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Context Film / Nosferatu

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1[[quoteright:280:]] ²²->''"Mortal terror reigned''\²''Sickness now, then horrible death''\²''Only Lucy knew the truth''²->''And at her window --''²->''Nosferatu"''²-->-- '''Music/BlueOysterCult'''²²''Nosferatu'' (rarely used full title: ''Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens''[[note]]English: ''Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror''[[/note]]) is a German silent horror film and the first known [[VampireFiction vampire movie]], released in 1922. Director Creator/FriedrichWilhelmMurnau cast [[ Max Schreck]] as Count Orlok, with the veteran character actor [[LooksLikeOrlok wearing a costume that left him bald, with huge pointed ears and long sharp fangs]]... In short, one of the most frightening characters in film history. This movie is also notable for influencing the cinematic depiction of the idea that [[WeakenedByTheLight vampires can be killed by sunlight]].²²Contrary to myth, this was ''not'' Max Schreck's only role; he appeared in over 20 films and hundreds of stage productions, all in Germany. For that matter, it wasn't even Schreck's only role for Murnau, as the two collaborated again on ''Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs'' two years later. The idea was perpetuated by the 2000 film ''Film/ShadowOfTheVampire,'' which portrayed Schreck as an actual vampire.²²''Nosferatu'' was originally intended to be a direct adaptation of Creator/BramStoker's ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'', but Stoker's widow, who owned the copyright, refused permission. So Murnau and his team [[CaptainErsatz changed the characters' names]], [[note]]Some later English-language prints "restore" the character names to their ''Dracula'' originals.[[/note]] simplified the plot, and tried to pass ''Nosferatu'' off as an original story.²²It didn't work. The film company that produced ''Nosferatu'' was forced to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying royalties to Bram Stoker's estate for copyright infringement. All copies of this film were supposed to [[DisproportionateRetribution be destroyed]] because of the infringement, but a KeepCirculatingTheTapes mentality among fans of the film kept it from being [[MissingEpisode lost.]] ([[DigitalPiracyIsEvil Pre-digital movie piracy?]] It's OlderThanYouThink.) We, too, can see the greatness of Murnau's vision.²²This movie is in the public domain and may be viewed in its entirety at [[ YouTube.]] A re-scored version with ProgressiveRock music by Creator/IsaacBaranoff and Music/FunnyAminals can be viewed online. In 2017, a version called ''[[ Nosferatu: the Non Silent Film]]'' was created by Brazilian agency [=AlmapBBDO=] and Punch Audio, which not only re-scores the film but also layers on sound effects and voice clips from Getty Images' massive audio library (a trailer can be seen [[ here]]).²²In 1979 Creator/WernerHerzog wrote and directed ''Nosferatu the Vampyre'' (German title: ''Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht''), a re-adaptation of ''Dracula'' heavily influenced by the Murnau film's iconic visuals and streamlined plot. Creator/KlausKinski played the title role (now back to the name "Dracula"), and Herzog's film is considered by many to be as good as if not better than the original. Kinski would return for the 1988 sort-of-sequel ''Nosferatu in Venice''.²²A remake is currently being planned, and is scheduled to be helmed by Robert Eggers, director of ''Film/TheWitch''.²²----²!!The original²²* AdaptationalUgliness: While Dracula wasn't all that attractive in the original novel, he at least looked relatively normal. Orlok, on the other hand, looks like the plague-bearing monster he really is.²* AdaptationDistillation: Despite not being an official adaptation, it's a greatly simplified version of ''Literature/{{Dracula}}''.²* AdaptationNameChange: Dracula becomes Orlok, Jonathan Harker becomes Thomas Hutter, Mina Harker becomes Ellen Hutter, Renfield becomes Knock, Van Helsing becomes Bulwer and Seward becomes Sievers.²* AnimalMotifs: Orlok has a very subtle (yet obvious in hindsight) connection with rats and, through them, the plague. His fangs are rat-like incisors rather than the elongated canines usually used for vampires, his pointed nose and thin face gives him a rodent-like quality to his facial features, and even his taloned hands call to minds the grasping paws of a giant rat.²* AntagonistTitle: Also a OneWordTitle, named after the supposed Romanian word for "vampire", that threatens the land.²* AristocratsAreEvil: Count Orlok (Graf Orlok in the original German).²* ArtShift: A striking one. As Hutter's coach approaches Orlok's castle, one shot of the coach on the road is shown in photographic negative, likely to symbolize Hutter's entrance into another world.²* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: The etymology of the word "nosferatu" is unclear. This movie isn't the first to use it (Stoker's novel referenced it first), but the usual origin (the UsefulNotes/{{Romania}}n word for "vampire") is false. The two most probable etymologies are a corruption of the Romanian "Necuratu," meaning "unclean spirit," or [[UsefulNotes/{{Greece}} Greek]] "Nosophoros," meaning "bringer of plague."²* BaldOfEvil: Orlok.²* BedsheetLadder: Used by Hutter to escape Orlok's castle.²* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: While Ellen's plan to destroy Orlok via causing him to attack her in her bed works, due to his feeding on her he forgets about the rooster's crow as the sun rises while she ultimately dies]].²* BreakingAndBloodsucking: Ellen's plan to destroy Orlok is to wait for him to attack her in her bed and allow him to slowly feed to distract him from the lethal sunrise.²* CaptainOblivious: It takes Hutter entirely too long to figure out that [[ObviouslyEvil the ghoulish figure with sharp talons and giant fangs who wants to suck the blood out of his finger]] might not be exactly the safest guy to be around.²* CaptainErsatz: Since the film was an unauthorized adaptation of Creator/BramStoker's ''Literature/{{Dracula}}''. Stoker's heirs sued over the adaptation, and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film were to be destroyed. A small number of prints survived, and narrowly avoided being wiped out of existence.²* CaptainsLog: The people of Wisborg consult the ghost ship's log in an effort to figure out what happened.²* ComicallyCrossEyed: One of the sailors gets crossed eyes when facing Nosferatu below the deck.²* CreepyLongFingers: Orlok, as part of his [[LooksLikeOrlok defining appearance]].²* CueTheSun²* DemotedToExtra:²** The film's equivalents of Van Helsing, Holmwood and Seward only appear in scenes that do not relate to the overall plot, and they never learn that Orlok is a vampire. But they're better off than Quincy and Lucy, who [[AdaptedOut don't have counterparts at all.]] Annie is often viewed as Lucy's counterpart though. One English copy of the film even calls her as such.²** It is also worth mentioning that Annie, just as Lucy, is implied to be visited by Orlok, and in a deleted scene she would be lured by vampire to the seaside and bitten. In the novel Dracula lures Lucy to a small seaside cemetery and bites her for the first time.²%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample * GermanExpressionism²* GhostShip: The one Orlok takes to Germany becomes one of these when it pulls into port because of him.²* GhostlyGlide: How Orlok moves.²* HappilyMarried: Hutter and Ellen.²* HeroicSacrifice: Ellen deliberately lets Orlok feed on her to distract him until [[WeakenedByTheLight sunrise]], and she dies afterwards.²* HollywoodDarkness: All the exterior night scenes, with little more than a bluish tint to suggest darkness.²* IdiotBall: Hutter, don't you know to never cut towards yourself?²* KillEmAll: Orlok kills everyone on the ship.²* LeanAndMean: Orlok is skeletally thin.²* LooksLikeOrlok: TropeNamer. Quite a contrast to the suave, attractive vampires that make up so much of the rest of vampire fiction (and a bit of a diversion from the old cranky man that Dracula himself started out as).²* LoveTranscendsSpacetime: At the very moment when Orlok is readying himself to feed, fatally, on Hutter, Ellen has a sudden panic attack -- which somehow makes the vampire back down and leave Hutter alive.²* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Hutter tells his wife that he is heading to "the country of thieves and ghosts" - and he seems [[MoodDissonance awfully excited about it too]]!²* OneWordTitle: As the name of the monster, also an AntagonistTitle.²* OnlyThePureOfHeart:²** Only an innocent young woman's willing sacrifice of her blood to distract the vampire from the coming dawn can destroy him.²** The animated UsefulNotes/{{Swi|tzerland}}ss parody "Nosferatu Tango" drives a stake into this trope: The innocent young woman took Brand ZZZZZ sleeping pills, which also lay Nosferatu to (eternal) sleep when the morning comes.²* OurVampiresAreDifferent: As noted above, this film originated the idea that vampires burn in sunlight. Also, Schreck's vampire is rather uniquely portrayed as [[LooksLikeOrlok a rat-like monster]] and the personification of pestilence, as well as having a considerable resemblance to some kind of ghost. There are numerous scenes where Orlok seems to materialise or dematerialise at will (such as when carrying his coffin into his new lair), as well as the famous sequence where Orlok seems to sneak into Hutter's home as a disembodied shadow.²* PickedFlowersAreDead: Ellen, in the opening scene.²* PivotalWakeup: The TropeMaker, and one of the creepiest moments in the movie.²* ThePlague: When Orlok arrives in Wisborg, he brings disease with him.²%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample * RedRightHand: See LooksLikeOrlok.²* TheRenfield: Knock, who was already under Orlok's control before the start of the film.²* RoyalDecree: Plague victims are decreed to be kept out of the hospital to stop the spread of the disease.²* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Count Orlok is shown loading his coffins onto a horse-drawn wagon by himself (whereas Count Dracula had hired gypsies doing this in the book and [[Film/BramStokersDracula the 1992 film]]). He's even shown carrying his coffin to his new home later on. Of course, the absence of any noticeable servants at his residence should be some cause for concern on Hutter's part, if the innkeeper's warnings and the [[LooksLikeOrlok Count's]] [[ObviouslyEvil appearance]] hadn't already been.²* SilentMovie: Commonly regarded as one of the greatest.²* SoundtrackDissonance: Some versions of the film feature a near-constant usage of a strange, cheerful little tune that sounds more like it would belong in an old WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse cartoon than a classic horror movie. It becomes increasingly hard to get into the mood of the film when this song is in nearly every other scene, even in perfectly innocuous ones, such as the simple act of walking up stairs.²* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Orlok? Orlock? Both spellings have been used frequently, though the former ''seems'' to be the correct one.²%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample * StarCrossedLovers²* StopMotion: Used in a deliberately crude manner for scenes of Orlok's carriage ride and other shots in which Orlok is moving around. This results in a creepy, unnatural effect befitting a ghastly monster.²* SupportingProtagonist: Hutter. His wife Ellen's presence protects him from Orlok while he's in Transylvania, and it is only through her [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice]] that Orlok is killed.²* SwarmOfRats: Orlok brings them with him aboard his ship.²* TerrifyingPetStoreRat: The SwarmOfRats includes several of the hooded (dark head, white body) variety, which is a domesticated strain of rat.²* VampireBitesSuck: Orlok's needle-like incisors leave two small pinprick-holes in the victim's throat.²* WeakenedByTheLight: Sunlight makes Orlok catch fire and disappear. (As noted above, this film is the TropeMaker.)²* WeatherSavesTheDay: Despite being a thinly veiled stealth-adaptation of ''{{Literature/Dracula}}'', the film's Van Helsing equivalent, Bulwer, has a greatly diminished role. Count Orlok is instead anticlimactically killed by an unexpected sunrise rather than being slain by Hutter and a Quincey Morris equivalent.²²!!The Herzog/Kinski remake²²* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Lucy is dead, Van Helsing is arrested for killing Dracula and Harker is now a vampire who will presumably continue to spread death and disease. Lucy's sacrifice ultimately meant nothing]].²* RavenHairIvorySkin: Lucy (Creator/IsabelleAdjani).²* TorturedMonster: Dracula. His voice carries a perpetually depressed tone, and he just generally doesn't seem to enjoy his cursed existence.²* WhoWantsToLiveForever: A major theme. It's not so much that he's outliving his loved ones, it's that no one could ''ever'' love a monster like him. And living forever, eternally unloved, is almost unbearable. It's possibly the most tragic interpretation of the Dracula story ever.²----²->''"[[WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants Nosferatu!]]"''


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