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Nosferatu (1922)

Cast: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, more...
Director: F.W. Murnau
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Horror, Vampires, Silent, Classic Horror, Classic Horror, Silent Horror, Silent Horror
Running Time: 80 min.
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film Nosferatu isn't merely a variation on Bram Stoker's Dracula: it's a direct steal, so much so that Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain that the Murnau film be suppressed and destroyed. The character names have been changed to protect the guilty (in the original German prints, at least), but devotees of Stoker will have little trouble recognizing their Dracula counterparts. The film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter (Gustav von Wagenheim) has arrived to close a sale with the reclusive Herr Orlok (Max Schreck). Despite the feverish warnings of the local peasants, Hutter insists upon completing his journey to Orlok's sinister castle. While enjoying his host's hospitality, Hutter accidently cuts his finger-whereupon Orlok tips his hand by staring intently at the bloody digit, licking his lips. Hutter catches on that Orlok is no ordinary mortal when he witnesses the vampiric nobleman loading himself into a coffin in preparation for his journey to Bremen. By the time the ship bearing Orlok arrives at its destination, the captain and crew have all been killed-and partially devoured. There follows a wave of mysterious deaths in Bremen, which the local authorities attribute to a plague of some sort. But Ellen, Hutter's wife, knows better. Armed with the knowledge that a vampire will perish upon exposure to the rays of the sun, Ellen offers herself to Orlok, deliberately keeping him "entertained" until sunrise. At the cost of her own life, Ellen ends Orlok's reign of terror once and for all. Rumors still persist that Max Schreck, the actor playing Nosferatu, was actually another, better-known performer in disguise. Whatever the case, Schreck's natural countenance was buried under one of the most repulsive facial makeups in cinema history-one that was copied to even greater effect by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's 1979 remake - Nosferatu the Vampyre. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Nightmarish by Texan99 September 5, 2010 - 3:04 PM PDT
I don't know what Roger Ebert means when he says this movie "doesn't scare us, but it haunts us." This is the only movie I have ever seen that I had nightmares about afterward. This Dracula is no suave seducer. He's like some kind of elemental death force that comes up out of the ground to drag you into horror and corruption. He's putrefaction incarnate. These images are unbelievably powerful.

One of the oldest horror films by chester March 6, 2003 - 11:04 AM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
An excellent choice for your first foray into Silent Film, whether you love horror movies, classic film, or movie making in general. Very creepy, this is a great movie, especially for a film 80 years old. The biggest plus is the commentary shedding a whole new light on feature. Be sure to see Shadow of the Vampire afterwards...

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.61)
363 Votes
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Moveline's 100 Best Foreign Films
This list was published in Moveline's July 1996 issue.
Village Voice's 100 Best Films of the 20th Century
When the Village Voice held its "First Annual Film Critics' Poll" they asked 50 or so film critics (like Molly Haskell, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Andrew Sarris) to rank their top ten best films of the century. This is the result.

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