Nosferatu--Phantom der Nacht

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BFI Pub., 2004 - Performing Arts - 87 pages
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Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) is sometimes called a minor work, despite the film's towering central performance by Klaus Kinski. But in this book, we see Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht as one of the masterpieces of the New German Cinema, a film that exhibits all of Herzog's melancholy and pessimistic romanticism as well as his spirituality and technical flair. Adapted from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and mindful of an earlier German version of that same novel, Herzog's film, with its terrifying coda in which the reincarnated fiend rides out into the world, is perhaps the most compelling screen treatment of the vampire myth. Beginning with Stoker's book and the nineteenth-century obsession with vampires, S. S. Prawer goes on to explore the evolution of Herzog's career. To complete a comprehensive account of Nosferatu, Prawer describes the film's production history as well as the cultural and aesthetic components that combine to such powerful effect: the skill of the actors; the debts to romanticism and to Murnau; the use of music by Wagner, Gounod, and Florian Fricke; and the film's many extraordinary, haunting images.

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About the author (2004)

S. S. Prawer is Taylor Professor Emeritus of German Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. He is author of The Blue Angel (BFI, 2002).