Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922).
Directed by F.W. Murnau.
Starring Max Schreck, Greta Schroder, and Gustav Von Wangenheim.
Unable to acquire the rights to Bram Stoker's Dracula novel, German-born Expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau decided to make an unofficial adaptation of the tale and in doing so, he laid the groundwork for the entire vampire genre.
Sent by his employer's to the Carpathian Mountains to help finalise the sale of Count Orlok's castle, realtor Thomas Hutter discovers "The Book of the Vampires" and, after spending time in Orlok's company, he soon comes to suspect that the Count is in fact Nosferatu, the undead.
Loosely following Stoker's classic work, Nosferatu features a compelling turn from Max Schreck as the repulsive Count Orlok, producing what is perhaps the most iconic villain of the silent-era. While Bela Lugosi's later take on Dracula has become synonomous with the character, here the Count is portrayed as vile and despicable, a grotesque creature of pure evil.
Schreck is outstanding in the role and his performance led to many rumours on-set that the actor was actually a vampire himself (see the 2000 horror-comedy, Shadow of the Vampire, starring Willem Dafoe as Schrek and John Malkovich as director Murnau for a fictionalised account of the making of this film).
Nosferatu was hit with lawsuits from Stoker's estate upon completion and the film went unnoticed for a period due to limited releases. Highly influential, it has since become a cult classic and is cited by many as the best of all Dracula adaptations.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
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