on 14 September 2007
The Eureka edition of Nosferatu includes the following:
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. It boasts amongst other things a picture gallery and a 60 minute documentary by Luciano Berriatúa
about the director FW Murnau called "the language of shadows". The commentary on the 1970s version of Nosferatu by Werner Herzog states Nosferatu as the greatest German film of all time.
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.
on 7 June 2013
I read the rave reviews of this film and ordered it not realizing that it wasn't the Masters of Cinema release that everyone lauds to the heavens. Instead it's a shoddy, blurry wreck of a release from Elstree Hill with the film's proper aspect ratio of 4:3 completely skewed.
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.
on 8 December 2007
I've seen and owned several copies of Murnau's Nosferatu in my time, and to say that this is the best quality you can find in public distribution would be an understatement. Even compared to the excellent BFI release, which I previously considered to be the best version that I would ever see, this MoC release just blows it out of the water. The scratches and flaws have been digitally removed on the whole, or otherwise kept to an absolute minimum, and it provides (at times) a stunningly clear tinted image that betrays the film's 85 years. But the real beauty comes from seeing how utterly stable the picture is. Still screenshots do this no justice, but the image is no longer jerking around on your screen like the cameraman was drunk.
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.
The main flaw with this release is that everything except the commentary track is in subtitled german, and that includes the documentary and ALL of the text/intertitles in the film. This does comply with the authenticity of the restoration, and it doesn't bother me, but it could be considered lazy when it comes to the documentary. It's also a shame that the special features weren't more exhaustive. At least one photograph of Max Schreck sans-makeup would have been nice, and some interviews or featurettes on the commercial influence of the film would have been really cool. It was good of them to include a very nice 80-page booklet with the DVD though, which contains a number of nice essays.
If you consider the film alone, the picture and the audio quality make everything worthwhile. This the most watchable and authentic version of the film that you can get your hands on. You really won't regret it!
on 23 October 2003
The BFI version of this film is the best version available. Do not get tempted to buy other versions of this classic because they are either cheaper or boast an additional disc with audio commentary. These version have either scenes missing or have terrible music.
The BFI version on the other hand has:
1. Brilliant music by James Bernard - the same man who scored the classic hammer horror films. It is quite simply the best music that has accompanied this film and really adds to the atmosphere.
2. The nights scene are actually tinted blue when it is night time. This makes the story easier to understand, after all the hole point of the story is that Nosferatu will die in day light.
3. The picture quality is pristine given the films age.
4. A really interesting documentary by Christopher Frayling on the films origins and restoration.
5. The film is restored by Photoplay Productions - which should be recommendation enough.
This film should be added to any DVD fans collection, but please, please make sure that you buy the BFI version, you will not bw sorry.
on 8 October 2007
Finally! This is one release I have been waiting for with great anticipation, ever since I heard it was being restored and I can safely say, it was well worth the wait. Indeed, it is an absolute masterpiece! Its a definitive must have, for anyone who is interested in silent film. I own the beautiful steelbook german edition from Transit (as i live in Berlin) but please note, it is entirely w/o English subtitles!
The film itself looks utterly incredible. We have never seen it look so good.The picture is crystal clear, sharp and very detailed, its practically flawless.
The original colour tinting, brings the chapters alive. All previous releases literally pale in comparison.
I already own the soundtrack score from a 1995 RCA/BMG cd, but combined with the moving images and in 5.1 Nosferatu looks and sounds wonderful. Although I must say I really enjoyed the James Bernard score for the BFI release, this is the way it was intened to be heard. Therefore, I highly recommend this splendid dvd and by buying it you support the hard work that went into its reconstruction and invest in future releases to come. Congratulations to Transit on their excellent work in restoring this and other classics, such as Battleship Potemkin, Metropolis or Der Golem. Well done!
on 17 January 2004
If youre a fan of Nosferatu and want to see the original uncut version with the best quality out there (restored by the Munchner Filmmuseum and the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna - It replicates the tints and tones revealed in the nitrate ORIGINAL)..... then this is the BEST release of Nosferatu out there.
The soundtrack is great, music score by James Bernard (who scored many horror movies including 58s Dracula).
The DVD also includes a film essay by Professor Sir Frayling, Bio of Murnau and Bernard and DVD-ROM notes on the restoration of the film.
There are other versions out there, one including 2 dvds and a NOT COMPLETE version of the movie, with lousy misplaced soundtrack.
This is the only version you need if you want the REAL thing.
on 17 February 2006
Of all the films based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker (and ther've been alot) this is by far the best. The irony is in the fact Stokers wife tried to get it destroyed! She got close but thankfully didn't succeed because this film is a must see for any self respecting film fan.
F.W. Murnau shows off his substantial directing prowess to the full. It's haunting, dreamlike and at times even disturbing and the fact that it's a silent film only adds to the eerie quality. The new soundtrack (full to the brim with ticking clocks, rolling waves and keeing wind) is sublime. Max Shrek shines as the evil Count Orlock, bringing a sense of dignity and even vunerablity to the part some consider a fore-runner to Boris Karloffs portrayal of Frankenstien's monster.
It's like watching a painting come to life. This film is art and entertainment rolled into one.
on 8 September 2013
Avoid this version like the symbolic plague of death brought about by Nosferatu himself! This is from a joke of a company called Elstree Hill and they are responsible for some of the worst crimes committed against film.
Caring naught for copy quality in either audio or video reproduction, this is about as bad as you could ever see it. I have third generation VHS copies of films that look better than this. It really is more horrible than anything you see on the screen...assuming you can actually make out what is happening on the screen, that is. I remember being caught out by Elstree Hill before, with their equally terrible version of Edward D. Wood's "BRIDE OF THE ATOM". I wanted this as a companion piece to my other Bela Lugosi films, seeing as it was his last full motion picture before he sadly passed away. Oh deary me, what a mess.
So, a word of cautionary warning; if you want your blood to truly run cold, and for the tingles to run down your spine to leave you in paroxysms of confusion and dread...waste your money on this.
Murnau's film is a fairly free adaptation of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', made without the consent of the Stoker estate and almost lost as a result of the legal action that followed. Fortunately a few prints survived, allowing 'Nosferatu' to be released in several VHS editions and finally on a 2-disc DVD.
Murnau creates a Gothic landscape that is as much a part of the film's horror as any of the events. Nature itself becomes increasingly threatening as Hutter (the renamed Harker character) approaches Castle Orlok (we have a 'Count Orlok' here instead of Dracula) - a key part of Murnau's vision, for his vampire is an extension of the natural world. Consumption is the natural order of existence: the vampire feeds upon humans just as they in turn consume the lower animals. The silence of the film, though a necessity at the time, is crucial to its success: the vampire has no voice, offers no explanations and no motives. He is a force of nature, needing no more justification than a spider preying upon flies.
Max Schreck's performance has become part of film legend, prompting suggestions that he was a real vampire (an idea explored in the 2000 film, 'Shadow of the Vampire'). Schreck's is possibly the most disturbing vampire ever to appear on screen. His fixed gaze and almost unnatural thinness make him seem ever-so-slightly inhuman. He is both a pathetic, lonely figure and a relentless killer, a blend that makes him doubly eerie.
It is a shame that Gustav von Wangenheim was not in the same class as Schreck: even by the standards of Expressionism, his performance seems ludicrous. Greta Schroeder is better as his dissatisfied bride. The triangle created between the three leads is the heart of the film: the vampire begins to represent the unfulfilled desires within the marriage, most explicitly in the famous final scene in which Orlok approaches Ellen on her bed while Hutter sleeps in a chair.
Though 'Nosferatu' is set in the mid-19th century, its inter-war German context is inescapable. The scene in which a seemingly unending line of coffins is carried in procession through the streets of Bremen is powerful now: to a German audience still reeling from defeat in the First World War and the economic depression following the Treaty of Versailles, it must have hit all too close to home. The film's bleak picture of a world in which destruction and consumption are the order of nature speaks volumes of the depression, in every sense of the word, that followed the Great War.
'Dracula' remains one of the most-filmed books of all time, but 'Nosferatu' has never been bettered. Bela Lugosi's aristocratic Count is more famous, but Murnau's vampire is more complex and more frightening. Films and TV series in recent years have tended to portray vampires as tortured souls or as underground subcultures, but watching this film reminded me that they were much more frightening before they started trying to explain themselves.