Not Rated | | Fantasy, Horror
The film was loosely based on the Bram Stoker book but the characters' names were changed in an attempt to prevent legal action (which failed). The subtitles were translated into French, then when the film went to the USA into English but with Stoker's character names used. In the meantime the original prints were destroyed because of the legal action, so the original subtitles were lost. The American version went to the UK, and then was translated back into German for a release there. When restorers were about to make a definitive version, they were looking through a number of archives. Unfortunately, all of the prints they found had the changed subtitles, so they gave up hope of being able to recover the originals. They later heard of a good print in an East German archive. When they got there, they found out that the print had been loaned out. The restorers were then offered to have a look at another print from the archive, which wasn't considered as good as the other one. When the restorers observed that print, they discovered that it had the original subtitles. It had been sitting there for half a century and nobody had noticed.
Nosferatu. Does this word not sound like the midnight call of the Bird of Death? Do not utter it, or the images of life will fade - into pale shadows and ghostly dreams will rise from your heart and feed your Blood.
(at around 52 mins) The captain of the ship carrying Count Orlok ties himself to the wheel with a 'granny knot', which may slip loose, rather than the correct sailors' 'reef knot'.
There are a confusing number of different surviving prints, restorations and alternate versions of Nosferatu. In the main, there are three 'complete' restorations and two incomplete, partially-restored versions. All five are available on DVD, while the latest two restorations, from 1995 and 2006, are also on Blu-ray. In addition there are countless low-quality public domain DVDs with different lengths, running speeds and soundtracks. All are derived from a single print held by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). They usually have replacement American intertitles and are always in black and white; the film was originally color tinted throughout and only meant to be seen that way. This comprehensive article explains all of them simply and clearly: Nosferatu: The Ultimate Blu-ray and DVD Guide.