Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nosferatu



Source: Google Video

For your Holloween enjoyment, we present F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1921). This groundbreaking German silent film is essentially a “retelling” of the Dracula story. At the time of its production, the estate of Bram Stoker still retained the copyright to the Dracula novel, so Murnau's studio, Prana Film, tried to insert just enough creative license to pass off Nosferatu as a derivative work. Stoker’s estate thought the changes merely cosmetic, and brought Prana Film to court. The courts ruled in favor of Stoker, ordered all copies of the film confiscated, and forced Prana Film into bankruptcy. Fortunately (for posterity), a large number of reels had already been distributed overseas, ensuring the survival of this now classic film. Nosferatu even inspired a big-budget remake in 1979 by acclaimed German director, Werner Herzog.

Resources:

In the Library:
  • Carter, Margaret L. 1988. Dracula: the vampire and the critics. Studies in speculative fiction, no. 19. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Eisner, Lotte H. 1973. Murnau. Berkeley: University of California Press. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Manvell, Roger, and Heinrich Fraenkel. 1971. The German cinema. New York: Praeger Publishers. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Skal, David J. 1990. Hollywood gothic: the tangled web of Dracula from novel to stage to screen. New York: Norton. [Link: WorldCat]


On the Web: