At first viewing, Murnau’s work can seem overlong and tedious given how little the modern audience is used to silent black and white films with long sequences



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At first viewing, Murnau’s work can seem overlong and tedious given how little the modern audience is used to silent black and white films with long sequences.

  • At first viewing, Murnau’s work can seem overlong and tedious given how little the modern audience is used to silent black and white films with long sequences.

  • Yet to liken this ‘Symphony of Horror’ to a vulgar vampire film or the hundredth adaptation of Bram Stoker's book Dracula would be a major error.



Despite its apparent simplicity, the film grows in scope in its use of suggestion and different degrees that hide behind a simple story that only serves as a vehicle for the director’s intentions.

  • Despite its apparent simplicity, the film grows in scope in its use of suggestion and different degrees that hide behind a simple story that only serves as a vehicle for the director’s intentions.



The vampire symbolizes Hitler.

  • The vampire symbolizes Hitler.

  • Nosferatu leaves his country to spread his power abroad.

  • His bite makes puppets of his victims, servants body and soul to their powerful master, blinded fanatics that represent the German people, while Knock, his servant abroad, is perhaps comparable to a collaborator.

  • The rats the Count brings with him in his boat to propagate in the foreign county, carrying with them the plague, symbolize the Nazi ideology that spreads throughout Europe.

  • Furthermore, this is confirmed when one knows that Nazism was also qualified as a black plague in its time.



  • Themes like ambivalence (subjectivity and the unconscious, mystery and imagination) as well as he idea of a double, the ambiguous, Gothic, and the communion between the artist and nature are omnipresent in the film.

  • For the Romantics, portraits, reflections, and shadows blend into a single entity.

  • The shadow, particularly important (as in the scene as he climbs the stairs), anticipates an imminent danger, embodies a sexual desire, and always betrays the killer in German cinema.





Primarily an architectural style that prevailed in western Europe from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses, that made it possible to create stone buildings that reached great heights.

  • Primarily an architectural style that prevailed in western Europe from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses, that made it possible to create stone buildings that reached great heights.



Gothic qualities are manifested in the physical characteristics of the vampire and in the architecture.

  • Gothic qualities are manifested in the physical characteristics of the vampire and in the architecture.

  • Noseferatu’s bald oval head reflects the Gothic archways of his chateau, while his twisted body responds to the curves of the gate.

  • His long nails symbolize the East’s despotism and correspond to the elongated lines of Gothic architecture. Finally, nature has a preponderant role, as important as a character. The stretches of land are the mental projections of the characters while the waves of the sea announce the imminent arrival of the count.



Orlok's character is record of film's positioning facing other arts and in particular painting. The vampire is between death (immobility: painting is a rigid art) and life (movement: cinema is an art in motion). This duality also represents the technical evolution of art, cinema being the living form and the most advanced thanks to technological progress.

  • Orlok's character is record of film's positioning facing other arts and in particular painting. The vampire is between death (immobility: painting is a rigid art) and life (movement: cinema is an art in motion). This duality also represents the technical evolution of art, cinema being the living form and the most advanced thanks to technological progress.



The film conceals allusions homosexuality, taboo at that time, and reflects the repressed tendencies of the director. Hutter leaves his wife for the Count and the dinner scene at the chateau resembles a seduction scene where the young man succumbs fairly easily. The vampire's bite can also be considered as a forbidden kiss between two men.

  • The film conceals allusions homosexuality, taboo at that time, and reflects the repressed tendencies of the director. Hutter leaves his wife for the Count and the dinner scene at the chateau resembles a seduction scene where the young man succumbs fairly easily. The vampire's bite can also be considered as a forbidden kiss between two men.



The film coincides with the beginnings of globalization and in particular the investment of foreign capital in the local economy. The Count, who is obviously a predator, here embodies the phenomenon of globalization, at that time considered a danger.

  • The film coincides with the beginnings of globalization and in particular the investment of foreign capital in the local economy. The Count, who is obviously a predator, here embodies the phenomenon of globalization, at that time considered a danger.

  • www.taravangeons.com/yahoo_site_admin/.../Nosferatu.28353022.ppt




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