FANCY ENJOYING AN EARLY SILENT HORROR MOVIE that shocked cinema-goers in
the 1920's? Yes. Then you must see the wonderfully nostalgic Nosferatu:
A Symphony of Horror, fully-restored and accompanied by the 'missing'
magnificent original score that has not been heard since it played with the
film over 85 years ago.
Part of the Masters of Cinema series, this is the best looking, definitive and
complete edition of Nosferatu and it is the only officially-licensed
version available in the UK. Now with original German intertitles, the masterly
Nosferatu is an iconic film of the German Expressionist Cinema and was
one of the most successful horror films of all time the first ever, although
unauthorised, screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula by the director
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau.
Nosferatu starts off with an indication that the year is AD 1838 and
showing pages from a book entitled Chronicle of The Great Death in Wisborg.
The pages read: "Does this not sound to you like the midnight cry of the Deathbird?
Take care in saying it, lest life's images fade into shadows and ghostly dreams
rise from your heart and nourish them-selves on your blood." Sets the scene
nicely, doesn't it? Are you chilled already?
Sepia-tinted images stir the imagination and Murnau shoots through a soft-focus
circle very much the order of the day. The film introduces Hutter and
his wife Ellen and the creepy Knock, a property agent.
To Ellen's dismay, Knock sends her husband into the superstitious heart of Transylvania
to sell an abandoned building opposite their home in Wisborg to the sinister
Count Orlok portrayed superbly by the legen-dary Max Schreck in a performance
the very back-story of which has spawned its own mythology.
At an inn, Hutter reads a book that is the stuff of nightmares and is told of
local legends. On his way to meet the count, he believes himself to be hallucinating
as strange things happen; and once at Orlok's eerie castle, Hutter sees things
that make him suspicious. Eventually the count ships himself off to Wisborg
and Hutter returns to his wife. Frighteningly, from the moment Orlok arrives,
people start falling sick from a supposed plague.
Furthermore, the old book that Hutter has brought back with him and forbidden
his wife to read lies open…
The publicity machine says: "As to whether the count's campaign against the
plague-wracked populace erupts from satanic decree, erotic compulsion or the
simple impulse of survival, it remains, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all
in this film that has the intrigue and mystery of a blackout…"
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is one of the most famous of the movie
silents. It was remade by Werner Herzogin in 1979 and has inspired films as
diverse as Abel Ferrara's King of New York and The Addiction,
to E Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire. However, F W Murnau's surreal
1922 cine-fable Nosferatu remains the original and landmark entry in
the entire global tradition of 'the horror film'.
And Murnau's Nosferatu continues to haunt today's audiences with the
power of its images. The director has wrung an impressive array of occult atmospherics
out of dilapidated set pieces and innocuous real- world locations. He captured
on celluloid the deeply-rooted elements
of a waking nightmare and launched the signature 'Murnau-style' that would change
cinema history forever.
Don't underestimate this great silent it is well worth watching for both
its historic and filmic value. Subtitles are clear and pertinent and there is
nothing about this little gem to dislike.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is a special edition of the 2007 F W
Murnau-Stiftung restoration with the original score. There is a full-length
audio commentary by Brad Stevens and R Dixon Smith and also a 53-minute German
documentary about Murnau and the making of Nosferatu, complete with fascinating
footage of the film's locations today. A restoration demonstration is also included
and additional extras are expected to be announced.
A special 96-page book is also included, containing articles by David Skal (author
of Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen);
Thomas Elsaesser (author of Weimar Cinema and After: Germany's Historical
Imagery); Gilberto Perez (author of The Material Ghost: Films and Their
Medium); Enno Patalas (former director of the Münchner Stadtmuseum/ Filmmuseum,
he was responsible for the restoration of many German classics, including Nosferatu);
a newly-translated archival piece on vampires
by the film's producer Albin Grau; notes on the film's restoration; and archival
One of The Masters of Cinema series, Nosferatu:
A Symphony of Horror is on sale from 19 November 2007 as a two-DVD set.
Catalogue No: EKA40214 | Barcode: 5060000402148 | Certificate: PG | Running
Time: 93 minutes | Format: B&W | Genre: Horror | Director: F W Murnau | 1921,