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The greatest horror film of all! A long time ago in middle Europe, a decrepit, forbidding castle stood. Casting an ominous shadow over the townspeople who dare not look upon it, the unholy dwelling is home to one Count Orlok (Max Schreck), an undead night creature with a taste for human blood. Showcasing the extremely eerie Schreck, "Nosferatu" is the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel "Dracula," stylistically directed by the legendary F.W. Murnau. Now available in this gorgeous newly remastered and rescored by The Silent Orchestra in 5.1 audio.
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Top customer reviews
There is no menu; you put it into your disc player, and right after the copyright warning, the film starts on its own, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but when the film ends, it loops back to the beginning, forever replaying it until you physically turn it off.
On to the pluses: The quality of the film is very good. It is sharp and clear, remarkable, given how old the film is, and the fact that Stoker's people had all known copies of the film destroyed. A copy or two slipped through the cracks, and we now have this masterpiece somewhat intact today. And a lot of people prefer it to the later interpretations, myself included.
The appropriate good acting in a silent film, would be considered bad acting in a later film with sound, as all facial expressions and body movements had to be greatly exaggerated (wrist-to-the-forehead while one throws their head back with eyes closed, for example) for effect, and the actors needed heavy makeup to make their already over-the-top performances stand out better. With very little to go on, they used all at their disposal, and in this film, they did so to great effect. They leap off the screen.
Music has been dubbed onto the soundtrack, and this gives the experience of being in a movie house at the time, when an organist was employed. And as a plus, there is some orchestration, a nice touch, given this is a much later time than before.
And, of course, the story's two villians, Renfield and Orlock (I prefer calling him Orlock): Renfield is so deranged-looking in this movie, it almost makes one itch at the sight of him; large chrome-dome head, with an unruly ring of black and grey hair festooning in all directions, some black teeth, and a convincing look of insanity in his eyes. And check the eyebrows - holy crap! Just nasty all around. And Orlock, by any standard, is a terrifying sight. He is THE picture of corruption of the soul. Max Shreck portrays him with such conviction, my hat is off to him. He is tall and almost animal-like, with large dead eyes which NEVER blink. Watch him. Before he turns his head, he moves his eyes, then his face turns in their direction. He had a hooked shark-fin nose, long pointed ears, rodent-like teeth, long claw-like hands, and a stiff jerky walk which looks like that of a walking cadaver. There are two types of chills you can get up your back, the good kind and the bad kind. And he really can put the bad kind on you.
I don't regret buying this particular version of this film; but if the formatting was better and the names in the titles were correct, it would have gotten a solid 5-star rating from me.
The director was sued for copyright by Bram Stoker's widow and most copies of the film were destroyed. Thankfully, enough survived intact so that we can view it today. The basic storyline from Stoker is intact, but there are a few changes that make this film worth viewing. For example, the time frame is set in the year 1838, rather than 1890 as in the Stoker novel. The Harkers live in Bremen Germany, rather than England.
In this film, the vampire does not have any wives which could have been effective. The rats that accompanied Nosferatu played a larger part in this film than in others, including a bit of low comedy when a warehouse worker is bitten on the foot. A rotund Reinfield capers about in a cartoonish manner,leering and sneering but this makes him seem all the MORE demented. The obligatory ride to the castle is RAPID to say the least, almost a "Keystone Kop" pace which makes it unintentionally funny. One sequence was done in an almost "X-ray" effect which could have been used more often. But the most eerie effect is Nosferatu's appearance. Lean and bald, with a mishapen skull and a lurching walk. His hands look like claws and his rat-like ears, a hooked nose, hollow eyes and sunken cheeks make a real impact. When he rises from his coffin, he's as rigid as a board. Unfortunatly, Harker comes across as a scatterbrained oaf and is totally useless in protecting Nina (Yes they changed her name)from the vampire. One scene in the castle has Harker childishly pulling a sheet over his head to protect himself from the approaching vampire. I was also disappointed by the limited part played by Van Helsing, Lucy Westerna and Jack Seward. Still, this tape is well worth having.The edition I bought came from Republic Studios and it has a HORRIBLE SOUNDTRACK. I MUTE IT.