Sunday, April 19, 2015

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Director: F.W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroder, Alexander Granach, Ruth Landshoff, Wolfgang Heinz, Georg H. Schnell, John Gottowt, Gustav Botz, Max Nemetz, Albert Venohr, Eric van Viele

Loving husband and hard-working clerk Hutter (Wangenheim) is sent to Transylvania to deal with new client Count Orlok (Schreck), an eccentric figure wishing to move to Germany. After he arrives, Hutter witnesses strange occurrences leading him to believe Orlok to be the 'Bird of Death', aka Nosferatu, and concerned for the safety of his wife (Granach).

The first film based on the Bram Stoker novel Dracula - though an unauthorised version leading the production company to be sued and all original copies of the movie to be destroyed - this now iconic film wows not for what you think it is but what it truly is. Forever replicated, in the public world this masterpiece of horror cinema has lost what is special about it, but once viewed you can understand why it has continued to fascinate.

Schreck's incredible creation of the 'Bird of Death' has continued to be marvelled by cinemagoers over many generations; his presence and body language still scare as does Granach's performance. Schroder's performance has also continually been replicated in future films.

Shot on beautiful locations in Wismar and Lubeck in Northern Germany and around Northern Slovakia by the wonderful Fritz Arno Wagner (M, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse), I hope you continue to give this cult classic a chance as it pays the viewer so well once you get through it. The film was later remade by director Werner Herzog and was also the inspiration for the 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire, a fictionalised recount of the making of the film.

4.5/5

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