Nosferatu (Definitive Fully-restored version with original score) [Masters of Cinema]  [DVD]
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An iconic film of the German expressionist cinema, and one of the most famous of all silent movies, F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror continues to haunt and, indeed, terrify modern audiences with the unshakable power of its images. By teasing a host of occult atmospherics out of dilapidated set-pieces and innocuous real-world locations alike, Murnau captured on celluloid the deeply-rooted elements of a waking nightmare, and launched the signature "Murnau-style" that would change cinema history forever. In this first-ever screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a simple real-estate transaction leads an intrepid businessman deep into the superstitious heart of Transylvania. There he encounters the otherworldly Count Orlok portrayed by the legendary Max Schreck, in a performance the very backstory of which has spawned its own mythology who soon after embarks upon a cross-continental voyage to take up residence in a distant new land... and establish his ambiguous dominion. As to whether the count's campaign against the plague-wracked populace erupts from satanic decree, erotic compulsion, or the simple impulse of survival that remains, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all in this film that's like a blackout... Remade by Werner Herzog in 1979 (and inspiring films as diverse as Abel Ferrara's King of New York and The Addiction, and E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire), F. W. Murnau's surreal 1922 cine-fable remains the original and landmark entry in the entire global tradition of "the horror film". The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present, at long last, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror in its definitive restoration, complete with original intertitles and accompanied by the score that played with the film at the time of its initial release. SPECIAL FEATURES - 2 x DVD special edition of the 2007 F.W. Murnau-Stiftung restoration with the original score, Full-length audio commentary by Brad Stevens and R. Dixon Smith, A 96-page book 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 Imaginary); Gilberto Perez (author of The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium); Enno Patalas (former director of the Münchner Stadtmuseum/Filmmuseum, where 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 imagery, 53-minute German documentary about Murnau and the making of NOSFERATU complete with fascinating footage of the film's locations today, Restoration demonstration, More extras to be announced
"Nosferatu ... the name alone can chill the blood!". F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, released in 1922, was the first (albeit unofficial) screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Nearly 80 years on, it remains among the most potent and disturbing horror films ever made. The sight of Max Schreck's hollow-eyed, cadaverous vampire rising creakily from his coffin still has the ability to chill the blood. Nor has the film dated. Murnau's elision of sex and disease lends it a surprisingly contemporary resonance. The director and his screenwriter Henrik Gaalen are true to the source material, but where most subsequent screen Draculas (whether Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella or Gary Oldman) were portrayed as cultured and aristocratic, Nosferatu is verminous and evil. (Whenever he appears, rats follow in his wake.)
The film's full title--Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror)--reveals something of Murnau's intentions. Supremely stylised, it differs from Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919) or Ernst Lubitsch's films of the period in that it was not shot entirely in the studio. Murnau went out on location in his native Westphalia. As a counterpoint to the nightmarish world inhabited by Nosferatu, he used imagery of hills, clouds, trees and mountains (it is, after all, sunlight that destroys the vampire). It's not hard to spot the similarity between the gangsters in film noir hugging doorways or creeping up staircases with the image of Schreck's diabolic Nosferatu, bathed in shadow, sidling his way toward a new victim. Heavy chiaroscuro, oblique camera angles and jarring close-ups--the devices that crank up the tension in Val Lewton horror movies and edgy, urban thrillers such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice--were all to be found first in Murnau's chilling masterpiece. --Geoffrey Macnab
On the DVD: This two-disc set gives you the choice of watching Nosferatu in either a sepia-tinted version or the original black & white. Both, however, feature the same modern electronic music score by Art Zoyd (at the movie's lavish 1922 premiere a live orchestra performed a newly composed, quasi-Wagnerian score by Hans Erdmann). The anonymous commentary track is a scholarly critical appraisal of the movie that exhaustively documents every aspect of it, from Murnau's aesthetic use of framing devices to the homoerotic subtext of the Hutter-Orlock relationship. In the "Nosferatour" featurette the movie's locations (principally, the Baltic cities of Wismer and Lubeck) are shown as they are today, and there is also a look at the original artwork that served as Murnau's inspiration. Two text features provide a brief history of the vampire myth from Vlad the Impaler onwards, as well as a discussion of the controversy caused by the movie's release. Appropriately, a trailer for the John Malkovich-Willem Dafoe movie Shadow of the Vampire, which imagines that "Max Schreck" actually was a vampire employed by Murnau in his obsessive pursuit of verisimilitude, is also included. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Let's get the most important thing out of the way: this is by far the best looking version of Nosferatu I've ever seen. Most of the scratches are gone, & while this isn't from a 1st generation print, for the first time in my experience the picture is good enough to clearly see the actors facial expressions, which is essential for silent film & just makes Max Shreck even creepier! If it really was Shreck playing this role, it's a shame that he's otherwise considered an unimportant actor with so little (if anything else) remaining on film, as he's the creepiest vampire in film history. The picture is so clear that for the first time in my experience it's apparent in a scene near the end that part of Shreck's (otherwise amazing) makeup is a piece of cotton stuck to an ear. The image is not quite on a par with the restored Metropolis (which is the best looking 1920's German restoration I've ever seen), but it's quite good. In fact, you can compare pre-restoration scenes from the film in the excellent disc 2 documentary with the restored edition on disc 1 to see just how good the restoration is.
For those not familiar with Nosferatu, here's a BRIEF history. F.W. Murnau, one of the great Expressionist German directors filmed this unauthorized take off on Dracula in 1922. Bram Stoker's widow sued, & all prints were ordered destroyed. Fortunately for us, various collector's & export copies survived & since the 1950's(??) there have been various attempts to reclaim & restore a definitive edition. Based on the editions I've seen & reading about the 2002 BFI that I haven't seen, the current version is by far the best we've got.Read more ›
a 2 x DVD special edition of the 2007 F.W. Murnau-Stiftung restoration plus original score. This edition of NOSFERATU features Hans Erdmann's original music for the first time since the film's initial release in the 1920s. The original score in paper form has been located (no original recordings were ever made, it was only performed live in the 1920s). A lush, orchestral recording of this original score has been performed by Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken conducted by Berndt Heller
+ Full-length audio commentary by Brad Stevens and R. Dixon Smith - film historian.
+ A 96-page book 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 Imaginary); Gilberto Perez (author of The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium); Enno Patalas (former director of the Münchner Stadtmuseum/Filmmuseum, where 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 imagery
- 53-minute German documentary about Murnau and the making of Nosferatu complete with fascinating footage of the film's locations today
- Restoration demonstration
there might be a few other extras but nothing confirmed at this time.
The cover art is taken from Albin Grau's poster of the time.
On top of this edition "KINO" films is releasing their own version AND there is a groovy "STEELBOOK" edition available from AMAZON.DE which I have pre-ordered.Read more ›
1. Do not buy any releases by Elstree Hill. They may be cheap, but there is obviously a good reason for this!
2. Amazon.com - please show reviews which pertain to the cover picture shown. Too many times reviews do not correllate with the product advertised.
The music is also a real joy, as it is probably the "definitive" score for the film, the very score that was performed at the movie's premier. You will never get much better than that, and it fits the film wonderfully. While James Bernard did a great job on the BFI release, the Hammer Horror artefacts were too overbearing at times. However, the music on this release is perfectly unbiased and fits the movie like a glove.
The special features are about as good as can be expected for this nearly-lost and mysterious film. On disc two, there is one interesting documentary that delves into the history and background of the film, as well as a brief featurette about the restoration process. The documentary is good, revisiting some of the shooting locations and exploring Murnau's past and the occult background to the film, but if you're hoping for any footage of a non-Nosferatu Max Schreck like I was, then you'll be disappointed! Back on disc one, you can find a useful commentary track that delves into the film's imagery and influence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The original 'vampyre', as scary as all get gone, with the talons and the weird bald head.Published 1 month ago by walkingman
Seen this at the Queen's University Belfast film theatre during the centenary of movies, that's why I bought it.Published 2 months ago by sjh
Vintage horror at its best... this silent classic benefits sans sound...it intensifies the chilling spectre that is Max Shreck...Published 4 months ago by T. Ryan
cinema history at its best! This version is remastered and is the nearest to Bram Stokers original story that I've seen . Read morePublished 5 months ago by MAGGIE