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Nosferatu - The Vampyre

original title: Nosferatu - Phantom der Nacht


  • International Version
  • German Version
Release: Mar 03, 2011 - Author: LJSilver - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB

Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu - Phantom der Nacht" is a remake of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's same-named film version of Bram Stoker's famous novel "Dracula" from 1922!

The German version and the English version differ severely from each other, since Herzog shot the movie in 2 languages, meaning that he didn't just hire voice-actors to dub all the German lines but he decided to shoot the movie in German as well as in English.

There are several reasons for that:

  1. The cast was an international one. Not all of them were able to speak German - however, they were all able to speak English. Still, some of the actors had to be dubbed for both versions the final version of the movie since their accent was too hard to understand [two examples would be Roland Topor (Renfield) and Isabelle Adjani (Lucy)]. Fortunately, Adjani was able to do all the German lines since her mother was a German native speaker. However, her accent was still too hard to understand so they hired a voice-actor to dub all her dialogue.

  2. Even before he shot the movie, Herzog was in negotiation with 20th Century Fox who wanted to purchase the international marketing rights. Therefore it was more than understandable that they wanted to do an independent English version of the movie that they would then offer internationally. Unfortunately, the original version of the script seemed to be too long and boring for an American audience; Herzog was asked to cut about 10 minutes out for the final cut of the international version. In the year 2000 Anchor Bay finally released an uncut version of the international version on DVD - it was released in the US as well as the UK (where the version used for this report originates from).

If you look at both versions you can recognize the following pattern:

  • Almost all the dialogues (as well as monologues) were shot in both languages.

  • However, there are a few exceptions:

    • Expensive scenes that were hard to redo.

    • Scenes where it is not obvious in which language they were shooting it, e.g. since the camera is too far away to tell.

    • (Parts of) scenes including a supporting act (like Renfield or the gypsies) that neither speaks German nor English.

    • All of these "exceptions" were therefore included in English (after all, the "primary" language of this production was English!).

  • Several scenes have different camera angles.

  • Some scenes were conceived differently, i.e. it is possible that a dialogue that was shown in a close-up shot in the German version might be shown in a total shot in the international version. One could therefore argue that they didn't shoot the EXACT same movie.

  • They even paid close attention to details such as the language in Jonathan's diary.

We really recommend the audio commentary on the German as well as the international DVD - Werner Herzog reveals a lot of details about the production of both versions!


German Version: 102:02 min. (Anchor Bay, ending was cut off) / 102:27 (Arthaus, including the full ending sequence) [PAL]

International Version: 106:49 min. [NTSC]

This is a comparison between the uncut international version released in the year 2000 and the German version.

Both versions are included in the DVD-set released by Anchor Bay (while the German DVD released by Arthaus only provides the German version).

The time designations always refer to the German PAL version. The international version runs in NTSC speed.

Examples for the distinction between the German and the international version:

Left side:German Version
Right side:International Version

Example 1: Title screen (01:08 Min.)

Example 2: English as the "primary" language of this production

You see a complex scene at the marketplace which (probably due to the effort necessary to shoot the scene) was not included in both versions. This scene was only shot in English and later on dubbed for the German version (79:05 Min.).

Renfield (played by Roland Topor) is a good example for a character who had to be dubbed by a voice actor in both versions due to his heavy French accent. All the scenes that include this character were only shot in English. If there are some scenes that include other characters than him (e.g. during his conversation with Jonathan Harker) then (again) there's only an English version of that scene (05:47 Min.).

Example 3: Heavily altered sequences (73:00 Min.)

In this example you see that several sequences of dialogue sometimes appear at completely different points of the movie. In both pictures you see below, Dracula says "He will not die!" (German: "Er wird nicht sterben!").

Example 4: Different, yet still pretty similar sequences

Here you see a few examples for sequences that are pretty similar to each other, yet still they do not originate from the same footage. This is the most frequent difference you will find when comparing the two different versions to each other.

In the following example, Lucy at the beginning of the movie wakes up from a nightmare. The shots are slightly different for both versions (02:23 Min.).

Very often you won't immediately be able to spot the differences (82:45 Min./ 73:21 Min. / 77:35 Min.):

Example 5: Different camera angle (38:38 Min.)

The scene where Jonathan writes something in his diary proves that they used different camera angles for a few scenes.

Example 6: Love for detail (38:39)

During the scene where Jonathan writes something in his diary you also see the love for detail in this movie. Even the text he writes down is shown in the correct language.