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Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror

original title: Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens

Comparison:

  • Restored Version (1995)
  • Restored Version (2005/2006)
Release: Mar 09, 2011 - Author: Odo - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB

Detailed background information (story, copyright lawsuit, restauration, reconstruction of the original music, tinting, intertitles etc.) can be found in the comparison Public Domain Version vs. Restored Version (2005/2006).


Compared are the Restored Version (1995) (UK DVD by BFI) and the Restored Version (2005/2006), which has been released on DVD in Germany, England and the US. The comparison is based on the UK DVD by Eureka! (The Masters of Cinema Series #64).

Restored Version 1995 (BFI): 1:28:31 (1:25:39 opening and final credits excluded)
Restored Version 2005/2006 (Eureka!): 1:34:29 (1:30:32 opening and final credits excluded)

2 shortened scenes in the Restored Version from 1995 with a difference of 4 sec.
7 extended scenes in the Restored Version from 1995 with an additional running time of + 16.7 sec.
7 missing intertitles in the Restored Version from 1995 with a difference of 29.2 sec.
7 differences in the tinting
3 recuts (= different intertitles)
1 goof in editing in the Restored Version from 2005/2006.
3 scenes that start or end woth a black screen in the Restored Version from 1995.

The remaining difference in running time results from the different length of the intertitles, the different opening and final credits and the different speed (4% PAL speedup) of the version from 1995. Further differences (< 1 sec) result from film tears, jump cuts etc. That's explainable with the different sources of the two versions. Before the displaying and dismissing of the intertitles, further frame might have gotten lost here and there. In the following comparison, it's only relevant if the differences are > 1 sec or if the cut appears "hard". Mentioned but not listed as missing or additional footage are two tiny scenes, which have been used twice (one of them in the version from 1995 and one in the version from 2005/2006). Presumably that's an accidental goof.



Notes to the comparison

As a matter of fact, one version variies a lot from the other one. Different speed, cuts, different colors and music plus intertitles in several languages and designs changes the appearance of the movie pretty much. Picking of the version and name it as THE reference version would be presumptuous, especially considering that further versions will follow. That's why the following comparison can't be considered a classic comparison. Jörg Gerle is absolutely right in his Review for Film Dienst, which reads: Similar to times when "Nosferatu" was released in various versions in theaters, there's still no so-called ultimate version these days. On the contrary, there are many different versions. Some better, some worse. But all worth getting checked on the internet. (Please note: the comment was originally in German and has been translated into English).


Bologna (1995) vs. Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung (2005/06)

There was no version that was even close to Murnau's original version for decades. Fortunately, Murnau's original script was spread among experts. With their help, it was possible to identify available and lost scenes (and their correct order) pretty reliably. After long investigations, that were like a jigsaw puzzle, an almost reconstructed black and white version had a rerun in the Cinémathéque Francaise in 1981. Further restorations followed in 1984, 1987 and 1995. For instance, based on a (re)discovered nitrate copy, one could tell the coloring of each scene for sure from that point on. Moreover bad or missing scenes were added. The version from 1995 was made under the direction of Cineteca del Comune di Bologna and the film museum in Munich, where Enno Patalas (German film historian and critic) was calling the shots.

The last restauration, which has been compared with the above-mentioned Bologna version here, was being made in 2005/2006 by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Foundation (in cooperation with Luciano Berriatúa). That version contained the original German intertitles for the first time, most of them digital restored. Lost intertitles were recreated with the equal typographie. As a result of that, the movie contains the displaying of the beginning and the end of the single acts (five in total).




Comparison of the image

There are different releases available of the version from 1995 and the version from 2005/200 as well. All of them have a different image quality (sharpness, brightness etc.). The UK DVD of the version from 2005/2006 for instance has images less sharp than the German or the US DVD. The UK DVD by BFI based on the Bologna restauration in 1995 is windowboxed and has, in comparison to the French DVD by Film sans Frontieres (contains the Bologna version as well), a slight problem with the sharpness of the image.

Bottom line: one could say that the versions from 1995 can score with sharper images, but then again they contain visible scratches, flickering brightness etc. These disadvantages were illiminated during the restauration in 2005/2006 with the help of digital equipment. The result looks quite impressive even though a slight loss of sharpness can be recognized (the image looks almost too smooth).

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)




Tintings

Nosferatu versions based on the restauration in 1995 have different tintings than the output from 2005/2006, e.g. some scenes at night have been colored blue on the UK DVD by BFI (almost exterior shots). Turquoise has also been used in the darkness, but usually for interior shots or scary scenes to create a creepy mood. Dusk is pink, just like the current restauration, scenes in daylight or candlelight are yellow (looks more ocher in the version from 1995). The shot of a Venus flytrap embracing the victim is only in the version from 2005/2006 orange and red. The version from 1995 is yellow here (or ocher, whatever).

At night



Dusk



Daylight/Lighted interiors



Music

The original Nosfermatu music (composed by Hans Erdmann) for a long time was believed to be lost. Therefore, many versions of Nosferatu that were released during the last few years offer different music. There's a pretty well done score on the 2002 UK-DVD released by BFI - the orchestral arrangements were composed by James Bernard who did a good job for several different horrormovies in the past. The newest restoration (financed by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau foundation) offers a very special highlight - it acually includes the original music from 1922. This was done by courtesy of composer and conductor Berndt Heller who reconstructed the original music by composing two classical suites that were based on the Nosferatu music. For this he used several notes done by Erdmann in his "Allgemeines Handbuch der Filmmusik" (= "General Manual for Film Music"). However, it has to be mentioned, that Berndt Heller did not at all pioneer - conducter and musicologist Gillian B. Anderson was able to reconstruct the Nosferatu score already in the 1990's (which was also released as an Audio-CD; as you can see, the CD nowadays is a collector's album and therefore quite pricy). However, Anderson's reconstruction of the score was never used for any release of the movie, instead it was just played live by an orchestra.


Title Cards

The title cards of the 2005/2006 restauration offer the same design for every DVD release. We don't know whether or not those versions that are based on the 1995 Bologna version offer different title cards. Anyhow, the BFI-version's design of the title cards is very closely oriented towards the newest restoration.

Dialogue



Transition



Book



Diary



Letter



Logbook



Announcement



Newspaper

Time index: 1995 Restauration [2005/06 Restauration]

The opening credits of the 2005/2006 version is slightly longer.
63.6 sec.
Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



01:51
"Nosferatu" consists of 5 acts. As opposed to the 1995 version, the restored version from 2005/2006 announces the beginnings end the endings of each and every act there is by showing a title card. At this point, the movie announces the first act.
5.1 sec.



05:33
Film tear. In the 2005/2006 version, Knock looks up, while in the 1995 version, the transition is missing.
2.8 sec.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



06:09
Film tear. In the 1995 version you don't see Hutter putting the feather back into the inkwell.
1.2 sec.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



14:00 - 14:04 [15:43 - 15:47]
When the innkeeper leads Hutter to his room, you at first only see the empty room. Since there is no visible light source, the 2005/2006 version rightly shows a tinted image. Only when the innkeeper enters the frame with a candle, the colors change to a yellow shade (indicating day- or candlelight). In the 1995 version, however, the picture is shown in a yellow shade right from the beginning.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



15:14 - 15:59 [17:03 - 17:46]
Hutter skims through the vampire book. The two versions differ in the title cards: In the 1995 version you see the first page of the book slightly earlier. Just before you see the second page of the book, you see Hutter looking at the book again. In the 2005/2006 version the first page is shown a little later and then the movie immediately cuts to the second page.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



17:06
Hutter flips another page in the book before you see the next title card.
+1.9 sec.



17:30 - 19:56 [19:23 - 21:52]
From the leaving of the inn during the early morning until the evening arrival at the bridge, the versions offer different tonings. The 1995 version again offers a yellow shade, implying that there already is broad daylight when Hutter leaves the inn. The 2005/2006 version, however, shows Hutter leaving during dawn (pink shades). After Hutter called the carter's attention to the sun already setting, the 1995 version changes to duks (puink shades), while in the 2005/2006 version the events until they arrive at the bridge are (inconsequently) shown in yellow shades.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



18:49
At this point, the 1995 version offers slightly more footage since the audience already gets a peek of the scenery, just before the carriage enters the frame from the right side. At the beginning of this scene in the 2005/200 version, the carriage is already on its way.
+5 sec.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



20:08
In the 2005/2006 version, the scene doesn't fade in.
+0.4 sec.



23:20
After Hutter followed Graf Orlok inside the castle, title cards announce the end of the first and the beginning of the second act.
4.4 sec.



31:52 - 31:55 [34:46 - 34:50]
At this point, there's a mistake in the 2005/2006 version: Hutter (who just spotted Orlok in front of his room door) panicky runs to the window and looks for a way to escape. He spots a rocky abyss - at its end, there's an alpine brook. In the 2005/2006 version, this shot was turned upside down. You can obviously see that the water drips up from a rock.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



35:11
After the doctor called Ellen's little sleepwalking-action rather harmless, you see all the persons that are present bending over the sleeping woman. Just before you see the next title card, the 1995 version fades out.
+0.3 sec.



35:39 [38:36]
In the 1995 version, the scene fades in from a black screen, while in the 2005/2006 version just starts fading in.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



37:40
At this point, the people responsible for the 1995 version obviously made a mistake: they inserted some material from minute 37:48 - therefore, you see a part of that scene twice.
+ 2.4 sec.



39:27
After the rafter-sequence, the second act ends and the third one is announced.
3.6 sec.



41:11 - 41:26 [44:25 - 44:40]
When the customs officer looks at the freight documents, this happens in the middle of the night. In the 1995 version, the papers are mistakenly shown with a yellow shade (indicating daylight).

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



43:05 [46:27]
As opposed to the 2005/2006 version, the scene of the Venus flytrap is not colored orange-red.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



48:52
At this point (where Ellen reads Hutter's letters at the beach) the 1995 version misses out on a title card which shows the last page of the letter where Hutter talks about his bad dreams.
3,9 sec.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



53:31 [57:30]
As opposed to the 2005/2006 version, the scene of the 1995 version begins with a fade-in.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



53:33 [57:33]
The 1995 version begins the scene with a fade-in.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



56:02
In the 1995 version, the sailor looks at Nosferatu a little longer before he runs on deck.
+ 1 sec.



57:13
The third act ends and the fourth one is announced.
4,1 sec.



Subsequently, the 2005/2006 version shows a title card that was postponed in the 1995 version (there, you see it at 57:32).

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



1:04:28
Hutter's homecoming is commented by Ellen with ease - she's happy that he's unscathed. In the 1995 version, the title cards that would include this dialogue were not included.
3.8 sec.



1:10:32
At this point, the 2005/2006 version uses the same footage that was just shown (the barker goes along the street). It's highly debatable whether or not this was intended to be that way.
2.7 sec.



1:10:34
Now ends the fourth part; the finale is announced.
4.3 sec.



1:12:11
As opposed to the 1995 version, the 2005/2006 version shows an obvious film tear when Ellen looks around in horror after she started to read in the book of vampires.
+1.4 sec.



1:12:15 - 1:13:03 [1:17:36 - 1:18:20]
When Ellen reads in the book of vampires, both versions' title cards have a different order.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



1:15:10 [1:20:46]
When a candle is blown out by the wind, the 2005/2006 version immediately turns to a green light (indicating nightlight) as opposed to the 1995 version where the color of the screen stays unaltered for a few moments.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)




1:16:51 - 1:19:54 [1:22:34 - 1:25:44]
When Knock (who just moments ago escaped from an insane asylum) is chased by an angry mob, the 1995 version shows this during daylight while the 2005/2005 version shows it in nightlight.
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



1:23:53
In the 1995 version, Nosferatu sucks blood from Ellen's neck noticeably longer.
+ 6.7 sec.



1:24:02 - 1:24:18 [1:29:59 - 1:30:17]
When the movie in the 1995 version cuts to Nosferatu after the cockcrow (which is shown in pink shades for dawn) it's suddenly night again. In the 2005/2006 version, however, the toning is a little better to understand (Nosferatu is surprised by the first few sunbeams and therefore is also shown in pink shades).
No difference in time.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)



The credits roll longer in the 1995 version.
+ 5.1 sec.

Restored Version (1995)
Restored Version (2005/2006)

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