"New" restoration of Murnau's Nosferatu?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Kevin M, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    A few years ago just after Image released their DVD of Murnau's Nosferatu(1929) didn't I hear that someone else was doing a more complete restoration for KINO or somebody?
    I seem to remember reading this in a thread here at HTF but I can't find any info anywhere.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Kino's is the best so far, but it was rumored for a while that Milestone Video (who releases through Image) would release the BFI restoration to DVD.

    As complete as the Kino edition is, there's apparently an even better film element out there that looks almost brand new (www.dvdbeaver.com has captures from this Film sans Frontiers version).

    ADD:

    Actually, it looks like Kino uses the exact same print source as the Film sans Frontiers DVD. However, FSF must have applied some digital restoration.
     
  3. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Interesting, the history of Nosferatu. It seems that Murnau made Nosferatu without acquiring the rights to Dracula. Well Stoker was dead but his wife was still very much alive and sued to have the film destoryed. Mrs. Stoker won the suit and every copy of Nosferatu was destroyed, including the negative..... except of one copy in London. It seems that Nosferatu was being shown in a London theater when the police came raiding looking to seize the copy. The projectionist cannily grabbed the film and ran out the back door as the police came in the front door.

    All copies of Nosferatu come from that one surviving print.
     
  4. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Is there no chance that the Murnau Foundation will attempt a digital restoration like they did with Metropolis?
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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  6. MarkBourne

    MarkBourne Stunt Coordinator

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    I adore David Shepard's edition from Image, especially for its Silent Orchestra score. However, the BFI release -- available at amazon.co.uk -- includes the much-praised score by James Bernard (Hammer's court composer), and (so I hear) finally gives Orlock ample head room when he rises stiff as a board from his coffin on the Demeter. So I've been eager to see that edition in R1 (or else finally get off my lazy butt to pick up a multi-region player).
     
  7. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Of the two Image editions, yes. But the Kino edition also has worthwhile and quite different extras. I prefer the Image edition if you're only going to own one but fans of the movie may well want both.
     
  8. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I ordered the KINO version for $13.92 at DeepDiscountDVD as the comparisons atDVDBeavershow (to my eyes anyway) that the KINO version does have a better picture...if a bit dark. However I might just get the Image version as well, I haven't read very good things about the music on the KINO version & I did like the commentary and the other extras on the Image version.
     
  9. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Does the Kino and Image versions cut out the names from the novel? I haven't seen either one but I've viewed this film on various other labels and they all had "Nosferatu" instead of "Count Dracula" and so on.

    FRANKENSTEIN (1910) was released a year or two ago and it contained a print of NOSFERATU, which used "Count Dracula" and it was the first time I remember seeing those words used. It was also windowboxed with the full "head room", which was missing from other versions.
     
  10. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Orlock instead of Dracula is how the movie was originally released, so it's a matter of not changing the names back, not cutting the names out.
     
  11. MarkBourne

    MarkBourne Stunt Coordinator

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    Orlock instead of Dracula is how the movie was originally released, so it's a matter of not changing the names back, not cutting the names out.

    Oh, heavens, yes. Any print that calls the vampire "Dracula" should be replaced with any edition that preserves the original "Count Orlock." Likewise, "Harker" should be "Hutter," etc. It's like having a knockoff copy of Orson Welles' Citizen Hearst.
     
  12. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    There has been a lot of imbellishing of facts over the years concerning NOSFERATU, so let's get the story straight here:

    1) I've seen many "best versions". Trust your instinct on this one and check the DVDBeaver reviews. Kino and Image have the best R1, Film Sans Frontiers and BFI have the best R2.

    2) Stoker's widow never actually took Prana Films to court. By the time that she even approached the case, Prana already went bankrupt and the company was already in recievership. At that point, the creditors and recievers didn't even bother putting up a fight when she went to them and claimed ownership (thus destroying all of the German prints and returned foriegn prints and negatives, but leaving behind anything in other countries). NOSFERATU itself got a good European release, but by the time it was going to be released in America, Prana had already folded, so there was no release in the US (subsiquently, there was no documentation other than the German records as well!)

    3) The film DID make its way to America to Universal (how they came across the print is up to anyone), but a clip of it is in their short subject, BOO! Obviously they had bought it for reference when making DRACULA, but what influence it had on the film can be argued.

    4) The circulating copy with the Stoker names in it (ie. Dracula, Renfield, Hutter) is from MOMA. They recieved the film I believe in the 30s or 40s (from one of the European countries where it wasn't destroyed). The titles were added circa 1949 and are in a font called FUTURA (a font that was invented five years after NOSFERATU was released).

    5) Some notes about the original score-- there was a score commissioned for the film and it still does exist. AFAIK it's in copyright limbo, but it's PD in the US which means that it does get some play, but no video release yet (it has been recorded on CD twice). It was written by Hanz Erdmann, who worked for Kino-Bibliotech (the biggest supplier of Photoplay Theatrical music in Germany) under G. Becce (who happened to had written the score for CABINET OF CALIGARI, to which it's score only partially exists). Erdmann composed an entire suite for the film. I have it, but haven't ever performed it to the film, and it has some good themes, but is overall monotonous and is a good example of why "the original score" isn't always "the best".
     
  13. MarkBourne

    MarkBourne Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Jack, for that info (and corrections). Interesting stuff.
     
  14. MichaelSloan

    MichaelSloan Stunt Coordinator

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    This isn't about the new restoration, but I read last year on Barrie Maxwell's Classic Coming Attraction column that Milestone Home Video would release a new Nosferatu DVD. Since Milestone usually releases Photoplay Production versions of silent films. Photoplay's version of Nosferatu has a score by the late James Bernard of Hammer Films fame. I read on one website that this score is the second best composed for the film topped only by the original by Hans Erdmann. If Milestone releases another Nosferatu DVD I think it would be really cool to see the 1930 sound version on it. I'm pretty sure the 1930 footage still exists though I'm not sure about the soundtrack.
     
  15. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Michael,



    Somene is confusing NOSFERATU with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. PHANTOM had a recorded soundtrack for a re-release in 1930, NOSFERATU did not see a re-release due to its copyrighted circumstances. The 1930 soundtrack has been restored to the film and available through Milestone, but in edited form since the film is not the exact cut that the soundtrack syncs up to.



    Thus, Erdmann's score did not get recorded, and was and has been floating around in copyright limbo in Europe. It is available on CD, but I'm afraid it won't sync up to any edition of the film (there's a lot behind this, but mainly it was the person responsible for the CD did not have a clue as to where the cues to the film go-- something which could have easily been obtained with a little research and a German translator). In my opinion, Erdmann's score is rather repetative and too majestic for the film, which has a sort of eerieness that isn't represented in the music. It is a good example of why "the original" score isn't always the best score.



    Something should be said for who is conducting too. It is my opinion, as well as other notables, that Gottfried Huppertz's score to METROPOLIS could have been much better conducted than by Bernt Heller. While Heller did many good things to bring the score to the film, it was a very difficult process and cost Patalas and Koerber a lot of money and re-recording (they actually ended up commissioning a second score, and then went back to Heller). The end results are ok, and give an idea of what the themes represented are, but is just a weak shadow of what the score could have been, same as the film itself.
     
  16. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I would like to hear different composer's interpretations on the film as I really don't like Huppertz's score very much...it's ok I guess. However I'd love to hear someone like Philip Glass, Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman or even Wendy Carlos offer an interpretation of the film.

    To be honest I have another reason for not liking Huppertz's score apart from the aesthetic, his score was composed for the film to be run at 24fps which (IMO anyway) is far too fast, with a different score it could be reduced to 18fps which looks much better...again IMO.



    I haven't received the KINO Nosferatu so let me ask anyone who has it, how are the supplied scores? I really liked the organ score on the Image release but I am curious how the two orchestral score's on the KINO release sound.
     
  17. MichaelSloan

    MichaelSloan Stunt Coordinator

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  18. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Didn't know you were refering to that as a re-release (although it's really an entirely different film made up of old footage and reshot material), although I agree-- I would be interesting to see on the new edition, but I'm doubtful.
     
  19. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I presently have the first IMAGE disc, but would upgrade if there is a more definitive version coming (when will it all ened???) Anyway, please keep the thread updated!
     

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