Nosferatu eine Symphonie des Grauens
DirectorF.W. Murnau


Nosferatu, also called “Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror” or “Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens” in the original German, is a 1922 silent horror film based on the book Dracula. While it was originally released in 1922, the English translation was not released until 1929. Consequently it is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a 1929 film. It stars Max Schreck as Count Orlok, also known as Nosferatu, Gustav von Wangenheim as Hutter, Greta Schröder as Ellen Hutter (called “seine Frau” in the original German version), and Alexander Granach as Knock (called “ein Häusermakler” in the original German version). It was directed by F.W. Murnau and was written by Henrik Galeen.


Hutter is a real estate agent in the employ of Knock. One day Knock receives a letter from Count Orlok in which the Count expresses his interest in purchasing a house in their humble village. Knock, unaware of the danger, sends Hutter on the long journey to Count Orlok's castle, much to Ellen Hutter's dismay. He arrives at the castle in the middle of the night and the Count treats him to dinner. Hutter shows the Count a picture of Ellen and Orlok comments “What a lovely neck your wife has.” While slicing a loaf of bread, Hutter accidentally cuts his finger. Upon seeing the blood, Count Orlok goes mad, grabs Hutter's hand, and begins to drink the blood from the wound. The night is spent in terror as the Count is revealed to be Nosferatu as he chases Hutter and drinks his blood. The next day, Hutter, thinking the whole thing was a dream, wrights a letter to his wife complaining of two mosquito bites right next to each other on his neck. That night Nosferatu, chases him again and Hutter realizes that he wasn't dreaming.

The next day Hutter awakes to find that Nosferatu has already set sail over the sea for his new house in Hutter's village. Hutter rushes by horse to make it home in time to protect his wife. Meanwhile Nosferatu has stowed away on a ship carrying several “crates of dirt for experimental purposes.” One of these crates is Nosferatu's coffin and the others contain rats infected with the black plague. One sailor gets bit by a plague infested rat and quickly becomes ill. He complains of seeing an extra passenger below deck where he is kept separate from the others. The other sailors and the captain believe he is seeing things because of his strange illness. The whole crew quickly becomes infected with the plague and begins to die. Those who were sick were kept below deck to isolate them from the healthy and they often complained of the stowaway attacking them in the middle of the night. The corpses of former crew members are tossed into the sea to help prevent the plague from spreading. This however does not work, and the crew dies off until only the captain and one crew member remain in the night.

The last member of the crew decides to search below deck for the mysterious “extra passenger” now that the sick were all gone. As he searches the room, the lid of Nosferatu's coffin comes flying off and Nosferatu is lifted upright by some supernatural force before he begins to chase the crew member. The last crew member rushes up above deck and tells the captain what he found. When Nosferatu makes it above deck, the last crew member jumps overboard to save himself while the captain is killed.

Nosferatu brings the ship into port in the middle of the night and carries his coffin, full of plague rats, to his new house right across the street from Hutter's wife Ellen. The next day, the dock workers find a ship in port with no crew and a dead captain. They take out one of the “crates of dirt” and open it to find rats inside. Meanwhile, one of the workers finds the captains journal and reads the last entry in which the captain writes about his realization that the black plague was aboard his ship. The dock workers send warning to the people living in the village and the town crier proclaims the news.

Despite the warning and their best efforts to stay out of harms way, the villagers start to rapidly die off. It is at this point that Hutter reaches the village by land and warns his wife about Nosferatu. On his journey home, Hutter had picked up a book about vampires which he takes home. He warns his wife never to read this book. As the people keep dying, Ellen Hutter becomes concerned and despite her husbands warnings, she reads the book in which she finds that the only way to kill Nosferatu is to let him drink the blood of an innocent woman so that he might forget to return to his coffin before sunrise. She looks out the window and sees Nosferatu staring at her from across the street. She opens her window, unlocks her door, and waits for Nosferatu to come drink her blood. When he comes, he finds her laying peacefully in bed and sinks his teeth into her neck until sunrise. When the sun comes through the window and hits him he vanishes from this air.

Hutter comes to find his wife dead and mourns his loss. In the days to come, it is found that with Nosferatu the plague has vanished from the world suddenly.

Cast List

  • Max Schreck as Count Orlok/Nosferatu
  • Greta Schröder as Ellen Hutter (“seine Frau” in the original German version)
  • Alexander Granach as Knock (“ein Häusermakler” in the original German version)
  • Georg H. Schnell as Harding (“Hutters Freund” in the original German version)
  • Ruth Landshoff as Annie (“Harding's Frau” in the original German version)
  • John Gottowt as Professor Bulwer (“ein Paracelsianer” in the original German version)
  • Gustav Botz as Professor Sievers (“der Stadtarzt” in the original German version)
  • Max Nemetz as Kapitän der Demeter
  • Wolfgang Heinz as Zweiter Kapitän
  • Albert Venohr as Matrose 1
  • Eric van Viele as Matrose 2
  • Karl Etlinger as Student (uncredited)
  • Guido Herzfeld as Wirt (uncredited)
  • Loni Nest as Child at Window (uncredited)
  • Fanny Schreck as Krankenschwester im Hospital (uncredited)
  • Hardy von Francois as Arzt im Hospital (uncredited)
  • Heinrich Witte as Wärter im Irrenhaus (uncredited)


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