100 years ago Nosferatu defined the vampire movie

Over the years, the vampire has functioned as a multi-faceted metaphor on celluloid. Prior to “Nosferatu”, the vampire was an attractive figure, usually a female who brought about the downfall of a man in accordance with the backward gender policy of the time. “Nosferatu” brought out the most monstrous aspects of the vampire.

In Stoker’s novel – which is in the public domain and available online for free through The Gutenberg Project – the author gives a detailed physical description of Orlok’s literary analogue, Count Dracula, just before the famous phrase “Listen -the – the children of the night. What music they make! ”Her Dracula has an aquiline nose, bushy eyebrows, pointy teeth, and pointy ears.

Orlok reflects these characteristics, the total of which forms a rat’s face on screen, despite headings comparing him to “the bird of death calling your name at midnight.” As the Jewish culture website Alma points out, Orlok also comes to Wisborg “surrounded by rats, an animal that Jews were frequently compared to in Europe at the time.” His bald head aligns more with the anti-Semitic cartoons that prevailed on the covers of dime and other novels in the early 20th century.

It should be noted that a Jewish actor, Alexander Granach, plays a leading role in “Nosferatu” as a Renfield-style real estate agent, Knock, who displays similar characteristics and whose name is reminiscent of the myth of the incoming vampires. in the houses by invitation only. In his autobiography, Granach wrote that Murnau was “always chivalrous” and defended him against anti-Semitic attacks. Whether or not the director consciously wanted Orlok to reflect stereotypes, the fact remains that prejudices were brewing in his country, where a deep fear and hatred of the Other took root in the aftermath of the First War. global.

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