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There are many things that place this film in your "see before you die"
category. It's a priceless, fantastic piece of work, from start to
finish, and it has beautiful staying power, even now. But there are a
few things that work against it. The music to the film lends neither
good, nor bad to it. Understandably, this is very early film, and
perception of people watching the film in the twenties was probably
vastly different, but seeing as this could be considered one of the
earliest horror movies, the music from this film could very much have
been better used in a silent drama, or comedy.
On that note, Max Schreck is perfect. Much has been said about his ability to capture the character so perfectly (as in Shadow of the Vampire), and it's true. Though it's in no way comparable to Bela Lugosi as a character, this movie is still a very important piece in cinema, and I'm honored to be able to say that I've had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a brilliant work of early cinema.
In the opening scenes, "Nosferatu" establishes itself through a series of
ominous images: an obscured sunset, a silenced crowd at a Carpathian inn,
and two of the most dreadfully frightening characters I've ever witnessed in
a film. Max Schreck and Alexander Granach play Count Orlock and Mackler
Knock respectively, and both deliver performances that, even though they are
silent, evoke as much fear and mystery as Hannibal Lecter.
What is so impressive about this film is that it is able to inspire fear without modern horror film conventions. No objects suddenly revealing themselves alongside a bold musical note, no horror villain stereotypes. This movie inspires fear through the manipulation of its characters; their movements, their costume and in the case of Count Orlock, their slow, foreboding walk. The most frightening point in this film is when the wide eyes of Max Schreck are first seen. This is not the kind of horror that warrants a scream, but rather leaves you completely silent and in awe of its genius
I gave this movie a 9 almost exclusively because of its innovation and artistry. The plot, which bares little resemblance to the Stoker novel in that it doesn't include many of the sub-stories, is not as enthralling as recent versions. Then again it doesn't need it, the purpose is clear and apparent; Nosferatu is not suave or manipulating, it is a torn, haunted soul and this movie gives the only sincere depiction of Dracula that I have seen. Truly remarkable.
Atmospheric and expressionistic horror classic that was part of a fruitful period in German art especially the cinema. During the 1920s German cinema flousished with films that gave us images ranging from bizarre to breathtaking. The Greatest horror film of the Silent period because there isn't any other film of its genre that is amazing in visual storytelling. Excellent direction by a pioneer of German Cinema, F.W. Murnau. He was one of the best directors from his country besides Fritz Lang and a couple other German filmmakers. Nosferatu(1922) is Dracula in everything but namesake. Max Schreck is menacing as the mysterious and sad figure Count Dracula. Remade into a very good picture by Werner Herzog with a faithful homage to Max Schreck by Klaus Kinski. The greatest adaptation of the Dracula story ever put on the motion picture screen.
With well over a hundred reviews on IMDB and Amazon, and with only a few disappointed viewers, this seminal work by Murnau is proven yet again to be a masterpiece of horror, as enjoyable today as when it was first released. The print I saw on TCM is the newly restored, tinted and complete version (84 minutes compared to the 63 of most earlier video releases) and it is like night and day compared to the earlier available materials. This is the sharpest print I have seen and the tinting is excellent (yellow, brown, red, lavender and blue take us from full sun to interiors, to sunsets, to twilight to night). The adaptation is masterly and the "gimmicks" used to great effect. Was it a joke or deliberate that a mirror is placed leaning on the wall behind the creature as it feeds on Ellen with Orlock clearly reflected in it - we first see her husband as the film opens also preening in front of a mirror. Is this a Freudian Jekyll and Hyde story as well as a vampire film? Very highly recommended for all who love film and masterful direction.
In my opinion, this is the best vampire movie made, ever. But beyond that, it is an incredibly powerful visual film as well. Max Shreck looks simply fantastic in the makeup that SHOULD have defined the role that would be inherited by Bela Lugosi. The only vampire movie that stands up to this one is "Vampyr".
The legendary vampire film, over three quarters of a century old and
still worth watching. Say that about yourself when seventy-seven you
are, as Yoda would put it. It's also hosted by David Carradine, he
provides a short opening piece which seems blue screened for some
For those of you who were raised by wolves and haven't seen this film before, the plot follows. Knock receives a letter from Orlok. The Count wishes to buy a home in Bremen, he quickly dispatches his assistant Hutter with the necessary contracts. Thomas arrives in Transylvannia to find the Count is a frightening visage, though he first chalks up the strange happenings as bad dreams. Too late he realizes that Orlok is a vampire and the monster wants Ellen (after seeing her picture in a locket).
The vampire's earth filled coffins are loaded on the ship Demeter; en route across the seas crew die one by one as he drains their life. Meanwhile, Thomas struggles to reach Ellen by land, arriving after the crewless Demeter docks. With Nosferatu's coming a plague falls upon the city, it is only when Ellen sacrifices herself that evil is banished.
This version is remastered and includes the most enjoyable soundtrack I've seen it put to yet. Type O Negative's metal/Gothic songs rarely seem out of place and then only for moments. The film itself is a masterpiece, with a tidy plot and excellent makeup for Nosferatu.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That old silent film is of course a classic. It comes from the German
school of horror films in the 1920s. It is an adaptation of Bram
Stoker's Dracula, but it takes liberties with the original. It is
situated in Bremen and not in London. His girlfriend or wife is quite
rightly Mina. Rensfield is the boss of the real estate agency. The trip
to Dracula's castle is standard. Dracula's voyage to Bremen is also
very standard. The real change comes at the end when Mina sacrifices
herself by giving herself to Dracula to keep him active up to after the
cock crows. Then he dies and everyone is saved. Naive rewriting of the
ending into some palatable cathartic compensation of the horror of life
: salvation is possible and escape is a real eventuality. But it is
also a very Christian ending in a way, or isn't it Jewish after all ?
The woman sacrificing herself for the sake of the social group that is
menaced by Dracula. And this sacrifice is epiphanic since it brings
salvation. This fantastic and horror period in the German cinema seems
to be longing for a happy ending, just as if the reality of Germany
then was so bleak that happiness could only be a dream and a
consolation or a solace the cinema could propose to people. The film
though is admirable by the quality of the pictures and the shooting. A
black and white film on such a subject could easily become drab, which
it never does. The pictures are always innovative in a way or another
with a contrast or a composition that makes the poor technique of the
days quite able to translate complex situations. The acting of these
silent actors is also quite admirable in the body language they use
that is never overdone which would make it grotesque. It is just
expressive enough to mean what it is supposed to mean without any
negative second level reading.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
Nosferatu, the famous German version of Bram Stoker's Dracula is
something of a disappointment. Visually, it's nothing compared to
expressionist masterpieces like Caligari or Metropolis. I understand
that actual Eastern European locations and buildings were used instead
of sets. That was a mistake. You just have to look at the beauty of
Lugosi's castle in the 1931 English version of the Bram Stoker novel to
see why. There is no reason why Nosferatu - given the expressionist
abilities of the Germans - could not have been even more beautiful than
Also, the pacing feels quite sluggish for a 94 minute long movie. The only exceptional thing for me was Max Schreck as a truly vile Count Orlock. He is physically repulsive and looks like a monster. He has none of the campiness of Lugosi or the physical power of a Christopher Lee - just a menacing, detestable, sickly creature. There is an excellent movie called The Shadow of the Vampire starring Willem Dafoe as Schreck. Its a fictional movie but much more watchable than Nosferatu. I actually wasted time watching this because of Shadow of the Vampire and my liking for Caligari and Metropolis. This isn't even remotely as good.
Director: F.W. Murnau, Script: Henrik Galeen, Novel: Bram Stoker, Cast:
Max Schreck(Orlok), Gustav von Waggenheim(Johannes), Greta
This is the ultimate vampire movie. Easily superior to the Tod Browning, Bela Lugosi version done in 1931. This has long been a favorite early horror film among fans. Murnau had difficulty producing this film due to resistance from Bram Stoker's widow. To get around this, all the character names where changed.
This film is set in 1800's Germany. Johannes, a real estate man, has to leave his wife, Ellen, for a while to travel to Transylvania to sell a flat to Orlock. Orlock, of course, is the vampire and the place that he is to selling to Orlock is across the street from Johannes's place. When Orlock arrives in Bremen, their town, a plague is brought among the village. The journey that Johannes takes to get there is amazing. We are taken through beautiful country with the alps in the background. When he gets close to Orlok's, he comes to a bridge and his ride stop's there. The driver of the carriage will not go across the bridge to "the land of the phantoms". The bridge represents a change from normalcy to an eerie otherworld.
This movie even by todays standards has some rather creepy moments. Orlock has a rat-like face with big front teeth and big ears. He is easily the creepiest Dracula. There is a scene where it is nighttime and Ellen gets out of bed and goes to the window to find this shadow of a figure starring into her apartment from his window across the street--very creepy. Max Schreck had such a strange persona that it was rumoured that he was a real vampire. Who am I to dispute this! He sure was convincing. This film is a fine example of the German expressionistic films that where made between the two wars. If you have no horror films from the silent era and are interested in acquiring some, this is the best place to start. Murnau and Fritz Lang was among the two best German directors of this time.
This is the single-most disturbingly atmospheric Vampyre film of the
lot. No matter how good effects get, no matter what our technologies,
no matter the brilliance of our actors, this movie will always be the
best Vampyre flick of all time.
Rumors have always run rampant among history buffs, and fans alike. Max Schreck was "supposed" to have been an actual Vampyre. But both dis-spellers of such rumors, and fans of it, have pointed out one seemingly show-stopping point; that you're not supposed to be able to photograph or view reflections of Vampyres. Even with that stumbling block, the rumors persist.
But what if the modern liberties taken recently by so many directors were already in place, hundreds of years ago? What if a Vampyre's inability to tolerate sunlight, fear of crosses, or weakness to garlic, WERE the myth? And what's left is this (rather large, I dare say) community of Beings of legend? And let's face it: a stake through the heart would kill ANYbody.
This is a haunting film, if only you believe.
It rates a 9.8/10 from...
the Fiend :.
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