Based on Bram Stoker's novel, Nosferatu
(or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) is German film director FW Furnau's rendering of Dracula in the
personna of Graf Orlok. Why the name change? Nosferatu was an unauthorized production of Stoker's work.
Enough similarities remained to be recognizeable, but enough was changed (such as character names) to be legal.
Bram Stoker's Dracula was was associated with bats,
and was also portayed as having a special fondness for wolves. In the novel he even refers to the howling
creatures as children: "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
Murnau's Count Orlok seems to prefer the company of rats.
They surround him and he mirrors them physically, looking like a shaved carnivorous rat.
Produced in 1922, Nosferatu is a silent film, yet remains
one of the scariest and most memorable films of the horror genre.
Maximilian Schreck was born in 1879 in Berlin. He worked
in an apprenticeship until joining Max Reinhardt's group of Germany's most talented actors. He played mostly out-of-the-norm
and horror movie characters.
Schreck was introduced to the great Friedrich Wilhelm (FW)
Murnau by Max Reinhardt. Murnau hired him to play Graf (Count) Orlok in the fledgling Prana Film's first production, "Nosferatu;
Eine Symphonie Des Grauens" (Nosferatu; A Symphony Of Horror).
Schreck's performance as the bald, bat-eared, close fanged
Orlok remains one of the most frightening film characters in history. Max performed in many other films including "Die Strasse"
(The Street) and "Der Tunnel" (The Tunnel) before his death in 1936.
More Faces of Dracula
Bela Lugosi as "Dracula"
Christopher Lee in "The Horror of Dracula"
Frank Langella as "Dracula"
Gary Oldman in "Bram Stoker's Dracula"
Willem Dafoe in "Shadow of the Vampire"