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German Cinema And Murnau Essay

906 words - 4 pages

German Cinema and Murnau Murnau made his first appearance as a movie director with The Blue Boy, a film after Oscar Wilde's story about a Gainsborough-painting. The expressionist film Nosferatu was his artistic breakthrough in Germany, while The Last Laugh attracted the attention of Hollywood producers like William Fox. Faust was one of Murnau's last films, shot in Germany. He eventually went to America together with his screen writer Carl Mayer and directed Sunrise, another big success. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888-1931), better known as F. W. Murnau, is still considered to be one the most talented and influential directors of cinema at his time. He is often bracketed with ...view middle of the document...

While these actions seem drastic and unnecessary, it was an effective way to convey the internal pain these characters were experiencing while struggling against the things that oppressed them. Murnau is often credited as being one of the fathers of mise-en-scene, the art of moving and blocking action within the frame to tell the story. He could create an entire story in one scene without the use of editing. The film best depicting this technique was The Last Laugh. But many films before The Last Laugh involved some camera movement, and some sophisticated equipment already existed to insure that movement could be made smoothly. The significance of The Last Laugh rests in the role that camera movement takes in telling the story. The camera in this film rides down elevators, waltzes across vast floors and courtyards, and staggers after too much to drink. His filmography is lined with ageless masterpieces. While Nosferatu was not the very first "Dracula" or vampire film made, it is the most memorable and still the most celebrated. Nosferatu was released in 1922. The use of high contrast and super harsh lighting created the dark tone of the film. The deliberately "fake" sets forced the viewer to pay attention to the character. Nosferatu is the story of Dracula, of a vampire moving from his secluded castle to real estate he has purchased in the city of Bremen, where he will find a constant source of victims. Although the vampire is a creature of the night, Murnau has made his film in daylight. Nosferatu is a film about simultaneity, about characters in...

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