Top positive review
The first cinema adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and quite possibly the best vampire movie ever!
on 9 September 2015
This 1922 mute film is an impressive masterpiece of cinema and possibly the best vampire movie ever. Albeit very old, it is still not aged - and I think it never will. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.
"Nosferatu" is the first cinema adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", but as the producers were unable to acquire the rights to the title, it was decided to change the name of the main character to Graf (or Count) Orlok. Similarly the word "vampire" was replaced with "nosferatu", a term used in Romanian folk tales to design many kind of sinister forces of the night, which Bram Stoker considered in his book as a synonym of "vampire". Some other changes were also introduced, but the main story nevertheless follows the lines of Bram Stoker's book - with the exception of the ending...
The film begins therefore with a certain Thomas Hutter, who lives in the fictitious German city of Wisborg and is a quite happy fellow, married to beautiful Ellen. Then one day his employer, a somehow shady real estate dealer named Knock, sends Hutter to Transylvania to visit a new client named Count Orlok, who desires to acquire a residence in Wisborg. And then the film REALLY begins...
This being a black and white silent movie, it is of course very different from most of other vampire films - but this is precisely what gives it an unique flavour. F.W. Murnau used all the tricks available in his trade at this time to make this film really scary and especially incredibly atmospheric and he succeeded - BIG TIME! The vampire is in no way a dangerously charming aristocrat as in later films with Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee - here he is a freakishly creepishly grotesque creature, which makes the viewer feel uncomfortable from the first moment we see him. Actor Max Schreck who plays the vampire (and who by the way was a handsome man) was completely transformed by make up and other characterisation but he especially did an incredible job by using the body language in such a way that we really have an impression that Count Orlok is NOT human! This is an incredible performance!
The performance of actors, the atmospheric music, the tricks of lights and shadows and impressive cinematography, all this contributed to make this film into something exceptionnal. Released in 1922 "Nosferatu" is a very old, even ancient thing, but it didn't really age and probably never will anymore, but to the contrary, it will keep haunting generation after generation of humans - exactly like a vampire...)))
The "Masters of Cinema" DVD is a very good version, cleaned and restored, to the greatest delight of the viewers. I am very glad that I bought and watched it and I intend to keep this DVD as long as DVD players exist. I don't have words strong enough to recommend it so I will just say, BUY IT, SEE IT and KEEP IT!