Overview

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a classic 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok.

Storyline

Wisbourg, Germany based estate agent Knock dispatches his associate, Hutter, to Count Orlok’s castle in Transylvania as the Count wants to purchase a isolated house in Wisbourg. They plan on selling him the one across the way from Hutter’s own home. Hutter leaves his innocent wife, Ellen, with some friends while he is away. Hutter’s trek is an unusual one, with many locals not wanting to take him near the castle where strange events have been occurring. Once at the castle, Hutter does manage to sell the Count the house, but he also notices and feels unusual occurrences, primarily feeling like there is a dark shadow hanging over him, even in the daytime when the Count is unusually asleep. Hutter eventually sees the Count’s sleeping chamber in a crypt, and based on a book he has recently read, believes the Count is really a vampire or Nosferatu. While Hutter is trapped in the castle…Written by Huggo

Interesting facts

  • Count Orlok is only seen blinking one time on screen (near the end of part 1).
  • Max Schreck is seen on screen, even before his character Graf Orlok is presented to the audience. He appears briefly opposite Hutter at the desk at the office of Knock, looking up from writing when Knock calls on Hutter to give him the assignment of going to see the count.
  • Filmed between August and October 1921.
  • Many scenes featuring Graf Orlok 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.
  • All known prints and negatives were destroyed under the terms of settlement of a lawsuit by Bram Stoker’s widow. However, the film would subsequently surface in other countries.
  • The only complete, original copy is said to be owned by the German Max Schreck collector Jens Geutebrück.
  • Director F.W. Murnau found Max Schreck “strikingly ugly” in real life and decided the vampire makeup would suffice with just pointy ears and false teeth.
  • The creature that they say is a werewolf, during the scene at the Inn, is actually a Hyena.
  • Gustav von Wangenheim was not director F.W. Murnau’s first or even his second choice, but his third one.
  • The movie was banned in Sweden due to excessive horror. The ban was finally lifted in 1972
  • Still, after 85 years, virtually all of the exteriors are left intact in the cities of Wismar and Lubeck.
  • There have been different first names for the main characters in different English versions. In a few, Hutter is called “Thomas”, in others is “Jonathon”. Although Hutter’s wife is credited as “Ellen”, in some versions she is called “Nina”.
  • This is the very first time in film history in which a vampire is killed by sunlight. F.W. Murnau knew that he would be sued for borrowing heavily from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula without permission so he changed the ending so that he could say this film and Dracula were not exactly the same.
  • The concept in popular culture that sunlight is lethal to vampires is based in this film.
  • Included among the ’1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die’, edited by Steven Jay Schneider.

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About the Author

Richi
Cinema is my passion, I love tv shows and films and love sharing my experience.