a classic of vampire cinema (on Blu

Blu ray Nosferatu The Symphony of Horror 00

Artistic note: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star(5/5)


In 1838 in Wisborg, Thomas Hutter, a young notary clerk who had made a happy marriage with Ellen, had to leave for Transylvania in order to sell a house in the city to Count Orlok. The young man is welcomed in a sinister castle by the count who decides to acquire the building close to the couple’s house. Hutter, the Count’s guest, will soon discover his true nature…

• Original title: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
• Media tested: Blu-ray
• Genre: horror
• Year: 1921
• Directed by: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
• Cast: Max Schreck, Gustav Von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Georg H. Schnell, Ruth Landshoff, Alexander Granach, Gustav Botz
• Duration: 1 h 34 min 58
• Video format: 16:9
• Cine format: 1.33/1 black and white tinted
• Subtitling: French
• Soundtrack: DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 music
• Bonus: Futurepak metal case combo with Blu-ray and DVD of the film – History(ies) of Nosferatuinterview with Brigitte Bergstrom (VOST, 2022, 23 min 08) – sequence analysis: five scenes commented by Philippe Rouyer 2022, 55 min 10) – The Language of Shadows – Murnau: Beginnings and Nosferatuby Luciano Berriatua (VOST, Die Sprache der Schatten2007, 52 min 41) – interview with Jacques Sirgent, historian and vampire specialist (14 min 04) – The Vampire by Jean Painlevé (1945, 8 min 42)
• Publisher: Potemkin

Art commentary

In 1922, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau expressed with rare artistic talent his attachment to contrarian cinema and the fantastic genre with his silent film Nosferatu, a symphony of horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) whose screenplay by Henrik Galeen adapts the famous epistolary novel by Bram Stoker “Dracula” (1897). Not having the rights, the production (Prana Movie by Albin Grau) must modify various elements: the places, the proper names of the characters (Count Orlock Nosferatu for Dracula, Thomas Hutter for Jonathan Harker, Knock for RM Renfield, Ellen Hutter for Mina Murray, etc.). But nothing helped: a lost lawsuit in 1925 ordered the destruction of all copies of the film. Fortunately, even if the original negative has been destroyed, the judgment will not be fully applied… and hidden copies will save this masterpiece of cinema defended by the Surrealists. To embody Nosferatu (the “unnameable” devil in Romanian), Count Orlok, FW Murnau can count on the striking and striking interpretation of a theater and cinema actor, with a suggestive physique, Max Schreck. The sets and costumes are due to the talent of producer Albin Grau who was a fan of occultism. However, the film benefits from partial location shooting in Wismar and Lübeck and, height of authenticity, in the Carpathians, notably at the castles of Orava and Čachtice (residence of Countess Elisabeth Báthory). Passionate about innovation, FW Murnau uses various dramatic processes such as negative view and color (film tinted in yellow, blue, pink). The film is accompanied by a score largely composed by Hans Erdmann and which has been completely reconstituted for the restoration. The director has always emphasized that his film did not belong to the expressionist current defended in the 1920s/30s by the greatest German filmmakers such as Fritz Lang, Paul Wegener, Robert Wiene, Paul Leni, etc. But Nosferatu, a symphony of horror however exploited certain components of expressionist cinema: the work on the lighting, the shadows (hand of Nosferatu), the framing (archs, doors, windows), the strong acting of the actors, their make-up, the romanticism of the situations (initiatory journey) . Analyzed ad infinitum, this film, rightly described as a “metaphysical poem” (Jacques Lourcelles), is punctuated with symbols related to Nature and its kingdoms, human, animal, vegetable, according to a visual and significant polyphony which accompanies the misdeeds of the vampire. It is in this film that the destruction of the vampire by daylight is first described, a feature that was not present in Bram Stoker’s novel. Considered one of the great classics of world cinema, Nosferatu, a symphony of horror benefited from an ultimate qualitative restoration which allows to discover or see again this masterpiece such as had conceived by FW Murnau. On condition of accepting the codes of the mute, which result in the excessive acting of the actors and in the sequence of rather static scenes (compensated by the brilliance of the editing), the appearances of the creature, Count Orlok (9 minutes at total!), are still fascinating and almost manage to inspire dread. For its artistic and symbolic richness, this classic, “punctually” expressionist and model of the vampire film, remains an essential work of the genre.

blu ray nosferatu symphony of horror

Technical Comment

The film was restored in 2005 by Luciano Berriatua for the Murnau foundation (Wiesbaden). A nitrate copy of the Cinémathèque française with French intertitles served as the basis for the restoration. The missing plans were taken from a backup copy of 1939 kept at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv in Berlin intended for export to Czechoslovakia as well as from a nitrate copy of the French Cinémathèque exploited in 1930 under the title Die Zwölfte Stunde. The German intertitles are from a 1962 back-up copy made from a 1922 negative. The missing intertitles were reproduced by TrickWilk (Berlin), in the style of the time in agreement with the Murnau Foundation. Works on the copy by The Immagine RitrovataBologna

Image : HD copy, good definition with variable sharpness depending on the sources, fine silver texture (35 mm filming with Debrie Le Parvo cameras, Master Format 2K restored 2005), copy projected at the correct rate of 18fps, there are many faults ( multiple scratches, stains), the calibration respected the colors of the sequences in primary colors, the colorimetry is vivid in flat areas with saturated tones

The reconstruction of the original 1921 music composed by Hans Erdmann was done by Berndt Heller. It is performed by the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Berndt Helle
His : 5.1 mixing, music, modern sound recording offering beautiful dynamics and solid orchestral spatialization with effective use of surrounds and LFE

Our opinion

Image : Red StarRed StarRed Starhalf red stargray star(3.5/5)
Sound mixing: blue Starblue Starblue Starblue Starblue Star(5/5)
Bonuses: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Stargray star(4/5)
Packaging: blue Starblue Starblue Starblue Stargray star(4/5)

IMDb :

Metal Blu-ray/DVD combo available on Amazon

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a classic of vampire cinema (on Blu-ray and DVD)