Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)
(Unrated, 1:24:19, Released 1922)
|Genres:||Horror, Art House & International, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy|
|Release Date:||Mar 4, 1922|
|DVD Release Date:||Oct 22, 1997|
|Starring:||Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Georg H. Schnell, Ruth Landshoff, Gustav Botz, Karl Etlinger, John Gottowt, Wolfgang Heinz|
|Directed by:||F.W. Murnau|
|Synopsis:||F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film Nosferatu isn't merely a variation on Bram Stoker's Dracula: it's a direct steal, so much so that Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain that the Murnau film be suppressed and destroyed. The character names have been changed to protect the guilty (in the original German prints, at least), but devotees of Stoker will have little trouble recognizing their Dracula counterparts. The film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter (Gustav von Wagenheim) has arrived to close a sale with the reclusive Herr Orlok (Max Schreck). Despite the feverish warnings of the local peasants, Hutter insists upon completing his journey to Orlok's sinister castle. While enjoying his host's hospitality, Hutter accidently cuts his finger-whereupon Orlok tips his hand by staring intently at the bloody digit, licking his lips. Hutter catches on that Orlok is no ordinary mortal when he witnesses the vampiric nobleman loading himself into a coffin in preparation for his journey to Bremen. By the time the ship bearing Orlok arrives at its destination, the captain and crew have all been killed-and partially devoured. There follows a wave of mysterious deaths in Bremen, which the local authorities attribute to a plague of some sort. But Ellen, Hutter's wife, knows better. Armed with the knowledge that a vampire will perish upon exposure to the rays of the sun, Ellen offers herself to Orlok, deliberately keeping him "entertained" until sunrise. At the cost of her own life, Ellen ends Orlok's reign of terror once and for all. Rumors still persist that Max Schreck, the actor playing Nosferatu, was actually another, better-known performer in disguise. Whatever the case, Schreck's natural countenance was buried under one of the most repulsive facial makeups in cinema history-one that was copied to even greater effect by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's 1979 remake - Nosferatu the Vampyre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi|
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Other Top Reviews
December 28, 2012
The truly original vampire film, "Nosferatu" is a black and white direct copied adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". At its release it had the exact same characters and plot as the original book but had changed the names of all involved. The story is the same: a clod goes off to a mountainous small town and finds the townspeople frightened out of their wits by the vampyr aloft in the castle in the hills. The real estate agent and his sickly palored wife are victims of Count Orlok, portrayed by Max Schreck. The fame that still surrounds this film has nothing to do with its stark German Expressionist surroundings and tone or the fact that Bram Stoker's widow sued over copyright infringement. Much more prevalent to its lasting iconoclastic remembrances, is that fright inducing face. Max Shreck was already quite a sight with his pointed ears and long face, and with the use of face makeup he was transformed into a hideously fanged creature, without the charm and sophistication of the many descendants of Bram Stoker's tale. Much more of a creature feature than later adaptations, Count Orlok comes off less than human. The real estate agent who comes to call on what he believes is a rich man in a small town meets a chalky white monster who preys on his wife in her dreams. The shadow of the vampire coming up the stairs, the slow way the villain is revealed, face forward, stark against a background of black, spider webs covering every square inch of the darkly lit manor, was spine chilling. Much like Bela Lugosi in the much more popular and long staying "Dracula", Max Schreck's performance transcends the film itself. It is his amazing presence in the film that makes it so creepy and yet irresistibly sadistic. Seriously one of the creepiest films of all time, and making it silent made it all the better. The music was sometimes off-putting, and the flow of events was stilted, but it was definitely one of the best vampire films of all time. It not only catches the charisma of a supernatural force but also the deep seeded terror invoked in all of their victims. A much watch for horror fans or those who want to see a good German Expressionist film.
December 7, 2012
No vampire film exists w/o this one, the granddaddy of them all. I wish somebody could up the ante on this, but nobody has ,,, 90 years (count 'em!) later. Just try to imagine that for a minute. It'll seem slow to the MTV quick cut school of editing and shaky cam crowd, starched and stodgy, sure, but there has been no vampire film made since that doesn't lift something outta this film. There's one beaut of a bit where the Count carries his own casket through the middle of town. Interestingly enough (and unrelatedly), Orlok as the not-so-mysterious Count seems to resemble the many racist Jewish caricatures of the late 1800's.
December 6, 2012
Forebearer of today's vampire fiction in cinema, Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau is a true landmark of a classic, that saw a new type of story brought to the screen, based upon the famous novel Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. A horror film deemed so "excessive", that it was actually banned here in Sweden and not made available to the public until half a century later, in 1972.
Another 40 years have passed now since then, with vampires evolving (or de-evolving in Twilight's case) to a variety of different manifestations and sub-cultures. Some elegant and sophisticated like Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with a Vampire. Others more grotesque and monster-like, such as the adversaries of Blade in the action trilogy with Wesley Snipes. Then, of course, there's the sparkly ones, but let's not tarnish the good memory of this film with examples that have failed to honor its legacy.
The wonderful thing about Nosferatu though, is not just the historical significance in defining the vampire genre, but that the story, despite its age, is genuinely thrilling. From the very first moments we meet real estate agent Hutter and his wife, I am captured by the expressive performances, and even more so by the celestial orchestral score, which ranges evocatively between beautiful and inspiring, to macabre and eerily dark.
There's an authentic sense of impending terror, as Hutter's impish employer dispatches him to Transylvania to meet up with Count Orlok - a mysterious nobleman who expresses interest in purchasing a new residence in Hutter's home town of Wisbourg. What follows is a series of spine-chilling occurrences, as Count Orlok's true intentions crawl out of the shadows, involving Hutter's innocent wife and an insatiable thirst for blood.
Tinted in red, yellow and blue to represent various hours of the day, the imagery takes some getting used to, but is really an element I quite liked as it gave the presentation even more character. I also loved how the grand music score went in perfect harmony with every scene. A mood yet intensified by Max Schreck's iconic performance as Nosferatu, which is destined to endure through the ages.
Up until now, the wonders of the silent film period have been a stranger to yours truly, but after last year's love letter The Artist and this spellbinding, ancestral horror tale, it is with equally awestruck eyes and ears, that I now put on my adventure gear and venture deeper into the era's riches.
Much like the mythological being in rendition, Nosferatu, down to the very last detail, is an immortal masterpiece, whose 90 year-old rule continues to glimmer as if impervious to the winds of time. Steadfast and unbroken, it is the belief of this critic that it will sit upon the throne at least century more. Or so I wholeheartedly hope.
Five out of five blood vials to this gloriously unhallowed grandfather of all things morbid and grim.
December 2, 2011
Oft-homaged silent horror film from 1922 Germany is fantastically eerie, relevantly creepy, even in the 21st century. Somewhat based on Bram Stoker's late-19th century literary horror classic Dracula, it tells the story of Thomas Hutter, who travels to Transylvania and is welcomed into Count Orlok's castle. Little does Thomas know that Orlok has a maniacal and arguably violent obsession with Ellen, Thomas's own wife.
Full Review: http://wp.me/p1Urcx-w3
fb1664868775October 25, 2011
Images from this film will be forever burned into my mind.
fb100000257973100October 22, 2011
You know, I do review films in my spare time because I love to express my love for cinema, but this if a film that I have no idea why I am even bothering to review. The reason why is because this film has been around for almost ninety years, still hailed as a masterpiece of German Silent films, and in terms of style and atmosphere considered one of the best ever made. But, seeing as how I do have a strong love for this film, I guess I must attempt to review it.
If you are a fan of vampire mythology, then there is no excuse as to why you can not see Nosferatu. Seeing as how this film is in public domain, it is beyond easy to get a hold of. But due to it being in public domain, it is difficult to find good prints around. But you don't really need a good print to be able to feel the sheer terror of Max Shrek as the immortal Nosferatu (a performance that will be with him for another hundred years after his death). When I first came unto this film, I was just starting to develop a love for silent films and this film is one of the best introductions one can have for that genre.
My reaction to this film was just about the same as anyone who first sees this film with a clear mind: it is like living through a nightmare. Now, in the nineteen twenties, the German film industry perfected the art of expression cinema (basically using obscure designs and scenery to create a certain atmosphere) so when it came time for the first adaptation of Dracula to be made, it is only natural that the Germans would create the most effective and the one that would set the laws of vampire mythology for years to come.
There is not much one can say about this film other then the iconic performance of Max Shrek. Looking at him now, he is still a powerful image of a vampire and how one should act and be. From his tall stature to his giant, white eyes to even the teeth that barley fit in his mouth, Shrek creates a vampire that still puts modern vampires to shame in the flick of an eye. But he also keeps the character mysterious which is part of the greatness of this film.
One thing that makes this film different from all the future adaptations of Dracula to even vampire films in general is that you don't know the story behind the vampire. He is always a mystery and due to us not knowing about him, we take into account that he is just a creature that is pure evil and is a force to be reckoned with.
It is hard to imagine how film history would of changed had it not been for this monumental film that inspired horror and made it into what it is. Now, is this film worth watching? Yes if you can handle a silent film. If you can't, then I recommend you watch the film Shadow Of The Vampire.
June 28, 2011
Nosferatu is definitely an eerie film and a good adaption of the book, but since I'm not a huge fan of silent films it's not really for me. It's a classic and Max Schreck is good and looks great as Count Orlok. The poor picture quality at times does make the movie better. If your a fan of silent movies, then this would be for you.
May 24, 2011
It's 90 years old but it still has that eerie and creepy feel to it all. Max Schrek makes for one hell of a scary vampire, probably the most chilling vampire in movie history. It's very much a film of its own era and it's odd and outdated methods only add to its atmosphere. It's an essential watch for horror buffs, but it is a slow one.
February 14, 2011
Max Schreck's portrayal of Nosferatu is still terrifying today nearly 90 years later. Warner Herzog's remake is definitely worth watching if you liked this, although, as much as I love Klaus Kinski, you can't beat Max Schreck! The epitome of creepy!
January 15, 2011
this great horror film is still a bit frightening nearly 90 years after its release. the poor picture quality adds to the terror making this a film timely made, and the story and running time are perfect for a silent film. maybe the most eerie film ever, this is a classic that must be seen.
October 11, 2010
I always found Count Orlok to be significantly creepy and the mood of the picture to be nicely tuned, but the story is just so bland- even by the standards of 1922. One can certainly see how "Nosferatu" remains a classic, but for me, it dosen't rank particularly highly.
September 9, 2010
I love early film. Silents are always a bit of a patience tester, but I was impressed with quite a few of the visuals. Very creepy. However Nosferatu running around in daylight, holding a coffin full of dirt... not as impressive. Try humorous. However, if you love horror or vampires it is an absolute must!
September 3, 2010
The very first vampire on film! You can't miss it if you're a vampire fan like me. Nosferatu is actually still creepy after all these years. Check it out!
July 29, 2010
July 8, 2010
i liked it. it was probably pretty high tech for its time. as far as vampire movies go i don't like it as much a Bram Stoker's Dracula or The Lost Boys.
May 5, 2010
I tried, over and over, but this just didn't capture my attention at all...
December 20, 2009
Not really scary, but definitely creepy and eerie. Atmosphere is key here. The films is great at creating and maintaining an unsettling mood and enviornment. Music is key too. However, the version I saw had a modern soudtrack, including surf music. At times this really clashed with the actions on screen, lessening the impact and making things seem a little silly. The music itself was good, just sometimes out of place. When it fits perfectly though- things were amazing. This movie may be old, but it kicked off what is basically one of the most pervasive, popular, and continually evolving subgenres of film. Hats off to German cinema and F.W. Murnau.
December 20, 2009
This dark brooding silent classic has lost some of its teeth over the years, but it still takes a bite out of the genre.
November 30, 2009
While for its time it is a complete masterpiece and an epic silent movie, it is nowhere near my favorite representation of Bram Stoker's novel. Max Schreck is a great looking Dracula and very creepy, but there's only so much you can do with silence.
October 27, 2009
The first, and arguably the scariest, adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. The Stoker estate sued to get this film stopped, so some names and minor plot points were changed, as well as moving the action from England to Germany. But otherwise, it's the same story. The main difference between the film and most of the adaptations that follow is Max Schreck as the vampire. He is not debonair or seductive or even tuxedo-clad. No, he is tall and skeletal, more rat than human. The scene where he is standing in the hallway and walking towards the camera into the doorway spooks me every time, as does the shot of his face peering through the boards of his dilapidated casket in the basement of his home.. Yes, it moves slow at times, but some interesting effects and camera work along whith Schreck's performance still make this one of the classic horror movies of all time for me.
March 26, 2009
Nosferatu is a classic 1922 silent film that is often revered as one of the greatest horror films of all time. It is based off Bram Stroker's book Dracula.
Silent films are a bit troublesome to watch in this generation, but this is one of the few that engages and flows smoothly. Actors in silent films were very talented in using over-animated facial expressions to replace words.
The director, F.W. Murnau, did a fine job building suspense and creating a creepy, sinister vampire in Count Orlok. He was terrifying without all the heavy CGI and without all the blood and guts of modern vampires. The score as well is mesmerizing and builds tension masterfully.
Even though it's a bit outdated, Nosferatu is an important landmark film in the horror genre.
"Is this your wife? What a lovely throat."
January 19, 2009
I've recently read Stoker's Dracula, and in this case, it sort of got in the way (if you've got patience, I recommend the read). Nosferatu is a free adaptation of the book, so I was a little fixated on the differences.
Although I really liked how it was filmed, I never really got into it. And what's up with that dude Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim)? What an idiot.
October 3, 2008
Based illegally on Bram Stoker's Dracula, F. W. Murnau's film is undeniably the best and probably the most faithful of the films based on the novel. That's just my opinion.
The movie itself gives a look into the history of not only the character of Dracula, but of modern day vampires in general, and it's influence is still obvious. Most notably with the very creepy Salem's Lot. How can this 80-year-old film be light years ahead of 99% of the crap Hollywood puts out today?
June 28, 2008
Iconic movie that hasn't lost a bit of it's enigmatic aura. Aside of an odd moment where Orlok is walking by the streets carrying his coffin, without anyone even noticing that. The rest of the film manages to keep it's creepy atmosphere the entire time.
April 3, 2008
No one does it to you like Max Shreck's horrifying portrayal of the immortal walking corpse Count Nosferatu. Murnau conjures up the supernatural with immeasurable power.