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Nosferatu - question about surviving elements/restoration


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Rain

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Posted November 01 2001 - 03:12 PM

Last night, I attended a screening of the F.W. Murnau's silent classic Nosferatu. The presentation was accompanied by a live orchestra, playing the reconstruced original score, conducted by Gillian Anderson. All told, it was a wonderful evening.

However, it has brought up some questions.

According to Ms. Anderson, the original negative and most existing prints were destroyed due to a lawsuit against the filmmakers launched by Bram Stoker's widow. She reported that only a 16mm print survived because someone stole it (which was greeted with cheers and applause).

I've done some poking around on the web and, according to some sources, there are surviving 35mm elements.

So...the questions

1. Anyone know what did survive in terms of source elements?

2. Has this film ever been given a proper restoration? If so, is this what is presented on the Image DVD or is it just touched up digitally?

Any history about this film would be welcome.

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"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Joseph Young

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Posted November 01 2001 - 03:27 PM

Rain,

This is pure speculation, so I apologize if I'm being too vague Posted Image I welcome anyone to correct me if I'm wrong on this.

1. The fantastic Image disc supplements delve into this, but I believe (based on memory) that very little survived and that the negatives were destroyed. I could be completely wrong on this but I believe that is the case. The versions of Nosferatu since released, are based on surviving prints smuggled out of harm's way.

2. Based on the Image disc's supplementals, I don't believe a 'proper' restoration has ever been performed on the surviving film. The Image disc is regarded as superior (it's very nice), but I believe it was a digital restoration for the DVD. That said, it looks simply remarkable. The color tinting is very accurate and beautiful, and some of the exterior shots of the countryside look chillingly detailed for such an old film.

Although most of my friends prefer the 70's remake of Nosferatu, this silent classic stands the test of time and I happen to prefer it. Posted Image

Cheers,

Joseph

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob_Mandel

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Posted November 01 2001 - 09:08 PM

Well, according to our interview with David Shepard (who restored the print for Image) he utilized a 35mm print. "Our 35mm prints are full silent aperture prints." The rest of the interview is http://www.digitally...rview.php3?ID=9
editor,

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted November 02 2001 - 06:36 AM

That's a great interview, Bob. I remember when that first came out - still one of the finest articles that digitallyobsessed has ever run. Rain, the new Image disc of NOSFERATU (with the red tinted cover) is excellent and highly recommended. Looks great, sounds great (I'm one of those who likes the new "modern" score, as well as the traditional organ one), but apparently we'll see another version at some point. Mr. Shephard refers to this briefly in that interview. The new one, if and when we ever see it on DVD, just might include G. Anderson's "historical" score. But I wouldn't hold out for it. The disc from Image has wonderful extra features, including a fine commentary track. Even if a better print/score combo is coming down the pike, there's still so much great information on the Image disc, that I doubt it would be considered in anyway obsolete. (Also, if you dig this kinda thing, check out Water Bearer's excellent release of LES VAMPIRES and All Day Entertainment's wonderful DVD of Epstein/Bunuel's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER - and I'm not talking about the Roger Corman version of USHER, though that one's good, too!)
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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Rain

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Posted November 02 2001 - 09:23 AM

Al, If possible, can you post a link to the DVD cover in question. The only one I've seen here is from Image, but I don't think it is red-tinted(?). EDIT: Never mind, I found it. [Edited last by Rain on November 02, 2001 at 11:50 AM]
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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted November 02 2001 - 10:22 AM

Just to make sure, this is the one you want (with the red tinting):
Posted Image

NOT this one:
Posted Image
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Two together are always going somewhere."

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted November 02 2001 - 10:45 AM

Rain, you are indeed lucky to see that screening with the orchestral accompaniment. I got to see it years ago in NYC in an old church on Halloween night, along with a small orchestra. It remains one of the most chilling horror movies ever -- IMO the remake doesn't even come close. I watched "Shadow Of The Vampire" this Halloween, hoping it would be cool, since I love NOSFERATU so much. Unfortunately, it was a letdown. I guess I didn't need someone else to hint to me that Schreck "was a vampire," since his performance in NOSFERATU was so overwhelmingly bizarre. Anything else is just parody. But now I, too, have been looking for the original film on DVD, and I appreciate the posting of the different covers for clarification. Thanks, Al! MC ------------------ mcohen@polkaudio.com "When your head says one thing and your whole life says another, your head always loses." (Key Largo)
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 02 2001 - 12:14 PM

one of my all-time favorite movie quotes:

see my auto-sig...

Posted Image

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"The ship of death has a new captain." - nosferatu (1922)
 

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Mike Brantley

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Posted November 02 2001 - 01:52 PM

Bob, thanks for posting the link to your Digitally Obsessed interview. Now I gotta start looking all over your site for other gems. Also gotta buy this version of Nosferatu and many of the other titles mentioned in your piece.

Thanks. Posted Image

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#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted November 09 2001 - 04:04 PM

I've always wanted to get this DVD but never got around to it. Thanks for the tips. My local Borders has this one in stock. ~Edwin
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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Rain

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Posted November 09 2001 - 04:11 PM

Thanks for bumping my thread, Edwin.

There is one other person whom I'm hoping to hear from on this topic. Posted Image

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"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted November 09 2001 - 09:37 PM

Well, I doubt that it's me you were waiting to hear from, but I thought that you might appreciate a tidbit of information which might lead you to more information. As David Shepard hinted in his very interesting Digitally Obsessed interview, there have been at least two earnest and well-meant attempts to restore "Nosferatu". Another was one by Enno Patalas. I don't have time at the moment to delve deeper for you, but if you put his name into a search engine you should turn up more information. It was about seven or eight years ago when I saw this version at London's National Film Theatre, when it formed the backbone of a general seminar about film restoration. I really don't know whether this version has subsequently been superceded by others, but it was, at the time, the state of the art. Anyway, I hope this helps.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Nigel McN

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Posted November 10 2001 - 04:03 AM

Joseph, that isn't you over at AICN is it? Posted Image




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