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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
Nosferatu [1922] [DVD]
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 October 2014
This is a great slice of grand guignol that dares you to take it at face value and almost has the distancing laughter freeze on your face. It is a tribute to the imagination of Murnau that he presents such startling imagery that certain views remain etched on the mind, even those that don't seem particularly sinister, yet a macabre vision emerges chillingly as it progresses. The spectral figure of Count Orlok, the uncanny charge around his presence, the naive, ardent Hutter, his beautiful wife Ellen and her strange longing for him, but also her fascination with the vampire, the sight of the ghost ship always looming from the right of the screen, all compel the attention. When you add, as Christopher Frayling points out in his introduction, the understated homoerotic hints, the possible readings of Orlok as a symbol of Nazism, or having an anti-Semitic overtone, and the Freudian reading, you get something very fascinating and hard to be sure about. Even the figure of the vampire: is he dead in the day, or just sleeping a profound sleep, a ghost, or a real presence, what is the strange connection to the plague, and how do his victims react - is shrouded in mystery. It is subtitled "A Symphony of Horrors", and the score by James Bernard in the BFI edition is full of unsettling harmonies, strange yearning and romantic impulses, using a series of leitmotifs. And there is that sense of humour that has Ellen staring out to sea sitting amid sand-dunes where countless crosses have been blown by the wind, presumably to sailors lost at sea. The fact that they go unremarked on is a typically macabre humorous gesture, of which there are many.
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on 14 May 2008
Students of the horror film know that it really hit its stride with Nosferatu, Murnau's version of the Dracula story. With Max Schrek (was he or wasn't he??) playing the lead role to perfection, and some astounding use of light and shade, this film set the standard for years to come.

Murnau really got inside the vampire legend, and drew on many sources, although primarliy of course he used Dracula, which cause many problems after the film was released.

I have had a double disc version by Eureka for some time, and wondered if the new version was necessary, but after reading some of the reviews here I took the plunge, and very am glad that I did. The film is presented in only a single version this time, rather than the option of Black & White or Sepia, but the restoration is sharper than before, plus the score is the original one used for the film on its first release, a big improvement on the synthesised bonus score offered on the previous Eureka release.

An excellent commentary, a second disc of extras and documentaries, a superb 80 page book, and a much improved cover make this an essential buy if you haven't got the earlier, or indeed, any other version, but if you already have this film on your shelves, I would upgrade without hesitation to this Masters Of Cinema release.
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on 25 November 2015
Nosferatu (1922) is one of the most iconic horror films ever, but watching the wrong version can kill it more surely than a stake through the heart. The majority of copies around are incomplete, in black and white and have badly inappropriate music. Amazon unhelpfully lumps all the reviews together so before buying, copy and paste this URL into your browser:

http://www.brentonfilm.com/articles/nosferatu-the-ultimate-blu-ray-and-dvd-guide

This in-depth article details Nosferatu's history, different versions, and every restored Blu-ray and DVD available worldwide!
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on 8 November 2009
This review has been significantly shortened to fit Amazon.UK's 1,000 word limit.

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. The clarity varies somewhat (as several prints were used), but it's mainly quite sharp & watchable. The restoration was done by noted Murnau scholar Luciano Berriatúa who also produced the excellent documentary that's on both the Kino & Eureka. There is also a restored musical score that was originally composed for the film in 1922. It's quite nice & it works really well with the film. The fidelity of the 2007 full orchestra recording is a little too good for a film this old; it feels a bit disorienting. They used a combination of the original German title cards, & where not available very close facsimiles. Both the titles & some of the book pages are absolutely gorgeous; it makes me wish I could read German & not ruin the artwork with the English subs!

For me there are 3 minor shortcomings to the film & package:
1. The tinting. This has nothing to due with Eureka; but the yellow tinting is much stronger then the other colors, I wish they would have used a weaker yellow.

2. The book is really nice, but the type is just to small for my 50 year old eye, even with reading glasses. I was able to read the entire book, but it was difficult.

3. I'm a collector, & as such I would have liked a lot more info on how they tracked down the prints used in this, why they're the best, if the principles believe there is any chance of ever improving on this edition, etc. There is a comment in the book that (if I remember correctly) some years ago noted Murnau scholar Lotte Eisner told Berriatúa of a French print that was the best existent & where she believed it was; that was the main print used here (& was new information to me), but again I would have enjoyed lots more detail. The commentary also barely touches on this.

The documentary is excellent. Of the information presented, one thing completely new to me is that Albin Grau who was both the film's producer & art director was a practitioner of Black Magic & a peer of Alistar Crowley; that's likely a big part of why this film feels so real. Both Grau's sets & book pages & Murnau's filming are really well done. The book & documentary also describe a story of Grau meeting a Romanian who told a tale of his father being a real vampire... There also is some useful elaboration on the film's budget problems; they made one of the greatest films of all time on what was basically an Ed Wood budget, which is said to be why much of the film is shot in real locations to save cost. In retrospect, the locations are part of the film's strength & atmosphere. I only find 1 scene hokey; they used a hyena as a werewolf. The commentators actually liked that touch, but I think a real wolf would have been a bit scarier! The documentary, commentary & book all also mention Shadow Of The Vampire, a recent semi fictional biopic on the making of Nosferatu. I highly recommend Shadow. Along with Nosferatu & Lugosi's Dracula, it's one of the top 3 vampire pictures ever.

I chose to be wordy on this, because I really think Nosferatu is the best horror film of all time. The bottom line is that this is a superb restoration. To be honest, at times I felt like i was watching the film for the first time; this restoration is that good. It isn't like the Metropolis restoration where the quality just smacked me in the face; I watched this twice (once with & one without the commentary) & it gradually crept up on me just how much better this edition is.
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on 17 October 2014
great film, silent films have a certain haunting effect modern films cannot quite capture
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on 5 June 2005
the 1922 classic Nosferatu is the best vampire (and in my mind the best horror)film ever made; beated only by the 1979 remake by Werner Herzog.
I orginialy saw this movie when I was in High school during a big horror fan phase, and unlike many other movies I saw at the time, this one has remained not only an all time fave but one of the biggest influences on my taste in movies.
more a work of art and a movie, everything the feature is beautifully styled and is totaly age-less even 90 years on.
Although it is a "Dracula" adaptation, due to the creators inablilty to get the rights to the novel, characters and places were changed (in my opnion for the better). Max Shreik's portrail of Count Orlok is classic and chilling even today, much more firghtening than any other vampire act I've seen before or since. A totally evil yet some how patheic and sad man whose only wish is to love and be loved.
A must for any movie collection.
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on 27 March 2015
excellent value and quality
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on 30 November 2007
This is an important release. I doubt if even the director saw the movie looking as good as it does now! I honestly believe he'd sob with joy and amazement at the way his great film has been honoured. The restoration is quite stunning. Here we have a film from the birth of cinema looking immaculate. If you like horror films then this film has to be in your collection. If you like cinema you should have this film. Sorry to go on but after years of watching scratched, badly cropped and 'knackered' copies Masters of Cinema have made my day. Check out the 'extras' and 80 page book! It's a joy.
Can we please have Cabinet of Dr Caligari restored now please?
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2009
This first on screen dramatisation of Bram Stoker's classic Gothic tale, Dracula (the name was changed for copyright reasons), set the bar incredibly high for later films. F.W Murnau serves up an amazingly dark vision, quite different from the opera capes and suavity traditionally associated with Dracula ever since Bela Lugosi's characterisation. Apart from the name changes, this version is one of the closest to the book I can remember.

Subtitled `Eine Symphonie Des Grauens' (A Symphony Of Terror), the piece seems almost operatic in its scale and flows like a nightmarish ballet. The accompanying soundtrack, a new full orchestral recording of the newly rediscovered original score, helps create this feel.

Max Schreck's Count Orlock is as far removed from Christopher Lee's Gentlemanly Count as it is possible to get. Here the vampire is presented as a force of nature, totally bestial and demonic. Utterly unable to integrate into normal society and pass for human he lives a parasite on the outskirts, using low cunning and demonic powers in order to obtain a new food supply. Where as you wouldn't mind having later vampires as dinner guests, this creature is totally without redeeming features.

It's not just Max Schreck's amazing make up and utterly convincing performance that makes this film. The cinematography is groundbreaking and iconic. Who can forget those scenes of coffins on carts trundling along empty streets, of misshapen shadows creeping around at night (how can a mere shadow make such an impression?) and the iconic shot of Orlock rising from his coffin to terrorise the ship's crew. There are images and scenes here that are so powerful that they will be familiar to people who have never actually seen the film.

Aside from the technical mastery, the film itself is adsorbing and totally chilling, well worth a watch by anyone interested in classic cinema. The presentation on this disk is another triumph from the impressive Eureka masters of cinema series. The film is nicely cleaned up and presented with the best possible picture (allowing for the fact it's nearly 90 years old) in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Intertitles are in German, with the option for subtitles in a variety of languages including English. The soundtrack is in an impressive 5.1 surround sound, and the new orchestration matches the film perfectly. There is a second disk with a series of impressive documentaries regarding the making of the film, and the restoration process. There is also an 80 page booklet with an interesting series of essays.

All in all, a 10 out of 10 presentation of an iconic classic. Well worth the money. Recommended for all fans of classic horror films, German art house cinema, historical cinema, or just good films in general.

PS - for an interesting (fictionalised) account of the making of the film, I recommend you look out `Shadow of the Vampire', starring Willem Dafoe as Schreck and John Malkovitch as Murnau. The central premise is that Schreck really WAS a vampire, used by Murnau in an attempt for perfect realism.
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on 28 May 2011
Nosferatu has been one of my fave films for some years now. The first real vampire film! (And I'm not usually into these things) and it was with excitement that I received this shiny new Eureka edition for Christmas.
We're lucky to have this film, considering Mrs. Stoker tried to have it destroyed for y'know, unbeleivably ripping off Dracula without permission. But even with repeated (supposedly sucessful) attempts to remove every copy, somehow this film has survived.
And I'm so glad!
Points in brief -

Those familier with the Dracula tale will need no review of the storyline. The names are different, but most of the plot is there. As for Orlok (Dracula)... he is superb. Max Schrek did a fabulous job, right down to the lack of blinking, the stiff movement becoming suddenly frighteningly swift and smooth when he swoops in for Ellen (Mina), the lack of emotion, bar a few moments where Orlok exhibits some fabulous tinges of excitement, relief and finally, terror. But my favourite part of him has to be that magnificent shadow, that creeps up stairs and reaches out, opening doors and stealing souls. A lot of older films these days can't be said to be scary anymore, and while this may be true of Nosferatu for some, he certainly still sends a chill down my spine.

This edition features the original score, which is unintrusive and adds to, rather then blares out, what's on the screen. It also features tinting, original to the first-aired copies if not to the copies sent abroad.

And thats before we get to the on-screen images. When I first put this film in and hit play, I had to pause it and shed a few tears. This edition is cleaned to absolute perfection. It's beautiful.

I really hope more people buy and watch this film. It's finally been given the attention it deserves, and it certainly sends me up and down the emotional scale when I watch it. Long live Nosferatu!
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