Nosferatu

Nosferatu

4.8 17
Director: F.W. Murnau

Cast: F.W. Murnau, Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim

     
 

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There are numerous versions of F.W. Murnau's 1922 vampire movie Nosferatu out on video. It is difficult, however, to imagine anyone being able to improve significantly upon the version that Kino International, in conjunction with the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna and the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, has issued. In addition to an exquisitely sharp image

Overview

There are numerous versions of F.W. Murnau's 1922 vampire movie Nosferatu out on video. It is difficult, however, to imagine anyone being able to improve significantly upon the version that Kino International, in conjunction with the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna and the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, has issued. In addition to an exquisitely sharp image and rich contrast throughout -- setting it apart from the usual scratched, worn, and faded public-domain presentations of the film -- Nosferatu is presented here in carefully balanced but generally radiant tints, which make the movie a special delight to the eye and also help to set the mood and tone of every shot and scene. Couple that quality of presentation with the fact that Murnau shot his expressionist masterpiece on location in the Carpathian mountains, and the resulting viewing experience is spellbinding, if not downright intoxicating. Not that there aren't some flaws -- in a movie over three quarters of a century old, it would be strange if there weren't -- but the occasional missing frame, slight blemish, or momentary image jitter has been cut to the absolute minimum. Couple that with the availability of two different soundtracks on the disc, one composed by Donald Sosin (with vocals by Joanna Seaton) and the other by Gerard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboltzeff, and you've got a lot of movie, and one well worth Kino's asking price. The former score, incidentally, relies a great deal on the sounds of flutes and whistles, as well as various keyboards and strings, while the latter is much busier and relies on percussion and lots of organ and synthesizer parts to underscore the action. The major bonus feature is an archival selection (with score for the silents) of scenes from a half-dozen features made by Murnau between 1920 and 1931, including The Haunted Castle, Phantom, Faust, and Tabu, each running approximately two to five minutes. There is also a comparison section, entitled "Meeting the Count," juxtaposing the manner in which meeting the vampire is presented in Bram Stoker's novel, Henrik Galeen's screenplay for this movie, the way it is presented in the actual movie, and the depicting in an Orson Welles radio version of the same story, from a 1938 Mercury Theater broadcast. And, finally, there is a gallery of photographs and artwork from Murnau's film. The 93-minute movie has been given a generous 18 chapters and also retains the film's breakdown of four "acts." The disc opens automatically on a multi-layer menu that is very easy to maneuver around -- it's also very easy to advance through the onscreen literary excerpts. It's all a very thorough immersion in the film, and, indeed, the only element missing from this edition of the movie is a commentary track.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
One of the great show-stealing performances in movie history can be found in Nosferatu, F. W. Murnau's 1925 silent version of the Dracula legend. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's famous novel, Nosferatu tells the story of a young newlywed who is forced to leave his bride and travel to Transylvania to broker a real estate deal with a mysterious count (Max Schreck). While the well-known story is told with some elegance in Nosferatu, it hardly seems to matter once Schreck appears onscreen: his portrayal of Count Orlok (not Count Dracula in this version -- the names were changed after Stoker's widow filed suit) has to be seen to be believed. Rail-thin, with wide, blackened eyes, wild eyebrows, long fingers, and stooped shoulders, Schreck's ratlike vampire (there's no bat iconography in this version) is over-the-top from the outset -- and this is before he uncovers his bald head to reveal pointy ears. The Count's shadow looks even better, and Murnau exploits this in expressionistic silhouettes that appear in scene after scene -- cast on walls and down corridors and then, as a topper, on the white nightgown of a female victim. This remarkable performance was itself the subject of 2000's Shadow of the Vampire, with Willem Dafoe portraying Schreck to John Malkovich's Murnau. Klaus Kinski reprised Schreck's portrayal of the count in Werner Herzog's 1979 Nosferatu remake, but the remarkable original is simply a must-see.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The film that brought one of German cinema's masters to international attention, F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) is also one of the best screen versions of Dracula, even if the Bram Stoker source received no credit. Eschewing the elaborately artificial studio-bound sets that gave most German Expressionist films their luridly somber mood, Murnau used actual central European locations for his vampire tale, and he created a foreboding atmosphere through such cinematic techniques as negative exposures and stop-motion photography. Shot by Fritz Arno Wagner, the dramatic shadows and low angles that made Max Schreck's Dracula-esque vampire tower over his environs intensified the already frightening presence of Schreck's deathly vampire makeup. The effect of the low angles was not lost on Orson Welles and Gregg Toland when they made Citizen Kane (1941). Though some critics have noted that the stop-motion effects have not aged particularly well, Nosferatu's air of almost apocalyptic doom remains timeless, and Murnau's combination of real locations and a superhuman monster is a key precursor to, among others, Alfred Hitchcock's horror of the everyday and familiar.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/24/2002
UPC:
0738329025328
Original Release:
1922
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
25,937

Special Features

Lengthy excerpts from other films by F.W. Murnau: Journey Into the Night (1920), The Haunted Castle (1921), The Last Laugh (1942), Faust (1926), and Tabu (1931); Choose from two musical scores in digital stereo; Photo gallery; Scene comparison: Novel, screenplay, & film; New and improved English intertitle translation; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Max Schreck Graf Orlok, Nosferatu
Alexander Granach Knock
Gustav von Wangenheim Hutter, His Employee
Greta Schroeder Ellen Hutter
G.H. Schnell Harding, Shipowner
Ruth Landshoff Annie
Gustav Boltz Prof. Sievers
Wolfgang Heinz Seaman
Albert Venohr Seaman
Karl Etlinger Sailor
John Gottowt Prof. Bulwer
Guido Herzfeld Innkeeper
Max Nemetz Captain of the "Demeter"
Hardy von Francois Doctor

Technical Credits
F.W. Murnau Director
Enrico Dieckmann Producer
Hans Erdmann Score Composer
Henrik Galeen Screenwriter
Albin Grau Art Director,Producer
Gunther Krampf Cinematographer
Fritz Arno Wagner Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Titles [5:08]
2. An Unholy Assignment [3:59]
3. An Eager Traveler [11:38]
4. Approaching Castle Orlock [3:42]
5. Repast With the Count [6:13]
6. Unfinished Business [6:42]
7. Hutter Bears Witness [4:18]
8. Evil Eucroacheth [3:06]
9. A Man of Science [4:14]
10. A Wife's Hope [6:11]
11. The Death Ship [5:23]
12. "The Master is Near!" [8:29]
13. Fate of the Empusa [4:28]
14. The Coming Plague [1:20]
15. Ellen Undaunted [6:18]
16. The Scapegoat [3:22]
17. Invitation to a Vampire [8:44]

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Nosferatu 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Predating the 1931 Dracula film starring Bela Lougsi, this film is by far the best of all Dracula films. This film is creepier than any of the slasher flicks that plague the horror genre today. Although, an old and silent picture, this film is chilling and scary. This film is what horror films should really be made of. Instead of working on gore and blood, filmakers should work mostly on what would give a person nightmares for days and what turns their blood cold. Greater than all the horror films of today, this film will be enjoyable to all the horror fans who love the Dracula films.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This 1922 silent classic is a must see for horror fans.And if you like vampire movies this one will most likely be the best one you've seen.Max Schreck is tremendous as the vampire.He is not the suave debonair vampire you are used to seeing.This vampire is a little rat-faced clawed fiend who isnt sexy in the least.Even Schreck's tip-toey walk comes across as sinister. Remember this film was made in 1922 so it will be grainy at times,overexposed at others and scratchy and underexposed too.But it doesnt matter.That all adds to the atmosphere of this brillant masterpiece from F.M. Murnau. Several different versions of this film exist.If the one you get has an annoying soundtrack turn it off and turn off the lights and watch this freaky deaky little vampire show you what a vampire movie should be like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! In this monstrously hideous movie, actor Max Shreck does one of his best scenes in the castle where he tries to creep up on Harker. You get to see a lot of the vampire's face and the way he walks made me think if I was in the film I would hide under a chair the moment the wooden door to the dining hall opens. Some children might get nightmares from this extremely enjoyable and old- fashioned masterpiece.
Justin_Smith More than 1 year ago
Nosferatu is a masterpiece of horror cinema by the gifted German film director F.W. Murnau. Until recently, we have only been able to enjoy this classic in a variety of less than adequate releases on VHS and DVD. Fortunately, Kino International has released a restored version of Nosferatu, provided by the F.W. Murnau Foundation. This restored version of Nosferatu looks great. We can now see every detail on the faces of each actor and Max Schreck still looks terrifying as Count Orlok. Not only have the scenes been restored to clarity, but the original color tinting has also be restored to the film. As a result we now see scenes of daylight and candlelight in yellow, scenes of night in bluish-green, and even a few scenes in a faded red. Along with the amazing clarity of the film, we are also presented with Hans Erdmann's original 1922 score, now available in 5.1 Stereo Surround or 2.0 Stereo. There is also a choice between the original German intertitles (with English subtitles) or English intertitles. The Ultimate DVD Edition is a two-disc set. The first disc contains Nosferatu with the original German intertitles and the second disc contains Nosferatu with the English intertitles, and the special features. The special features include a 52 minute documentary about Nosferatu and the early career of F.W. Murnau, titled The Language of Shadows: The Early Years and Nosferatu. The documentary is very informative, it includes still images from F.W. Murnau's first seven films, which are all considered lost. There is a bit of background about Murnau's childhood and years in the military, provided by his niece. We are also shown many of the great drawings that were used to design Count Orlok and his surroundings. There is an extensive look at the comparison of the shooting locations, both then and now. We are even shown on a map how close these areas are to each other. There is an interesting segment about F.W. Murnau's possible ties with the occult (however, it seems to be more hype than substance. In reality, it was Murnau's producer, Albin Grau, who was heavily involved with the occult). There is also a breakdown of the shooting schedule and a collection of paintings that influenced the set design in some of the scenes. The interviews are all in German with English subtitles, but the narration is in English. Over all it is an interesting and informative documentary. There is a 3 minute documentary titled, Nosferatu: An Historic Film Meets Digital Restoration. Although it is short, it is quite informative. They show you step by step how the film goes from a damaged original print to a restored version of the film. It is in German with English subtitles. The information goes by rather quickly, so you may want to watch it a second time to really grasp all of the information. Also on the special features, are clips from other F.W. Murnau films. They range in length from approximately 2 minutes to 11 minutes. The films included are: Journey Into the Night (1920), The Haunted Castle (1921), Phantom (1922), The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924), The Last Laugh (1924), Tartuffe (1925), Faust (1926), and Tabu (1931). The scene comparison is a nice feature. It contains an excerpt from Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula. It begins with Jonathon Harker first arriving at Dracula's castle and continues until the end of his first night in the castle. There is also a excerpt from the script of Nosferatu, showing the same scene as written by Hen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the definitive version of the silent Nosferatu. It is more complete than any other available version. Two soundtrack options and an expert commentary make this an enhanced pleasure and enrichening experience in subsequent viewings. The print is sharp and clear, the tinted sequences are preserved, the intertitles are well done, and the film runs 81 minutes - longer than any other silent Nosferatu. GET THIS ONE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're into old horror flicks, I highly recommend this. Even if you're not, it's an enjoyable film. Max Shreck plays, in my opinion, the most frightening vampire ever. This DVD allows two different music settings, including the original. This has great extras including the original poster art from 1922. Check out Shadow of the Vampire to get the sort of facts on F.W. Murnau and Max Shreck.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most amazing movie, when you consider the year this was made you have to realize that this is an amazing achievement. Schreck is absolutely incredable. There is no romance is this vampire tale. Pure gothic horror at its best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nothing that I have seen is as scary as this movie, which is saying something since they made it in '20s. There's so many famous images from this movie, like the vampire shadow walking up the stairs and Dracula sitting up in the coffin. It drags a little at the beginning, but it's still great.
mikemikegigi More than 1 year ago
When I saw this vesion of Dracula,it frightened the wool out of me.This is how a horror movie should be made.thank god I did not have any snacks with me while I was watching this or else I would have one big mess one my hands.
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