Murnau’s “pirated” adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula vividly grasps the book’s essence: creating fear and terror through atmosphere, composition and performance style as much as through character and story. The twisted and overbearing settings, often shot on location, Fritz Arno Wagner’s eerie chiaroscuro lighting and the truly unsettling, spectral figure of Max Schreck’s vampire combine to produce the definitive screen version of Stoker’s seminal novel. Murnau’s extraordinary and deeply unsettling “symphony of horror” remains the vampire film to which all others must compare.
Also screening on Wed 16 November
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) – Wed 9 Nov, 7pm
The Last Laugh (1924) – Wed 9 Nov, 8.50pm
Nosferatu (1922) – Wed 16 Nov, 7pm
Faust (1926) – Wed 16 Nov, 8.25pm
Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) – Wed 23 Nov, 7pm
The Haunted Castle (1921) – Wed 23 Nov, 8.35pm
The Grand Duke's Finances (1924) – Wed 23 Nov, 9.45pm
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888–1931) was a perfectionist, an aesthete and, in many ways, a visionary, whose poetic, painterly, literate and highly cinematic sensibilities brought to the golden age of German cinema new concepts of film form based on a synthesis of all the elements then in vogue – from Caligari-like horrors to an expressionist use of actors’ bodies through to a rugged, sometimes optimistic naturalism (especially in his American period).
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About Melbourne Cinémathèque
Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.
Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven.