 versions.
I always like to plug this film in more than any other in the vampire
genre. The atmosphere just draws me in with the shades of black and
white acting as the color scheme, allowing me to focus on the film and
not be distracted by random colors. The vampire's design is so
haunting, the silence of the piece helps with the vampire's mystique,
leaving only his movements to provide the chills.
A few negatives I have with this film is firstly, the music. My copy of the film uses an organ to provide the sound. It is bit repetitive but it does the job for me. Others I have watched have used totally unfitting or just annoying scores. The characters get really no development in my opinion, and I just don't care about them. It could be a fault of the medium at the time or I'm just missing it.
The film is definitely a must watch, especially with the right score.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The version of this movie I had was a little bit hard to see but I won't hold that against the movie because this is when movies were beginning to develop. There was text slides you had to read because the technology wasn't there to capture voices. The scariest scene of the whole movie I think is when it shows his shadow walking down the hallway to the bedroom. I liked how he didn't turn into a bat like most vampires do because that to me seems to be taken too literal of calling them vampires. I also liked how creepy he looked through the whole film! Even though there wasn't any sound except for music it was still kind of creepy. Overall It was pretty good and I liked it so I give it an 8 out of 10.
Nosferatu is a 1922 German film directed by F.W. Murnau, written by
Henrik Galeen, and starring Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, and
Liked it, didn't love it. There are so many times during horror films when I think of a smarter plan of action than the characters did, and this movie was just the same. I totally understand that it is a classic, and it definitely deserves to be. It's important to note the time this movie came from while critiquing it. Things in the film that may seem amateur now were ground-breaking back then. The film unfolded in a somewhat confusing manner. Something I've noticed about watching these earlier films is that the pacing is strange. It will be moving incredibly slow and/or including scenes that weren't really necessary, and then things that should take a long time happen in a snap with no explanation. I know that's vague but when watching, be prepared for seemingly random behavior stemming from somewhat ambiguous motives. I thought I was having difficulty suspending disbelief, but you can only blame it on that so many times before you have to accept that the film just isn't filling in all the blanks. It was successful in creeping me out, that's for sure. Interesting enough but I did find myself ready for it to be over a while before it actually was. It has awesome special effects for 1922. There were interesting, creative angles. It is a classic for a reason, definitely, and I'll recommend it, I guess.
Bechdel test: 0/1 Did not pass. Only one female character and her sole reason for existence was to worry about her husband and be in utter despair.
Did I enjoy it? Yes. 1/1
Do I ever want to see it again? I would watch it again, yes.
Do I ever want to include it in my own collection? It's already included but I don't think I would intend to buy it if it wasn't.
7/10 Bye love you -Jessie Carlson
This movie is only equal to Dracula 1931.
It is the shadow aspect of the Vampires.The Jekyll of Jekyll and Hyde.
The hidden horror that lurks within all Vampires.
One might choose to become like Bella Lugosi or Nosferatu or perhaps something else.
It is up to you to make that choice.
We have the freedom to choose what we want to be and accept as part of us and that can be anything at all.
The world is filled with all kinds of creatures with diverse personalities and biologies even when appearing to be the same speceis.
No one knows it all even if you belong to all of this.
Nosferatu 1922 is the dark side of you.Not just the Vampires.
The extreme that lies on the far end of the road if we choose to take it.
A cursed life which is doomed from the start.
Any critic would elect this movie the masterpiece of expressionist cinema. Beyond the definitions, any viewer can not help but consider it a series of pictures at an exhibition, harbingers of horrific suggestions beyond the capabilities of Friederich and Munch. Max Schreck will probably be remembered as the Nosferatu closer to the figure of the vampire that has ever appeared on the screens, so as to suggest (to some) that Murnau had a real vampire playing the role. It seems then that Schreck was his real last name, curious twist of fate, since it means "Terror" in German! Although the names of the characters from the novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker were all changed, the director was sued by Stoker's heirs and lost the lawsuit. Returning to the movie, even if seen in a cut version (missing half an hour) it is a timeless masterpiece, and I think that instead of staying here to hear me talk about it you should go and see it!
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