Nosferatu

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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
Directed by F. W. Murnau
Produced by Enrico Dieckmann
Albin Grau
Screenplay by Henrik Galeen
Starring Max Schreck
Gustav von Wangenheim
Greta Schröder
Alexander Granach
Ruth Landshoff
Wolfgang Heinz
Music by Hans Erdmann
Cinematography Fritz Arno Wagner
Günther Krampf
Distributed by Film Arts Guild
Release date(s) March 4, 1922 (1922-03-04) (Germany)
June 3, 1929 (1929-06-03) (America)
Running time 94 minutes
Country Germany Germany
Language German

Nosferatu eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) is a 1922 German silent horror movie by F. W. Murnau based on the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker. The movie was shot in 1921 and was released in Germany in 1922 and in the US in 1929. It is about a Vampire or "Nosferatu" named Count Orlok (starring Max Schreck) who lives in a castle on top of a Hill. The movie in the public domain in America but not in Germany.

Although the movie was a commercial failure and caused the movie Prana Film being shut down due to copyright infringement, which were 2 reasons the movie was the only movie of Prana Film, the movie has received a strong cult following. Not only this, the movie has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it received a "Certified Fresh" label and it says that 98% of critics gave the film a positive review with a "fresh" rating based on 46 reviews.[1]

In 2010, it was ranked twenty-first in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema".[2]

Story[change | edit source]

A chronicler relates how in 1838 the plague arrived in the port city of Wisborg: The real estate agent gets a Knock Count Orlok in the Carpathian Mountains to the written order to search a house for him in Wisborg. The broker, apparently inspired by the request of the Count, asked his young colleague Thomas Hutter, and Orlock to travel to offer him the dilapidated house across Hutter's home. Hutter's young wife, Ellen responded with trepidation and foreboding with the travel plans of her husband. Hutter's wife in the care of his friend, the shipowner Harding, and is on its way. Before he reached the castle of the Count, he makes a stop at an inn. The locals are afraid of Orlok and warn the young man, travel further. The "Book of the Vampyre," a compendium of bloodsuckers, should serve him as a warning, but Hutter beats all caution to the wind and continued his journey. When he finally left his guides in fear and panic, he was picked up in an eerie forest of the carriage of the Count and reached Orloks gloomy castle. Count Orlok is no less sinister than his home, a gaunt, bald-headed figure. An evening meal is prepared for Hutter. When he hurt himself accidentally with a knife on his finger, wants Orlock greedily pounce on the blood. The Count asks the young man to stay. After a night in a heavy sleep Hutter wakes up two times bite on his neck. When Count Orlok happen the following evening sees the portrait of Hutter's wife Ellen in a medallion, he immediately takes Hutter to offer and sign the purchase contract at face value. Hutter suspects that he has been invited to the disaster in his home town. Orlok approaches that night the sleeping Hutter, to suck his blood, but wakes up screaming in the distance in yards Wisborg and stretches out her hands beseechingly. The count can be away from his victim.

Ellen falls into a trance-like state and begins to sleepwalk. Meanwhile, Hutter explores the castle during the day and the count is Orloks in deathlike sleep in a coffin lying. In the evening, Hutter sees how the count will load with earth-filled coffins on a cart. The last coffin is empty, the count itself as a resting place. Hutter escapes the castle, is saved and passed out by locals who care for the feverish healthy in a hospital. Orlok, meanwhile, has led to the coffins are transported to Varna with a raft and loaded onto a sailing ship. The Empusa makes with Orlok aboard on their way to Wisborg, while Hutter, recovered, rushed to the home land. On board the crew members of Empusa die, one after the other, to a mysterious illness. As investigate the sailors and open one of the coffins, he will escape a horde of rats. Finally, when only the captain and his first mate are alive, emerges from the count of his coffin at night. The last two crew members were killed and the Empusa moves, like a ghost ship, entered the port of Wisborg. The Lübeck salt storage building served as the location for Orloks in Wisborg. Knock, now because of his appetite for living flies landed in an asylum exults, the "master" is finally here. The Count, a coffin in tow, and the rats leaving the ship and walk through the city at night. The city officials see the orphaned Empusa the logbook, which tells of the deadly disease. Call a state of emergency, but it is too late: the plague is spreading in Wisborg and told countless victims. Even the "Paracelsianer" Professor Bulwer, an expert on epidemic diseases is no antidote against the plague. Knock has escaped from the asylum and is pursued by a mob, which he blames on the plague, but he manages to escape and hide from the city.

Hutter has also managed to achieve Wisborg. He brings the "Book of the Vampyre" with him when Ellen reads a woman pure of heart could be "the vampire" stay by giving him to drink their blood voluntarily, and it so "forget the rooster Schrey" makes. Meanwhile Orlok is pulled into the deserted house across Hutter. Full of longing and evocative, he looks out the window in Ellen's room. The young woman collapsed and sent away almost shutter to get a doctor. Orlok, the fulfillment of his desires close, sneaks into her room and approaches Ellen to drink her blood. As he feasts on her, he suddenly startled high: He forgot about his desire to time, the dawn is coming. With the first cock-crow, so the first rays of the sun, the vampire goes to ashes. Hutter reached by Dr. Ellen's room, and includes her in his arms, but it is too late: Ellen is dead Miraculously, however, defeated at the end of the vampire plague.

Cast[change | edit source]

  • Max Schreck as Count Orlok
  • Gustav von Wangenheim as Jonathan Harker
  • Greta Schröder as Ellen Hutter
  • Alexander Granach as Knock
  • Georg H. Schnell as Harding
  • Ruth Landshoff as Ruth
  • John Gottowt as Professor Bulwer
  • Gustav Botz as Professor Sievers
  • Max Nemetz as The Captain of The Empusa
  • Wolfgang Heinz as First Mate of The Empusa
  • Heinrich Witte as guard in asylum
  • Guido Herzfeld as innkeeper
  • Karl Etlinger as student with Bulwer
  • Hardy von Francois as hospital doctor
  • Fanny Schreck as hospital nurse

Production[change | edit source]

The original logo for Prana Film.

Nosferatu is Prana Film's only production.[3] Prana Film was founded 1921 by Enrico Dieckmann and Albin Grau. Grau had the idea to shoot a vampire film; the inspiration arose from Grau's war experience: in the winter of 1916, a Serbian farmer told him that his father was a vampire and one of the Undead.[4]

Diekmann and Grau gave Henrik Galeen a job to screenplay inspired from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, despite Prana Film not having rights to the film. Galeen was an experienced specialist in Dark romanticism; he had already worked on Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague) in 1913, and the screenplay for 1920's Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How He Came into the World). Galeen set the story in a fictional north German harbour town named Wisborg and changed the character names. He added the idea of the vampire bringing the plague to Wisborg via rats on the ship. He left out the Van Helsing vampire hunter character. Galeen's German Expressionism[5] screenplay was poetically rhythmic, without being so dismembered as other books influenced by literary Expressionism, such as those by Carl Mayer. Lotte Eisner described Galeen's screenplay as "voll Poesie, voll Rhythmus" ("full of poetry, full of rhythm").[6]

Dieckmann and Gray won the director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, who made movies until 1919, but had made ​​his first seven productions a reputation as a talented filmmaker. Gray, who had studied at the Art Academy in Dresden, took over as artistic director and designed sets and costumes. For the soundtrack of the musical director of the Prana-Film Hans Erdmann was responsible. The unknown stage actor Max Schreck from Munich, was committed for the title role. Other roles took on expressionist theater of Max Reinhardt trained actors like Greta Schröder, Gustav von Wangenheim, and Alexander Granach, a former classmate at Murnau Reinhardt's acting school at the Deutsches Theater.[7]

This Lübecker Salzspeicher served as the set for Orlok's house in Wisborg.

Filming began in July 1921. Exterior shots were filmed in Wismar.[8] A take from Marienkirche's tower over Wismar marketplace with the Wasserkunst Wismar served as the establishing shot for the Wisborg scene. Other locations were the Wassertor, the Heiligen-Geist-Kirche yard and the harbour. In Lübeck, the abandoned Salzspeicher served as Nosferatu's new Wisborg house, the one of the churchyard from Aegidienkirche served as Hutters and down the Depenau coffin bearers beared coffins. Many walks of Lübeck took place in the hunt of Knock who ordered Hutter in the Yard of Füchting to meet the earl. Further exterior shots followed in Lauenburg,[8] Rostock[8] and on Sylt. The film team travelled to the Carpathian Mountains, where Orava Castle[8] served as backdrop for Orlok's half-ruined castle. Nearby locations also served: Hutter's stay at Dolný Kubín;[8] the river journey with the coffins filmed on the Váh River; and the panoramas of the High Tatras mountain range. The team filmed interior shots at the JOFA studio in Berlin's Johannisthal locality.[8] and further exteriors in the Tegel forest.[8] Parts of the film set in Transylvania were also shot in Slovakia.

For cost reasons, cameraman Fritz Arno Wagner only had one camera available, and therefore there was only one original negative.[9] The director followed Galeen's screenplay carefully, following handwritten instructions on camera positioning, lighting, and related matters.[10] Nevertheless Murnau completely rewrote 12 pages of the script, as Galeen's text was missing from the director's working script.[11] This concerned the last scene of the film, in which Ellen sacrifices herself and the vampire dies in the first rays of the Sun.[12][13] Murnau prepared carefully; there were sketches that were to correspond exactly to each filmed scene, and he used a metronome to control the pace of the acting.[14]

Since the camera was mostly static and immobile to Nosferatu, Murnau used movement and differentiation within the rigid cadre in order to energize the scene. As Orloks ship slowly moves from right to left through the movie screen, Murnau used this so Eisner's "powerful effect[s] of the impression of transverse motion."[15] would stress education. This served the same purpose subjectifications of the camera view, such as when the vampire filmed on the ship from the frog perspective or stand looking out of windows, parts of the frame and shoots into view . The highlight of the subjectivated gaze are the scenes in which the vampire character - directly facing the camera - turns to the audience and thus the fourth wall is broken: "The vampire seems by its immensity, the dimensions of the screen to blow up and the viewers to directly threaten "[16]

Music[change | edit source]

Hans Erdmann titled his film score for Nosferatu as "Fantastic and romantic suite". The title revealed, said Berndt Heller, a "common misconception". Unlike the reason to assume as the movie subtitled Symphony of Horror, Erdmann put less on the vampire material commonly associated elements such as horror and shock as to the intention of the director corresponding moods in which the glorification of nature and the fairy-tale folk say-like character of the film reflect. Like Murnau verdeutliche Erdmann in his music, "the involvement of the demonic legends, fairy tales and nature-like". Erdmann's score was published in editions for large orchestra and for salon orchestra from the publisher Boosey & Hawkes. The ten individual pieces show on reusability scale, typical movie title bar: an idyllic, lyrical, Spooky, Stormy Destroy, Awake, strange, grotesque, Unleashed and distraught. Since the total duration of the work is only about 40 minutes, Berndt Heller suggested that the performances were repeated for individual parts, accompanied by about the characters again and again as a leitmotif. Also, the repeated use of phrases for dramatic new situations through modification of the character pieces, such as changes in presentation made ​​in the tempos and dynamics in the Heller thinks it is possible.[17]

Though most of the score has been lost (because of this only a reconstitution of the score as it was played in 1922 can be heard),[18] it is why so many composers and musicians have written or improvised their own soundtrack to accompany the film. For example, James Bernard, composer of the soundtracks of many Hammer horror films in the late 50s and all the 60s decade, including the Dracula and Frankenstein series, has written a score for a reissue of Nosferatu.[19]

Release[change | edit source]

The Marmorsaal (marble hall) in the Berlin Zoological Garden, here shown in a 1900 postcard, was where Nosferatu premiered.

Shortly before the premiere, an advertisement campaign was placed in issue 21 of the magazine Bühne und Film, with a summary, scene and work photographs, production reports and essays including a treatment on vampirism by Albin Grau.[20] Nosferatu's preview premiered on 4 March 1922 in the Marmorsaal of the Berlin Zoological Garden.[8][11] This was planned as a large society evening entitled Das Fest des Nosferatu (Festival of Nosferatu), and guests were asked to arrive dressed in Biedermeier costume.[11] The cinema premiere itself took place on 15 March 1922 at Berlin's Primus-Palast.[8]

This was Prana Film's only movie because the movie was a financial failure. The UFA refused to take the film in the program of their large movie theaters, and so Nosferatu was only shown in a few small theaters.[21] This was also because Bram Stoker had an estate, acting for his widow, Florence Stoker, sueing for copyright infringement and winning. The court ordered all existing prints of Nosferatu burned, but one purported copy of the film had already been distributed around the world. These prints were duplicated over the years.[22]

Reception[change | edit source]

Despite it's failure and Prana Film's bankruptcy in 1922, the film received critically positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes says that 98% of critical reviews were positive (53 out of a total 55 reviews) with an average rating of 3.9/5, stating "One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Shrek as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed."[1]

Roger Ebert called it "more effective for being" a "silent" film. He concluded "There is no repartee in nightmares. Human speech dissipates the shadows and makes a room seem normal. Those things that live only at night do not need to talk, for their victims are asleep, waiting."[23]

Ulrich Gregor and Enno Patalas evaluate Nosferatu as a quantum leap in Murnau's cinematic work for being "visible for the first time in any setting."[24][25] Thomas Elsaesser says the appeal of the film from the conflict between technical perfection and its mainly psychological acting subject: "Murnau's poetry, the result was a detached, almost clinical application of technical mastery German photography and camera work in an emotionally charged, with deep-seated fears and feelings related topics "[26][27] the dream-like, the subconscious appealing presentation give the film a "shadow only decipherable, hidden logic", they keep the film "is still strong appeal character," says Thomas Koebner[28] Also Kreimeier Klaus picks up on this film Nosferatu effect and certify an "authenticity of the dream - and the fictional (the means based on conventions) character of what we call reality."[29]

William K. Everson judges, the film suffered "under the extrovert and plenty of covered play by Alexander Granach [...] and virtually all other members of the cast out fear." [30] also, Lotte H. Eisner criticized the cumbersome play, the actors performances were "not significant", which they impute to the fact that Murnau not experienced at this time in the lead actor had been enough.[31]

In other media[change | edit source]

Aaron Copland's 1922 ballet Grohg (unpublished and unpremiered until 1992) used Nosferatu as the physical model for the lead character and roughly follows the storyline.

Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers and Robert Williams recorded an album Nosferatu as a "soundtrack" to the film, dedicated to the memory of Max Schreck; it was released in 1979. The front cover was a still from the film.

Werner Herzog's 1979 homage to Nosferatu, Nosferatu the Vampyre starred Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, not Orlok.[32] A sequel to Herzog's film called Vampire in Venice starred Kinski, this time as Nosferatu, and Christopher Plummer as Paris Catalano.

The 1979 television movie Salem's Lot modeled the appearance of Mr. Barlow on that of Count Orlok.[33] In 1998, Wayne Keeley released Nosferatu: The First Vampire, in which the original film was remastered to a soundtrack by Type O Negative and hosted by David Carradine.

The 2000 Hollywood movie Shadow of the Vampire told a secret history of the making of Nosferatu, imagining that actor Max Schreck (played by Willem Dafoe) was actually a genuine vampire and that director F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) was complicit in hiring the creature for the purpose of realism.

Similarly, the short film 'La duodécima hora'[34] by Rodrigo Plaza and film critic Juanma Ruiz, suggested a hidden plot orchestrated by Nosferatu director and producer, F. W. Murnau and Albin Grau, to hide an elixir of the eternal life. Shot as a mockumentary, the film starred horror icon Paul Naschy and Nosferatu film restorer Luciano Berriatúa.

Viper Comics's 2010 graphic novel Nosferatu by Christopher Howard Wolf retold the original 1922 film's storyline with a modern setting and cast.

The Cartoon Network Adult Swim series Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, a parody of classic horror movies and characters, features Nosferatu as a recurring character.

References[change | edit source]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Nosferatu (1922)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nosferatu/.
  2. "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema - 21 Nosferatu". Empire. http://www.empireonline.com/features/100-greatest-world-cinema-films/default.asp?film=21.
  3. ChiaroScuro quoting Thomas Elsaesser
  4. Christiane Mückenberger; Günther Dahlke; Günter Karl (Hrsg.) (1993), "Nosferatu" (in German), Deutsche Spielfilme von den Anfängen bis 1933, Berlin: Henschel Verlag, p. 71, ISBN 3-89487-009-5
  5. Roger Manvell, Henrik Galeen - Films as writer:, Other films:, Film Reference, http://www.filmreference.com/Writers-and-Production-Artists-Ei-Gi/Galeen-Henrik.html, retrieved 2009-04-23
  6. Eisner 1967, page 27
  7. Albert Klein/Raya Kruk: Alexander Granach – Fast verwehte Spuren. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-108-X, S. 82.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 ChiaroScuro
  9. Prinzler page 222: Luciano Berriatúa and Camille Blot in section: Zur Überlieferung der Filme. Then it was usual to use at least two cameras in parallel to maximise the number of copies for distribution. One negative would serve for local use and another for foreign distribution.
  10. Editors of German Wikipedia citing Eisner 1967 page 27
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Editors of German Wikipedia
  12. Editors of German Wikipedia citing Eisner 1967 page 28 Since vampires dying in daylight appears neither in Stoker's work nor in Galeen's script, this concept has been solely attributed to Murnau.
  13. Michael Koller (July 2000), "Nosferatu", Issue 8, July–Aug 2000 (senses of cinema), http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/00/8/nosferatu.html, retrieved 2009-04-23
  14. Editors of German Wikipedia citing Grafe page 117
  15. Lotte H. Eisner: Die dämonische Leinwand. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-596-23660-6, S. 101.
  16. Klaus Becker. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. A great film director of the nineteen twenties. Issued by the City Savings Bank of Kassel. German Sparkassen Verlag, 1981, p.51
  17. Berndt Heller: The music for the, feast of the Nosferatu. In: Fritz Goettler (ed.): F.W. Murnau - Nosferatu. A publication of the Cultural Department of the City of Munich. Department of Culture, Munich 1987, pp. 30f.
  18. "Nosferatu". http://www.gilliananderson.it/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=22&Itemid=29. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  19. D. Larson, Randall (July 30, 2008). "James Bernard’s NOSFERATU". http://www.runmovies.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=280:james-bernards-nosferatu&catid=37:scoring-session.
  20. Editors of German Wikipedia citing Eisner page 60
  21. Herbert Lewandowski: A look behind the scenes. In: Klaus Becker: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. A great film director of the nineteen twenties. Issued by the City Savings Bank of Kassel. German Sparkassen Verlag, 1981, p.121
  22. "Nosferatu: The Plague-Carrier". February 6, 2011. http://jerrysaravia.blogspot.com/2011/02/plague-carrier.html.
  23. Elbert, Roger (September 28, 1997). "Nosferatu (1922)". The Chicago-Sun Times. Rogerelbert.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970928/REVIEWS08/401010345/1023. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  24. Ulrich Gregor, Enno Patalas: History of the Movie 1 1895 to 1939. Universe Books, New Hamburg in 1976, ISBN 3-499-16193-1, p.55
  25. Penning Lars: Nosferatu in Alfred Holighaus (ed.): The film canon - 35 films, they need to know the Federal Agency for Civic Education... Bertz + Fischer, Bonn, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86505-160-X, pp. 14, available online Nosferatu - A Symphony of Horror on pages the Federal Agency for Civic Education
  26. Thomas Elsaesser: Das Weimarer Kino – aufgeklärt und doppelbödig. Vorwerk 8, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-930916-24-X, S. 164.
  27. Thomas Elsaesser. The Weimar cinema - enlightened and ambiguous Vorwerk 8, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-930916-24-X, 164.
  28. Thomas Koebner. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau . In: Thomas Koebner (ed.). directors - biographies, work descriptions, filmographies, 3 Edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4, pp. 527th
  29. Klaus Kreimeier: the drama and the shapes - try a melancholic In:.. Kreimeier Klaus (ed.): Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau . 1888 to 1988. Bielefeld publishing house, Bielefeld 1988th ISBN 3-87073-034-X <- p -?> (Publication accompanying the exhibition,. Bielefeld, October 26 to November 25, 1988, Düsseldorf, 1 December 1988-15 January 1989; Cultural Affairs. and Community College of the city of Bielefeld and Düsseldorf film Institute).
  30. William K. Everson, Joe Hembus (eds.). classics of the horror film Goldmann, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-442-10205-7, 207
  31. Lotte H. Eisner. Murnau. The classics of German cinema. Frederick, Velber / Hannover, 1967, page 63
  32. Erickson, Hal. "Nosferatu the Vampyr". Allrovi. http://www.allrovi.com/movies/movie/Nosferatu-the-Vampyr-v127854. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  33. Cinefantastique magazine vol. 9 #2
  34. duodécima hora at the Internet Movie Database

Other websites[change | edit source]