Nosferatu (1922) Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens  

17 Feb

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Like most folks in their youth, I had my gothic phase and due to certain circumstances I had to relive it recently – but without the fun stuff like dark clothes and makeup. The topic I will be revising today will be the myth of vampires and its entrance in the cinematic world. Why vampires you may ask? That is because, as I said above, I recently got into gothic again, but only literature wise. After reading one of the first novels presenting the myth, which is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1897), I went in the search of the first adaptation of the film, which is F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” from 1922.
The interesting fact about this film is that due to copy right issues the director had to change the names and certain scenes from the novel, even so the film was destroyed because it did not receive authorization, but a few copies were saved. Because of this now there are a few versions of Nosferatu and there are some discontinuities in the film due to the lost or damaged footage.
It does not follow the exact story line of the novel and many of the important characters are either eliminated completely – such as Quincy Morris – or their importance is being minimalized – such as Abraham Van Helsing. This gives it a more simple feeling, easier to be understood by the mass audience of the time.
The film is a silent classic in which we are presented with the freshly married couple, Ellen (Greta Schröder) and Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim), that are separated while Hutter goes to Transylvania to take care of estate business with Count Orlok (Max Schreck). My opinion about it was, that the exaggerated gestures and the narrative made the film seem like a parody of the novel, but the use of German Expressionism and the aesthetics of the actors gave the feeling of fright that this sort of genres should.
This great combination of humour and horror is what makes this film unique. If you are a vampire fan and you are upset with what Hollywood has done to them lately, then I suggest you try and watch this film. It is a great change of pace from all the modern technology and special effects and reminds us all, what vampires are all about. Other films that I suggest you check out are:
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
• Vampyr (1932)
• Dracula (1931)

And my favourite adaptation – Dracula (1992)

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