Nosferatu: The hazards of real-estate

[Screenshot]If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect that there was something severely wrong with German culture between the years of, oh, I don’t know, 1918 and 1945.

Joking aside, I’m seeing an awful lot of Grauen und Angst going on. It’s as if the Germans got their hands on video cameras and immediately started shooting film of the most disturbing things they could find. It took decades for American cinema to get that twisted. Anyways, silent film is generally plot-weak but i won’t focus on that. Liekwise, cinematography was a fairly new art then and old films tend to have badly damaged prints anyways, which makes an analysis of the cinema-style a bit difficult. For instance, there’s a great deal of image vignetting, some of it appropriate, and to what extent it was intentional, an optical artifact, or film deterioration I couldn’t possibly know. But aside from vignetting, one techincal detail struck me, in particular, the use of image tinting. I haven’t followed eary cinema much, so I don’t remember which films are tinted and how effectively they used them: Intolerance used colors to keep its narratives distinct, but most early cinema I recal being either untinted or sepia-tone. So seeing different colors used, mostly for times of day but occasionally merely for atmosphere, was rather refreshing.

As for other details, I don’t know. I don’t get much emotion from it, simply because I’m from a generation which needs something to be a lot more gruesome before we regard it as scary, although, to his credit, Max Schreck was pretty damn gruesome. The actors emoted a great deal, as was proper for the silent-film acting traditions. It’s definitely a solid film, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again unless I was looking for something specific.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Internet archive download.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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