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Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
Nosferatu
(1922)
 

There are a handful of seminal works from the silent era that will remain in high regard by film enthusiasts worthwide. They remain the principal artistic influences from the silent era, and the emotional impact of their images resonate throughout cinema history. Nosferatu (1922) remains today as one of the most powerful visual influences on filmmakers, and it was nearly lost forever to modern audiences.

When fledgling German film company Prana-Film began producing their version of the novel Dracula they didn’t bother, through neglect, ignorance or design, to secure the film rights from Bram Stoker’s estate. Their intent probably was to circumvent the legal requirement because character names and locations were changed in the screen adaptation.

Stoker’s widow, Florence, was not about to let this unauthorized film adaptation of her husband’s novel continue to circulate. At some point in the legal proceedings Prana-Film went out of business. Stoker’s estate forged an agreement with the holding company controlling Prana-Film assets to destroy all prints of Nosferatu. The film nearly went the way of Charles Chaplin’s production The Sea Gull, a feature film directed by Josef von Sternberg and completely destroyed in a contract settlement.

Fortunately for all who love silent era films and those who love monster films, a positive print of Nosferatu survived. Because the original German negative was most likely destroyed in the early 1920s, Nosferatu stood its best chance of survival in pristine form in export positive prints. (It is a fascinating question as to whether an original export negative survives somewhere in England or America.) Unfortunately, it appears that the best 35mm prints of Nosferatu are second-generation dupes taken from original release prints.

Much has been made of actor Max Schreck’s contribution to Nosferatu. His unworldy thin rodent-like features, exaggerated by makeup and high-shouldered wardrobe, leave even the casual film viewer with the most unsettling feelings. If ever an actor was born to play a role, Max Schreck was born to play Dracula. In concert with Schreck, director F.W. Murnau brought easily the eeriest Dracula to the motion picture screen. It is no accident that several of the shots of Orlok the vampire are among the most visually striking in cinema history: the shot of Orlok walking through the doorway into Hutter’s bedroom, the shot of Orlok rising from his coffin on the seafaring ship, the low-angle shot from the ship’s hold looking up at Orlok walking on the deck above, the shot of the shadow of Orlok walking up the stairway to Ellen’s bedroom door, the shot of Orlok feasting on Ellen’s blood only to realize that dawn has arrived. On and on the list of influential visuals goes.

Nosferatu is the current leader among silent era film editions available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD home video, with an undocumentable number of DVD editions having been released worldwide since 1998, most of them being low-quality budget editions for substandard 16mm reduction prints. However, we are pleased that — with the available Blu-ray Disc editions that are now available — modern audiences can enjoy the film in nearly the same visual quality as audiences from 1922. — Carl Bennett

2013 Kino Classics Blu-ray Disc edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted black & white, 94 minutes, not rated,
with The Language of Shadows (2007), color and black & white, 52 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K1209, UPC 7-38329-12092-4.
Pillarboxed 1920 x 1080p 16:9 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, two single-sided, dual-layered Blu-ray Discs, Region A, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German and English language intertitles, optional English language subtitles, chapter stops, two-disc standard BD keepcase, $39.95.
DVD release date: 12 November 2013.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 9 / audio: 9 / additional content: 7 / overall: 9.
Kino Lorber’s two-disc deluxe remastered Blu-ray edition of Nosferatu features a high-definition video transfer from the recent restoration by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, accompanied by a recording of the original Hans Erdmann music score that accompanied the film at the time of its 1922 German release, presented in 5.1 surround sound and 2.0 stereo sound.

It is unknown at this time whether the HD transfer for this edition has been updated from the HD transfer utilized for Kino’s 2007 DVD edition noted below. However, watching this edition, we found ourselves looking at the textures and details in the picture that weren’t visible before. There is visual detail in the source material that is reproduced here, despite the fact that the film has only survived in worn prints, that hasn’t been seen in previous home video editions or in any of the circulating theatrical prints we have viewed over the years.

A second disc features the film with German language intertitles and optional English subtitles.

Among the supplementary features is a 52-minute documentary The Language of Shadows by Luciano Berriatúa, which provides a detailed account of the production and explores the filmmakers’ involvement in the occult.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2013 Kino Classics DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted black & white, 94 minutes, not rated,
with The Language of Shadows (2007), color and black & white, 52 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K1208, UPC 7-38329-12082-5.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German and English language intertitles, optional English language subtitles, 10 chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
DVD release date: 12 November 2013.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 9 / additional content: 7 / overall: 8.

Kino Lorber’s two-disc deluxe remastered DVD edition of Nosferatu features a high-definition video transfer from the recent restoration by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, accompanied by a recording of the original Hans Erdmann music score that accompanied the film at the time of its 1922 German release, presented in 5.1 surround sound and 2.0 stereo sound.

It is unknown at this time whether the HD transfer for this edition has been updated from the HD transfer utilized for Kino’s 2007 DVD edition noted below.

A second disc features the film with German language intertitles and optional English subtitles.

Among the supplementary features is a 52-minute documentary The Language of Shadows by Luciano Berriatúa, which provides a detailed account of the production and explores the filmmakers’ involvement in the occult. Also included is “Nosferatu: Historic Film Meets Digital Restoration,” a 3-minute documentary; a stills gallery; scene comparisons; and excerpts from other F.W. Murnau films, including Der Gang in die Nacht [Journey into the Night] (1920), Schloß Vogelöd [The Haunted Castle] (1921), Phantom (1922), Die Finanzen des Großherzog [The Finances of the Grand Duke] (1924), Der letzte Mann [The Last Laugh] (1924), Tartüff (1925), Faust (1926) and Tabu (1931).

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
 
This Region 1 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
2007 Kino International DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted black & white, 94 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German and English language intertitles, English language subtitles, chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
DVD release date: 20 November 2007.
Country of origin: USA
Kino International’s two-disc ultimate DVD edition of Nosferatu features a new high-definition video transfer from the recent restoration by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, accompanied by a 5.1 surround sound recording of the original Hans Erdmann music score that accompanied the film at the time of its 1922 German release.

Among the supplementary features is a 52-minute documentary The Language of Shadows by Luciano Berriatúa, which provides a detailed account of the production and explores the filmmakers’ involvement in the occult. Also included is “Nosferatu: Historic Film Meets Digital Restoration,” a 3-minute documentary; a stills gallery; scene comparisons; and excerpts from other F.W. Murnau films, including Der Gang in die Nacht [Journey into the Night] (1920), Schloß Vogelöd [The Haunted Castle] (1921), Phantom (1922), Die Finanzen des Großherzog [The Finances of the Grand Duke] (1924), Der letzte Mann [The Last Laugh] (1924), Tartüff (1925), Faust (1926) and Tabu (1931).

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
 
This Region 1 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
2007 Eureka Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white and color-toned black & white, 93 minutes, BBFC Classification PG.

Eureka Entertainment, EKA40214, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, two single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German language intertitles, English language subtitles, chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, £22.99.
DVD release date: 19 November 2007.
Country of origin: England
This Masters of Cinema Series edition features Nosferatu in its definitive restoration, with the original German-language intertitles (with English language subtitles), accompanied by the original Hans Erdmann music score that accompanied the film at the time of its 1922 German release, performed by the Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken and conducted by Berndt Heller.

The set’s supplementary features include a full-length audio commentary by Brad Stevens and R. Dixon Smith; a 96-page book containing articles by David Skal (author of Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen), Thomas Elsaesser (author of Weimar Cinema and After: Germany’s Historical Imaginary), Gilberto Perez (author of The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium) and Enno Patalas (former director of the Münchner Stadtmuseum-Filmmuseum); a newly-translated article on vampires by the film’s producer Albin Grau; notes on the film’s restoration; a restoration demonstration; and a 53-minute German documentary about director F.W. Murnau and the making of Nosferatu, with modern footage of the film's original locations.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2001 Image Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-toned black & white, 81 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID0277DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-02772-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 448 and 224 kbps audio bit rates, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and 5.0 surround sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 12 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $24.99.
DVD release date: 2 January 2001.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 9 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

Nosferatu was previously released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 1998. That edition was compromised by an older transfer originally prepared for laserdisc utilizing rougher film materials.

A new video transfer has been prepared by David Shepard for this revised Image edition. There is not only greater image detail there is greater image information extracted from shadow portions of the picture. There is now a more stable image from frame to frame, with fewer and less pronounced fluttering exposure fluctuations. The video transfer has utilized different 35mm materials than the old edition. The print itself is in very-good condition, with the usual amount of speckling, scuffing, scratches, etc. (The old edition was touted as transferred from 35mm materials but the results have always looked as though they were from a 16mm reduction print, with all that format’s shortcomings.) The new transfer also features an open framing that exceeds the old transfer in the inclusion of more image information on all sides of the picture, but varies from shot to shot. Usually there is more image in the left part of the frame in the new edition. There are new color toning schemes, presumably following the original specifications. In reevaluating the disc on high-definition equipment, with the standard NTSC interlaced signal upscaled to a 1080-progressive full HD signal, it is easy to see the deficiencies of the source material itself and of the digital color-toning in the video transfer. While our original grading of the video quality of this disc has been lowered, we slightly prefer this disc over the Kino edition noted below for its smoother encoding to disc.

The intertitles have all been retranslated, presumably better representing the original German intertitles since there are considerable differences between some of the intertitles of the two editions. There are also improved intertitle representations of book pages, letters, journals, etc. To accomodate the existing organ score, the timing of both discs are roughly the same from shot to shot, with some shots transferred at a slightly faster rate to accomodate longer intertitles, etc.

The print utilized for new edition does feature these new shots: After Hutter tosses away the vampire lore book and the shot irises out, there is a panning bridge shot and another static one of the ‘Carpathian’ mountains that are absent from the old edition; also, after the ship captain is attacked, an establishing shot of the ship and a shot of Hutter riding over rolling hills on horseback is featured. Some shots include iris opens and closes that are simply trimmed out in the old edition’s print. The new edition includes at least one brief intertitle not in the old edition and eliminates another. Shepard has also corrected the placement of the “At the same hour . . .” intertitle, before Ellen awakens and as Hutter is being attacked.

The DVD contains an augmented supplementary section composed of a handful of Albin Grau’s production drawings (amazingly close to the final visual product) and an overintellectualized audio commentary by Freudian disciple Lokke Heiss. Heiss also hosts an interesting new tour of Nosferatu locations, with frame enlargements and modern location photos. A brief section details the phantom carriage ride as well.

This edition features a new Dolby Digital 5.0 surround orchestral music score performed by The Silent Orchestra. The music is entertaining and full of exotic sounds. The score is performed on synthesizers and percussion instruments. And while the keyboard instruments are electronic, the sound samples are of high quality and do not have any of the annoying artificiality of most synthesizer samples. Thus, the music is far less distracting and disconcerting, and is more entertaining and satisfying. The disc also includes the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo pipe organ score by Timothy Howard included on the previous edition from Shepard. We like to turn the organ score up until the house walls buzz and the neighbors complain.

Despite the compromised quality of existing prints of Nosferatu, the film remains a must for film scholars and horror film collectors. This remastered DVD edition is a considerable improvement over the previous Image edition. Owners of that edition will find that an upgrade purchase is worthwhile.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2002 Kino on Video DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted black & white, 93 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K253, UPC 7-38329-02532-8.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 7 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 17 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $24.95 (reduced to $19.95).
DVD release date: 24 September 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 8 / additional content: 6 / overall: 7.

This Kino International edition features a video transfer mastered from a color-tinted 35mm negative restored by La Cineteca del Comune de Bologna, with lab work by L’Immagine Ritrovata, and is licensed by Transit Films, Germany, on behalf of the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau-Stiftung.

The natural-speed full-frame video transfer for this edition is very-good and holds more image detail than any previous home video edition of the film but, in reevaluating the disc on high-definition equipment with the standard NTSC signal upscaled to 1080p HD, we have elected to lower our previous accessment of the video quality due a coarseness in the transfer that creates a swarm of contrasty, oversharpened pixels. In a still frame, the picture looks like a pointilistic pen drawing.

In the frame enlargements reproduced here we see a comparison of the grayscale exposure range and framing of the Kino edition (top) and the Image Entertainment edition (below) noted below. While the Kino edition image is sharper and holds more highlight details, the framing is tighter (noticeably at the bottom) than the Image edition.

The Image edition frame enlargement reveals more image detail in the darker portions of the picture, and from a sliver additional image at the top portion of the frame, to more image at left and right, and substantially more image at the bottom of the picture (note the clear view of the bottom step below Hutter’s feet in the Image frame). Throughout the film, some important visual information is on the verge of being lost to the extra cropping of the bottom of the Kino frame.

While the Kino picture is framed tighter and is darker in comparison to the Image edition, the Kino transfer excels at holding highlight details. In the footage represented by the example frames, the Kino edition picture holds the vertical stripes in Hutter’s vest and more facial details than the Image edition.

The intertitles have been newly-translated and are set in a combination of a readable gothic calligraphic typefont that are presented in an animated representation of book pages flipping forward and in a modern script font set as green type on a black background. The new translation reads easily in a flowing fashion and clearly communicates the storyline elements and dialogue, more so than older English language prints.

The disc features two stereo soundtracks: the Audio 1 tracks present an original music score performed on synthesizers by Donald Sosin, with vocals by Joanna Seaton and some incidental sound effects; the Audio 2 tracks present music composed by Géard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboitzeff, performed on synthesizers by Art Zoyd. The Sosin music is very good and sometimes reveals a wry sense of humor within its in-turns somber and romantic tone. The Hourbette-Zaboitzeff-Zoyd music is eerily atmospheric, dynamic, and takes a far more modern approach to its synthesized sounds and aggressive arrangements, but it can also be at times annoying. Some viewers will appreciate the Sosin option.

Conspicuous by its absence, for a major home video release of an important silent era film, is any kind of authoritative audio commentary. Anyone looking for some additional information on Murnau and the film itself will have to consult the Lokke Heiss commentary on the Image disc noted above.

The disc’s supplementary material includes a still photo and promotional materials gallery (18 images), more than 30 minutes of excerpts from the Murnau films Der Gang in die Nacht [Journey into the Night] (1920), Schloß Vogelöd [The Haunted Castle] (1921), Phantom (1922), Der letzte Mann [The Last Laugh] (1924), Faust (1926) and Tabu (1931) — all from 35mm materials and accompanied by Jon C. Mirsalis, Timothy Brock and Larry Marotta, and ‘meeting the count’ scene comparisons between the Stoker novel, an English translation of the Henrik Galeen scenario, the film itself, and an exerpt from a 1938 Orson Welles radio performance (which has been overprocessed through a noise gate).

While we regret that this Kino edition features a tighter framing than the Image edition, we favor it for its greater picture quality. We have recommended this edition in the past, but now favor the new edition (noted above) from Kino International.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
1998 Image Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted black & white, 81 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID4098DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-40982-6.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, snapper DVD case, $29.99.
DVD release date: 21 July 1998.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 9 / additional content: 5 / overall: 7.
The 35mm print utilized for this disc’s video transfer is soft in photographic detail and a bit contrasty, with precious little detail remaining in dark, shadowy areas of the picture. The transfer does not seem to have been redone for this DVD, as it appears to be identical to the transfer available on the 1991 Image laserdisc release produced by David Shepard. New English intertitles have been prepared for this edition. However, we do not think it is necessary to add digital speckles to the intertitle cards in an attempt to make them look contemporary to the film.

The DVD contains a thin supplementary section composed of a handful of Albin Grau’s production drawings and audio commentary by Lokke Heiss. This film is accompanied by a pipe-organ music score performed by Timothy Howard.

This edition of Nosferatu is out-of-print. Image Entertainment has reissued the disc (see above) with an improved video transfer, an added 5.0 surround sound orchestral music score, and other supplementary materials.
2002 BFI Video Publishing DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 113 minutes, BBFC Classification PG.

BFI Video Publishing, BFIVD520, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided?, dual-layered? DVD disc, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German language intertitles, English language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £19.99.
DVD release date: 21 January 2002.
Country of origin: England
This edition from the British Film Institute includes a restored edition of the film prepared from 35mm print materials, with audio commentary by Christopher Frayling, and an essay on the restoration of the film.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2001 Eureka Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white and color-toned black & white, 90 minutes, BBFC Classification 12.

Eureka Entertainment, EKA40025, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, two single-sided, single-layered? DVD discs, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, German language intertitles, English language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £19.99.
DVD release date: 22 January 2001.
Country of origin: England
This two-disc edition from England’s Eureka Entertainment features an original music score composed by Géard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboitzeff, performed on synthesizers by Art Zoyd, an audio commentary track, with the option to view the film in black & white (disc one) or sepia-toned (disc two). The Hourbette-Zaboitzeff-Zoyd music is eerily atmospheric, dynamic, and takes a far more modern approach to its synthesized sounds and aggressive arrangements, but it can also be at times annoying. Also included are a few other features in the set’s supplementary section.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2000 Elite Entertainment DVD edition

The Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema (1920-1922), black & white, 175 minutes total. not rated,
including Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 64 minutes, not rated.

Elite Entertainment, EE 4376, 7-90594-43762-6.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided, single-layered disc and one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 6 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, two-disc DVD keepcase, $49.95 (originally $54.95).
DVD release date: 22 February 2000.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 3 / additional content: 5 / overall: 5.

The 35mm print utilized for this disc’s video transfer is a bit contrasty, with precious little detail remaining in dark, shadowy areas of the picture, and is worn, scratched and speckled more so in some places than others. However, the transfer fares well against the 1998 David Shepard/Image edition already available on DVD. While both DVD editions appear to have utilized the same source material, the Image edition transfer was prepared in 1991 for laserdisc release. This edition from Elite benefits from a new transfer intended for DVD. Picture details are sharper and the transfer does a better job of holding highlight details. With the exception of the second reel, details in shadow areas are moderately well maintained. Framing on the Elite edition is tighter than the Image edition. The Elite edition has less picture information on the top and sides of its framing, and a fraction more on the bottom, than the Image edition. For the most part this is not a visual problem, except for the notable moment at 17:42 when, as he backs away from the Count, Harker’s head disappears above the upper frame of the picture. The revised 2001 Image edition produced by David Shepard, however, is a considerable improvement over both these editions.

The print utilized for the Elite transfer features intertitles that have substituted the ersatz character names given by Prana-Film with those from the Stoker novel, by which the characters are best known. Gone are Orlok and Hutter, Knock and Ellen, in favor of Dracula and Harker, Renfield and Nina. In addition, with the clarity of this new transfer and the high resolution of DVD, we can see that the calligraphic intertitles have been prepared on a sideways piece of bond typing paper with its watermark showing. One intertitle clearly shows a corrected cut-in section of the typing paper to replace a calligraphic error.

There does not appear to be any difference in the amount of actual footage between the two editions. The Elite edition has been tranferred at sound speed (24 frames per second) and therefore runs faster than the Image edition, which was transferred closer to the original camera-cranking speed of approximately 18-20 frames per second. There are differences in the number and length of intertitles, however. The Elite edition has fewer intertitles, which is the by-product of the circa-1970s rerelease print utilized for the transfer. The Image edition has a handful more of its new intertitles, but also has a tendency to run them longer as well. Overall, while the faster speed of the Elite transfer can be annoying to a purist, the action is not significantly sped up and remains quite watchable.

The DVD contains a sparse supplementary section composed of four Albin Grau production drawings and three film frames/stills.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2002 Diamond Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 63 minutes, not rated,
with The Phantom of the Opera (1929 rerelease version), black & white, 79 minutes, not rated.

Diamond Entertainment, 98604, UPC 0-11891-98604-5.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 4.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 256 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $19.99.
DVD release date: 30 July 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 5 / audio: 6 / additional content: 4 / overall: 5.

Other releases from Diamond Entertainment have utilized both 35mm and 16mm prints, and have ranged in quality from good to excellent. This edition of Nosferatu has been mastered from a very-good 35mm Blackhawk preservation print of reasonable quality. The usual flaws found in surviving prints of Nosferatu are present here — slightly contrasty picture, speckling, scratches, etc. The slightly-fast video transfer crops more of the right side of the frame than other editions prepared from the same material.

The film is accompanied by a cleanly-reproduced stereo pipe organ score, which has probably been cobbled together from preexisting recordings.

Our comments on this edition of The Phantom of the Opera can be found on our The Phantom of the Opera on DVD page.

It must be said that this edition is OK, but there are better out there to be had.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2003 A.D. Ventures International DVD edition

Movies’ First Monsters Back to Back (1910-1922), black & white and color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 97 minutes total, not rated,
including Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 84 minutes, not rated.

A.D. Ventures International, no catalog number, no UPC number.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 4 Mbps average video bit rate, 768 kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 5 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $24.50.
DVD release date: 2003.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 6 / additional content: 5 / overall: 5.

This windowboxed edition of Nosferatu has been mastered from what appears to be a 16mm reduction print, once again originating from the La Cinémathèque française materials. Of course the usual problems with 16mm prints are present, most notable is its contrastiness, as are the flaws in the source print from which the reduction print was prepared. While the video transfer is windowboxed, this only compensates somewhat for the overcropping that is common in 16mm prints. More of the original frame is to be seen in the Image edition noted above.

The film is accompanied by a custom music score performed on MIDI synthesizers, which is OK but a little amateurishly composed and performed. The score does little to evoke a horrorific mood in expected moments of the film. There are glitchy moments in the audio where the pitch changes, as if the recording were being sped-up and down.

This disc is of greater interest due to the inclusion of the first ever home-video edition of the Edison version of Frankenstein (1910), a film that was thought for many years to be lost forever. Mastered from the sole surviving 35mm print from film collector Alois Dettlaff, our review of this edition (including order information) of Frankenstein is available on our Frankenstein on home video page.
2001 Arrow Home Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white and color-toned black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Arrow Home Entertainment, ARRO219DVD, UPC 7-80273-07219-4, ISBN 1-58077-063-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $14.95.
DVD release date: 29 May 2001.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 6 / additional content: 3 / overall: 5.

This DVD edition, which was originally released on VHS in 1998, features a brief introduction by David Carradine and a music score performed by the gothic rock band Type O Negative. It has been mastered from a 16mm reduction print of good quality, with some contrasty shots and some which are grayed out. This means that this edition is no better or worse than many of the other budget editions.

The attraction of this edition for some will be the gothic-metal score, which not bad for what it is but we feel that silent film scores with lyrics are a bit distracting — the audience will either concentrate on the film and intertitles or on the music. The disc includes the Type O Negative music video “Black No. 1” from 1993. The 2001 edition was released in a 2003 reissue edition by Front Row Entertainment at a budget price of $5.98.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2003 Front Row Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white and color-toned black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Front Row Entertainment, 3570, UPC 7-80273-07219-2, ISBN 1-58077-063-0.
Full-frame 4:3 full-frame NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 9 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $5.98.
DVD release date: 2003.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 6 / additional content: 3 / overall: 5.

This DVD edition is a straight over rerelease of the 2001 Arrow Home Entertainment edition reviewed above, which features a brief introduction by David Carradine and a music score performed by the gothic rock band Type O Negative. The disc includes the Type O Negative music video “Black No. 1” from 1993. Some will want this disc to acquire the music rather than for the visual quality.

Not a horrid disc like other Front Row product — but they didn’t produce the original edition, did they?

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2002 Navarre Corporation DVD edition

Triple Feature Horror Classics, Volume 1 (1922-1927), black & white and color, 306 minutes total, not rated,
including Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Navarre Corporation, 1613, UPC 7-41027-16139-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 2.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 14 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.98.
DVD release date: 12 March 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 4 / additional content: 4 / overall: 4.

Navarre Corporation has released a line of budget triple feature DVDs whose collective content spans from the silent era to latter day camp classics. This collection contains three popular silent era horror and science fiction films that have been available for years in multiple DVD editions. The principal attraction of this collection will be the opportunity for casual silent-film collectors to acquire three well-known films for under ten dollars. Unfortunately, the films are not well represented here.

This out-of-print edition from Navarro is among the poorer of the Nosferatu releases available on DVD. The video transfer has been prepared from a poor to good quality 16mm reduction print. The presentation suffers from a too-contrasty print that is too-tightly cropped, and flickering exposure differences that are characteristic of substandard 16mm reduction prints. Some shots are so plugged up in the shadow areas of the picture that no shadow details remain. The presentation does, however, feature a good pipe organ score in passible mono sound. The DVD does have a video/audio glitch at 0:16, during the opening credits.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2001 Alpha Video DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 84 minutes, not rated.

Alpha Video, ALP 3151D, UPC 0-89218-31519-9.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 5 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $6.98.
DVD release date: 27 November 2001.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 4 / additional content: 0 / overall: 4.

This budget DVD edition has been prepared from a good 16mm reduction print, and features the orchestral and small combo music score of the source print. This is the same source material utilized for the Navarre edition above. The 16mm print is contrasty with highlights often blasted out and with plugged up shadows. The source material (pretty much the same for all preservation prints of the film) for the reduction print was itself worn and damaged.

This proper-speed video transfer is framed a little more open than others prepared from 16mm prints, allowing a little more picture information to be seen. Most of the intertitles should be readable on most television monitors. The transfer does a good job of holding what grayscale tones and image detail is present in the source print. The disc does have some video glitches toward the end of the film, where the lower half of the picture twitches.

For the money, this edition is an OK value, but we still recommend the higher-quality editions from Image and Kino over the cheapie discs.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2001 Studio K7/Music Video Distributors DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 63 minutes, not rated.

StudioK7/Music Video Distributors, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $19.95.
DVD release date: 11 September 2001.
Country of origin: USA
This edition from the Cleopatra Records label features a number of industrial music bands (including Rozz Williams of Christian Death, The Electric Hellfire Club, and others) providing the musical accompaniment to the film.

We do not know if the disc has been mastered from 35mm print materials, but this could be an OK edition if you’re into gothic music.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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This DVD is also available as an NTSC burn-to-disc download from EZTAKES.
2004 Music Video Distributors / Quantum Leap DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 63 minutes, BBFC Classification E.

Music Video Distributors/Quantum Leap, 0744324, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided?, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles?, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £13.99.
DVD release date: 6 December 2004.
Country of origin: England
An identical PAL edition to the NTSC edition noted above.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2001 Triton Multimedia DVD edition

German Silent Masterworks (1920-1924), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Nosferatu (1922), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Triton Multimedia, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.99.
DVD release date: 16 October 2001.
Country of origin: USA
We have not viewed this DVD, but its budget cost and three film content indicates that the disc has been prepared from modest-quality materials.

We have no indication as to the musical accompaniment on this disc.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2004 Delta Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles?, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $6.99.
DVD release date: 24 February 2004.
Country of origin: USA
This entry into the Nosferatu budget disc sweepstakes has likely been mastered from 16mm reduction print materials, and is not likely to be of better than good quality.

We’re willing to be surprised, but we’re also not holding our breath.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2003 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $5.98.
DVD release date: 4 March 2003.
Country of origin: USA
Aren’t they using their brains at Madacy? Since when is Nosferatu a ‘Hollywood Classic’? And considering the horrid quality of other Madacy silent era product, it goes against tradition when we hear that this disc is at least watchable.

The film is presented with a music score by Peter Schirmann.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
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2002 Catcom Home Video DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated,
with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), black & white, 51 minutes, not rated, The Mummy Strikes (1943), color, 8 minutes, not rated, For Their Sake (193?), black & white, 1 minute, not rated, Pencil Mania (1932), black & white, 7 minutes, not rated, and other short films.

Catcom Home Video, CAT0213-6, UPC 7-41914-02136-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 4.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 3 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 3 / audio: 4 / additional content: 3 / overall: 3.

This budget edition has been mastered from the same 16mm reduction print as several other editions, but the video transfer is full of digital artifacts, particularly around contrasting edges. The print is flat and has the same burnt-out highlights and closed-up shadows as other 16mm prints prepared from the same materials.

The film is accompanied by the same pipe organ and orchestral cobbled-together music score as other cheap editions noted above.

It may be watchable (barely), but why buy a cheapy when a little more money is better spent on a quality edition?
2002 Grapevine Video DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 84 minutes, not rated,
with The General Store (19??), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Grapevine Video, no catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.95.
DVD release date: September 2002.
Country of origin: USA
We have not viewed this DVD-R edition from public-domain home video retailer Grapevine Video. We suspect that the DVD-R has been mastered from a 16mm reduction print, but we do not know that for certain.

We recommend that you consider the editions from Image or Kino instead.

 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD-R disc is available directly from GRAPEVINE VIDEO.
2008 St. Clair Vision DVD edition

Silent Classics (1920-1927), black & white, 294 minutes total, not rated,
including Nosferatu (1922), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

St. Clair Vision, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 15 April 2008.
Country of origin: USA
This edition of Nosferatu has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
200? unknown home video DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, ? minutes, Classification unknown.

Unknown home video company, unknown catalogue number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 200?.
Country of origin: England?
This unknown budget PAL edition has likely been mastered from substandard reduction print materials.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

2004 PC Treasures DVD edition

Nosferatu (1922), black & white, 90 minutes, not rated,
with The Phantom of the Opera (1925), black & white, 106 minutes, not rated, and The Story of Little Red Riding Hood (1949), color, 9 minutes, not rated.

PC Treasures, 10004, UPC 6-71196-10004-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, no chapter stops, disc envelope in a cardboard box, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 2004.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 3 / audio: 0 / additional content: 3 / overall: 3.

This ultra cheap edition has been mastered from the same old 16mm reduction print as most of the other cheap editions noted above, with similar quality results. The natural-speed full-frame transfer has a high number of digital glitches, and has about 7 percent of the frame masked off the left side of the picture.

The film is presented without any type of musical accompaniment.

The disc also presents an early Ray Harryhausen short. Even if you are a cheapskate, you can do better than this one for only a few dollars more.
Other F.W. MURNAU films available on home video.

Other GERMAN FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other HORROR FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
F.W. Murnau filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
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