Germany | 93 min.
stereo and 5.1
• SPECIAL EDITION 2 x DISC SET
• The officially licenced 2007 restoration by F. W. Murnau-Stiftung and Luciano Berriatúa featuring the original Hans Erdmann score — previously unheard for over 85 years — and the original German intertitles.
• Full-length exclusive commentary track by silent film historian and bookseller R. Dixon Smith with freelance film critic Brad Stevens.
• The Language of Shadows — a 53-minute German documentary by Luciano Berriatúa about Murnau and the making of Nosferatu complete with fascinating footage of the film’s locations today.
• Restoration demonstration
• 80-page book containing articles by 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.
F. W. Murnau, 1922
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.
by Thomas Elsaesser, 2007