‘Nosferatu’ screening with live music
“Nosferatu,” the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula,” will be shown at the Town Hall Theatre on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
This 1922 silent film, directed by German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, remains a landmark work of the cinematic horror genre. It was among the first movies to use visual design to contribute to an overall sense of terror. To modern viewers, the passage of time has made this unusual film seem even more strange and otherworldly.
German actor Max Schreck portrays the title character, a mysterious count from Transylvania who travels to the German city of Bremen to take up residence. A rise in deaths from the plague is attributed to the count’s arrival. Only when a young woman reads “The Book of Vampires” does it become clear how to rid the town of this frightening menace.
Director Murnau told the story with strange camera angles, weird lighting, and special effects that include sequences deliberately speeded up.
The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was an unauthorized adaptation of Stoker’s novel, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain rights to the novel. For instance, “vampire” became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok.” After the film was released, Stoker’s widow filed a copyright infringement lawsuit and won; all known prints and negatives were destroyed under the terms of settlement.
However, intact copies of the film would surface later, allowing “Nosferatu” to be restored and screened today as audiences originally saw it.
The film will be screened with live music accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, who performs on a digital synthesizer that reproduces the texture of the full orchestra, creating a traditional “movie score” sound.
Admission is free, with a suggestion donation of $5 per person to help defray expenses.
For more information, visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com.