Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)
One of the earliest vampire films, based on Bram Stoker's DRACULA (but without the permission of Stoker's widow, resulting in many years of lawsuits), this was the scariest movie of its day. Max Schreck stars as the rat-faced count, with direction by F.W. Murnau. Much of the credit for the film is commonly given to production designer Albin Grau, a painter, architect and occultist who wrote about vampires. 3 stars

© 2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.
"Nosferatu" is available on video and on DVD

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Trivia about Nosferatu, courtesy the Internet Movie DataBase:

* All known prints and negatives were destroyed under the terms of settlement of a lawsuit by Stoker's widow. However, the film would subsequently surface in other countries.

* The character Orlock is never seen blinking onscreen.

* Clips from the original "Nosferatu" movie are included in the rock band Queen's "Under Pressure" video.

* Filmed between August and October 1921.

* Many scenes featuring Graf Orlock were filmed during the day, and when viewed in black and white, this becomes extremely obvious. This potential blooper is corrected when the "official" versions of the movie are tinted blue to represent night.

* Ruth Landshoff, the actress who played the hero's sister once described a scene in which she fled the vampire, running along a beach. That scene is not in any version of the film

* The character of Nosferatu is only seen on screen for a bit less than nine minutes in total throughout the whole film.

* The only complete, original copy is said to be owned by the German Max Schreck collector Jens Geutebrück.

* After the original production company went out of business, the negative was sold and used in a 1930 re-release under the title "Die zwölfe stunde". It includes scene not existing in the original movie, such as rustic dances, a wedding ceremony and a requiem mass. Some movie historians (including Lotte Eisner) wonder if these could have been shot during the production, then cut down. The editor managed to put the beginning shots of the original movie at the end to get a happy ending. A print exists at the Cinémathèque Française.

* An American re-release version changes all the names to fit the Dracula story.

* Five original prints of the movie have survived to date: 1) The French re-release print dating from 1926/27 and preserved at the French Cinemateque. It is in black and white and is slightly abridged. (This is the print which has served as the source for American versions, including the current allegedly-'restored' DVD release.) 2) A re-edited German print dating from 1930, titled "Die zwölfte Stunde". It is also in black and white and also held at the French Cinemateque. 3) A German print of the original 1922 version preserved at the State Filmarchives of East Germany. It is in black and white and is in poor shape, but its significance lies in the preservation of most of the original German-language intertitles. 4) The original French release print dating from 1922 and discovered in the vaults of the French Cinemateque in 1980s. It is in poor shape, but its significance lies in the fact that it is the only surviving print with original color tints. In 1994, the movie was faithfully reconstructed by European scholars utilizing all of the exisiting prints, restoring the movie to its approximate original length, color and intertitles. None of the versions currently available for home cinema (ld/vhs/dvd) presents the ultimate scholarly restoration.

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