The mysterious Count Orlok summons Thomas Hutter to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen. After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger
Did I kill one of your people, Murnau? I can't remember. _Final rating:★★★½ - I really liked it. Would strongly recommend you give it your time._
If you were ever to be able to commit your imagination to film when you read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" then I expect you would struggle to come up with anything more vivid than this. What is most striking is the wonderful detail as poor old estate agent "Hutter" is despatched to the home of "Count Orlok" (Max Schreck) to negotiate the acquisition of an isolated house for him. Once he arrives at the castle, we are subsumed in the eeriness and wickedness as it becomes clear that "Orlok" is an epitome of evil. Our story follows the travels of the "Count" from his castle to his new home - wreaking plague and havoc as he goes - until he arrives in the town inhabited by "Ellen" (a superbly vulnerable yet strong Greta Schröder) - the wife of the estate agent who is hot on their heals. "Ellen" has an inkling as to how to kill their nemesis, but that would involve the ultimate sacrifice. Now I have a few slight niggles with it - the inter-titles in a gothic script are, frequently, very difficult to read and that does interrupt the narrative; the editing is just a little too brutal at times and I found the score oppressive - even on the more joyous, or optimistic, scenes it seemed just a bit too overpowering than is necessary, but these are trifles when compared to the beautiful photography. Schreck is magnificent in the title role, exuding menace and malevolence, Gustav von Wangenheim ("Hutter") conveys the sense of desperation and terror in a truly evocative manner and it all adds up to a taut horror film the likes of which you'll never see in any subsequent treatment of this story.