Nosferatu (silent, 1922) Reviewed

Max Schreck as Count Orlock in Nosferatu.

Max Schreck as Count Orlok in Nosferatu.

NOSFERATU (1922) aka Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
The first filmed adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Draculais arguably the best. Though not a direct adaptation in name, due to some stubbornness on the part of Stoker’s widow and estate, German silent-era maverick F.W. Murnau changed the names and locations and added his German expressionistic aesthetic. Still creepy to look at, it will likely bore the life out of those whose only experience with silent films involves Charlie Chaplin. Max Schreck embodies all that is vulgar and horrific about the vampire mythos playing Count Drac- er…Orlok, with his talon-fingers, pointy ears, misshapen skull and wild eyes – he’s a long way from the Hungarian gentlemen we associate with Universal’s Count. Nosferatu is plenty rewarding for film school students, vampire fanatics and silent film aficionados even if there’s not much here to interest, say, teen girls at a slumber party. Regardless, it’s a classic and with good reason – it terrified audiences during its initial release in a way that modern movies can’t. No one had ever seen anything like it at the time. Watch for a reverse photography carriage ride to the Count’s castle for some very interesting early special effects that manage to capture the true foreboding that that scene deserves and other adaptations squandered. Though it’s available in many public-domain collections, the restored DVD is better looking and has a solid essay commentary. Klaus Kinski played Orlok in Werner Herzog’s long-winded 1979 retelling. Shadow of the Vampire, starring John Malchovich as Murnau, fictionalizes the making of Nosferatu to mixed affect.
***

~ by Number5ive on July 20, 2009.

One Response to “Nosferatu (silent, 1922) Reviewed”

  1. I’ve only ever seen this in bits and pieces. With a cleaned up version, I just might get around to it.

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