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Die Sprache der Schatten - Murnau: Die frühen Jahre und Nosferatu (2007)

Video  -  Documentary  -  8 October 2007 (Germany)
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Title: Die Sprache der Schatten - Murnau: Die frühen Jahre und Nosferatu (Video 2007)

Die Sprache der Schatten - Murnau: Die frühen Jahre und Nosferatu (Video 2007) on IMDb 7/10

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Credited cast:
Eva Diekmann ...
Herself - Niece of F.W. Murnau
David Sandberg ...
Himself - Leo Spies' grandson
Helene Luckow ...
Herself - Robert Herlth's daughter (as Ellen Luckow)
Wolfgang Kistermann ...
Himself - occult expert
Daisy Spies ...
Herself - Walter Spies' sister
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wing Wah
Thomas Lang ...
Narrator (voice)


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Release Date:

8 October 2007 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Die Sprache der Schatten - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau und seine Filme  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Features Nosferatu (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

A masterful scientific documentation
1 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whoever has collected, like I did, every information available about F.W. Murnau and especially his masterpiece "Faust", is able to judge this quite extraordinary documentary or "making of"-movie by Spanish director Luciano Berriatua. What Berratua has assembled here lets you go pale with wonder. How was he able to get these original documents, most of them hitherto unseen? In vain you roam the still massive literature about Murnau, what you see in this documentary, you do not find in printed books.

But Berratua's film is not only industrious and precise, it actually leads to new results and insights that have been unknown before, f.ex. that Murnau, who had already a call for the US when filming "Faust", shot practically each clue scene in 7 different versions, for which he changed light, frame, props, costumes and sometimes even the text (f.ex. the gift that Mephisto brings Marthe Schwerdtlein is originally "from Lombardia", but since Murnau guessed that most Americans would not know where Lombardia is, he changed is in this US-version to "Tartaria"). Since Murnau did not have the possibility (as modern film makers have) to see right-away how the shot looks on the canvas, he also re-shot whole scenes under indescribable circumstances. (E.g. the angel announcing that Faust's contract with the devil is invalid, had to stand so long under the hot lamps until he collapsed. Gretchen alias Camilla Horn was actually wounded to bleeding from the iron chains and the salt-storms Murnau used. The filming conditions of Faust remember those of the "Alpine Mountain" films ten years later which were directed by Dr. Arnold Fanck.) We see that Dr. F.W. Murnau was a soul that was closely related to Pasolini (as supposed before), a genius but a tyrant like Fassbinder was, and a perfectionist who was ready to walk over corpses for his successful final product which was for him reality as the film was reality for Pasolini's film semiotics.

I conclude with my urgent desire to see the scientific harvest that the film scientist and director Berriatua thankfully published with his film, also issued in a printed volume. Berriatua's merits for the research of the work of Murnau as well as for a crucial phase in silent cinema can hardly be overestimated.

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