• way to convey feeling inside
  • violence, speed, strong emotions
  • expressing reality from the inside out 

Expressionism in Film

  • crowds
  • lighting
  • distortion
  • stylisation
  • shadow
  • expressionist acting
  • the demonic bourgeois 

Murnau - warehouses 

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  • Vampires
  • Murnau and question of belief 
  • Constant game of light and dark (day and night)
  • How actions are going to progress (pictures of the sky)
  • Contrasting colours, moving to the negative -- shows movement into a different side of reality
  • Told through letters (as in Bram Stocker's Dracula) and begins with an account (telling the story the way novels tell stories)
  • Film is set in Germany and Transylvania and moves back and forth but second part of film stops doing that and is structured as a journey
  • Nosferatu dies through nature - sacrifce of woman
  • Nature of community - people know each other; gossiping woman, doctor meets Hutter on street, small town can become a crowd of people (discussions of death and scenes with lots of coffins) -- none of these scenes in Stocker's novel
  • Interested in curious forms of nature 
  • A filmic version bit not a filmic verson of Stocker's novel
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  • Not only seen as a disease but also resembles something else
  • 1918 end of WW1 and flu
  • Plague way of thinking about a community suffering
  • Film made 1922
  • People knew what the plague was
  • Rats bring the idea into particular context and bring evil into the community 
  • Lots of different implications

Vampire in the film

  • Long nails, tall and skinny, really white skin
  • Constantly looks as though just got out of a coffin
  • Similar eyes to others - carriage driver and the mad man 
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Knock and Orlok 

  • Shady figures in appearance and expression
  • Mad people, destructive
  • Jewish? (1922 all Jews seen as shady in Germany)
  • Had money (pays his men well, Knock)
  • Jews let the plaue into the country and it is the beginning to the question of anti-Semitism and it is possible to do a radically anti-Semitic reading of this novel

Captain of the Ship and the Head of the Asylum

  • Both have bushy facial appearance - typography of masculinity
  • About using facial hair to impose masculine authority
  • Closely parallel
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  • Motif and appearance
  • Place where the sailor sleeps
  • Very prominent
  • Swinging - something about to shift / happen, unstable situation
  • Nosferatu materialises in mind of dying man
  • Being transformed into a ghost ship - dying one by one 
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Structure 1

Structured like classical theatre

Split into 5 acts

Act 1:

Gets locked in the castle

Act 2:

  • Begins with a meal, cuts himself, Hutter bitten by a vampire and is ok, question of substituting Ellen as the victim rather than Hutter.
  • She wanders at the moments when the vampire is terrorising her beloved (sleep walking)
  • Destined to be sacrificed for community, ocult connection between Ellen and Orlok is what saves Hutter from being killed by the vampire
  • Hutter first bitten in dining room, normally seriously affected when bitten in the bedroom
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Structure 2

Connection between vampirism and sex and sexuality

  • Leads to implications (Murnau was gay)
  • Hutter cuts finger (oily seduction scene) moves to a corner and wants to spend the night with him
  • In terms of endearment vampire uses more than just dinner
  • Raunchy homosexual vampirism 1922 hard to take
  • Sacrifice of virgins - Unschuld (losing virginity), innocent if a virgin
  • Telepathic information with vampires
  • Surrounded by discourse of virginity
  • Black hand going towards heart - significant 

2nd Act ends as he clambers down to send a letter, unconcious 

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Structure 3

Act 3, 4 and 5

  • Begins in the hospital, gets on ship and on horse (intercut)
  • Vampire travelling and Hutter travelling - race to get home
  • Leading horse and walking through the forest - race to the woman - why walking?
  • Vampires not supposed to be able to cross running water; Nosferatu doesn't stick to the rules and goes the fastest way, travels accross water all the time
  • Plague travels by boat, plague ship is like a death ship which is realistic, rats in bottom of boat, ghost ship caused by plague 
  • The sails / ship - camera making towards shop and looks as if going to hit it 
  • Scenes wholly full of sails which are lit so they become black, forboding of dark sails is a symbol of the plague, death, doom, fate and dread
  • Ellen at this time is sat waiting for someone; Hutter coming by land and Ellen is waiting at the sea (wrong place?), deliberately being conspicuous and letter reinforces ambiguity of who it is she is waiting for. Somehow she is allied with the figure of the vampire who is more sexually fulfilling than Hutter
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Structure 4

  • Crosses to the left and crosses to the right but where she is sitting there is no crosses and a bench 
  • Vampires do not like crosses but has to go past to get to part she is waiting at 
  • Summary of her sacrifice - overcomes crosses that are death and a commemoration of all those that have died
  • Orlok = Nosferatu
  • Battle between good (woman) and evil (vampire)
  • Battle having to get rid of the plague - sacrificed Ellen as victim


  • Horses are terrified of hyena 
  • Reality and nightmare (light and dark), morning everything returns to normality
  • Spiders eating each other, indulding in vampirism
  • Venus fly catcher's spikes resemble Nosferatu's teeth which close in and shutting of the gate in his castle 
  • Nice and ghastly 
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Structure 5


  • Over the road from Hutter's house
  • Over the water
  • Huge, derelict, falling apart, crooked, threatening
  • In Lübeck where filmed
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Structure 6

At the end:

  • Ellen sacrifices herself and sends Hutter away to get the doctor (budy with the plague, associated with fatality, needed for death certificate)
  • She knows what she is doing will be fatal
  • The window is cast open
  • Nosferatu looks passionate, not merely mad but looking for something
  • Is he going to sacrifice himself too?
  • Yearning in forces of evil for redemption (innocence/purity in the whiteness of her neck)
  • Scene of passion and longing
  • After dead he is next to her bed, kneeling at bedside (religion) and salvation
  • Large expressionist shout right at end for Hutter before she dies
  • Films ends at the Nosferatu's ruined castle (DBvL), falls into ruins due to forces of evil
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