F.W. Murnau, Director of the Nosferatu


This episode of stuff you missed in history class is brought to you by Adt Adt offers you all of the latest innovation in Smart Home Security combined with twenty four seven monitoring in for the most trusted name in home security with Adt you get a team of professionals designing installing a secure smart home just for you and you can get your safety on love of putting on productions continued unabated and his brothers who wanted to encourage his creativity despite their father thinking that that was a waste of time actually built Murnau this new name was in the hopes of his father not discovering what he was doing but they'll homeless tall about six foot four and very easy to recognize hello and welcome to the podcast I'm Holly Fry and I'm Tracy Wilson a little theatre for him to put on his shows complete with lighting and moving scenery who was a voracious reader was at the top of his class in school be handled so once again this show is brought to you by ADT welcome to stuff you missed in history class a production of iheartradio's how stuff works his brother Robert later described him who went by his middle name of Ville him by saying quote from the very beginning my brother overflowed with imagination so there's a lot that happened afterwards he was truly an innovator in cinema and a visual storyteller whose work is even today hotly debated for its merits Peter Apparently one of his sisters his mother was his father's second wife and one of his older sisters was initially like directing all of them to do the and their family was well off their father heinrich plume had inherited a profitable textile business which he sold for pretty tidy sum all coming out really in the back half of October hopefully that will be enough to tide people over I know it's hard to wait this extra two weeks I now all his father wanted him to go on to become a professor and to that end he attended university in Berlin where you started working as an actor under the name of I'm and then bought a sprawling state the families children would put on plays and the garden and that's where bill home really fell in love with the idea of of his efforts whether you know it or not Murnau was born Friedrich Wilhelm poop in Bielefeld Germany on December twenty eighth eighteen eighty nine and sunk all of his money into what turned out to be a bad investment they weren't destitute at that point but they did have significant downgrade in their lifestyle but villains as soon a family friends spotted him in a performance and mentioned it to his parents Heinrich then cut his son off financially but Murnau's grandfather his mother's side started sending him a monthly allowance so he could stay in Berlin he was still going to school he hadn't shirked to that part of this responsibility Alz but its influence is felt in so many films that you see today where the filmmakers were influenced by Murnau So you are still getting the benefits as someone who celebrates Halloween virtually every day of the year I understand the topic that we're covering today is something I've wanted to talk about for a really long time see above re Halloween every day but Murnau's life is so much more than that one film and that's actually happened fairly early in his film career he's plays but he pretty quickly was like no I wanna make this stuff But their idyllic privileged childhood was abruptly interrupted when Heinrich PUPA sold the family property he also apparently was living a rather lavish life which had caused some problems when his father was called with these like huge debts that that he had amassed kind of kind of clumping all at the end whereas in previous years it's kind of been like every other one throughout the month right just because of scheduling needs it's ended up that are October stuff the production of a play called the miracle which was written by Carl von Miller he had been exploring directing and he realized that he preferred that to acting it was a well known figure on the German theater scene and he was impressed by Ville Hill when he saw him perform in a play that was put on by the university he was so impressed in fact that he with him a place in his theater school with full scholarship if Murnau agreed to attend for a full six years in nineteen eleven Murnau Assistant Reinhardt and school in Heidelberg and there he studied Literature Art History and philosophy and it was also there in nineteen o eight that he connected with Max Reinhardt. austrian-born Reinhard in this move to directing was motivated by a certain practicality he knew there being as tall as he was would be a hindrance to being cast in leading roles guard and then he was promoted and then became a company commander and eventually transferred to the Air Force and while flying with German Air Force he crashed eight times but he putting only the finest furnishings and art his little apartment but yeah he he thought he could just work is an actor on the side while he also to school but after Berlin Ville home went on but his height really made no difference to working as a director yeah he was so distinctive looking that he was like no one is going to want to cast me from one show to another uh-huh Tober I know it's kind of like the militia of October at this point yes so for anybody who's worried that we haven't had a ton of Halloween content it's just hi and that is F W Murnau I make no secret that I love for ought to you as well as a lot of his other work of Nosrat you has a very special place in my heart because I will just look like the same dude no matter what I do World War One though did put a damper on art former now for a little while who served in the German military he was I called up as a foot to work on a film script and produce theater with his fellow internees according to fellow officer Major Gung shrum every evening Murnau would recite a poem away every time without any serious injuries and after his last crash landing in Switzerland he was arrested and interned at undermined where he used his time as a prisoner of war thing his closest friend really seemed to catalyze desire to connect more deeply to his siblings and his family which he did in his early thirties after the war ended really deeply the loss of Hans was perhaps so difficult because he had been one of the few people that Murnau was actually close to even pronounce family was often kept it I'm called the pianist of death to the officers and according to the same account he also carried a stick with him which was made out of propeller which was full of bullet holes eighteen he founded his own film company with friends from his time at the RHEINHARDT school under his company Burnout Vite Vin gesellschaft he made the transition into was linked particularly during the time that he had changed his name in worked on his secret acting career there is a story about one of his brother's going to the same places him but it didn't go back to the theater and steady shifted his interest to film he edited a few short films for the German Embassy. These basically propaganda in one thousand nine hundred ninety acting long-form film he did this when he directed the boy in blue that was inspired by the seventeen seventy painting the blue boy by Thomas Gainsborough a copy he was so influential that a lot of men he served with also started carrying similar sticks is sort of a strange wartime bashing trend that burnell had created the painting appears in the film but the face in the original was replaced with the face of the main character in nineteen twenty history overlaps with the telling his friends and other people in the family like oh I can't I'm not allowed to look at at villa like I can't I can't acknowledge that related to him but CBS podcasts. Subject Bela Lugosi Murnau directed Lugosi in an adaptation of the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story that was originally published in eighteen eighty six Murnau's did while Murnau made it through the war seemingly unscathed his best friend Hans our inbound Diga was killed at the front and that was a loss that Murnau greed version which was titled janus-faced was a critical success although like a lot of his work modern audiences have no access to it as it has been lost almost half of his film from one of our sponsors let me tell you about Pete who loved talking and always wanted to play in the NHL Pete played since he was three I just saved a bunch so it all worked out there have been so many blames the during the war he met Serbian man who claimed that his father had died without receiving the holy sacraments and then wandered their village in vampire form dramatic throwing of things across the room but I'll forgive you you're missing out though I know I know there's so much media to consume Pete realized he just wasn't that good so he threw his gates in the trash but then he heard how Geico proud partner of NHL good save money on car insurance so he switched and begged his mom to let him stay on the ice by some nights he even slept in his hockey skates Pete practiced and practiced until one day when he was forty seven count or lack is tall and thin with large pointy ears heavy eyebrows and long pointy front teeth and he's one of cinema's oldest and most iconic old but was an issue at that time Murnau's production company was unable to secure the rights to it but they went ahead with the production anyway changing a number of the element but I immediately can call what count or lack looks like the mind like and how he moves like all of that I WANNA my villains and serves as sort of a shorthand for a vampire now and coming up we'll talk about some of the rumors around the making of Toronto but first we're GONNA pause for words uh-huh that's because the story is a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula and it was made without the rights to that story something that is a non issue now it so the inspiration for nosferatu according to Grou- it was all based on this story that he had heard while it during the war and he claims that knows virata was the Serbian horror fans especially it was then that he directed the cult classic Nas for me to even if you don't know the film odds are that you have seen images rumors and stories surrounding the making of the film Nosferatu since it was released in part due to some of the promotional materials that were released ahead of the movie to drum up interest massive gala opening at the Berlin zoo there is literally nothing left for the widow stoker to be awarded still German court did rule in her favor and were lost over the years Murnau's work in one thousand nine hundred eighty two is what has truly endured though and that's what's given the director his longevity as a person of interest among and as with a lot of Murnau's work there are multiple different versions of the film and over the years film fans and historians have worked very hard in some cases referring to the musician and then grouse Serbian friend told him that after the body of his father was exhumed steak was driven through its heart and that the vampire died so this theoretically was as the first vampire film it's drawn a lot of interest in the century sense that it was made but it was almost lost just like several of Murnau's other film they are named something like magical school student and you know it's really Harry Potter right a recent one that I saw was mid week the magazine Byun Infield put out an issue just before the film came out in nineteen twenty two that featured a story told by production designer Albin Grau in which Groucho it count Orlov who's the vampire at the center of the plot is just an unmistakable figure this is what I'm going to confess to holly that I've never seen this film all the way through Arou- who was an occultist and also one of the people who initiated this project claimed to seem documents detailing the summation of the body which showed no signs of decline issued a verdict that all copies of the film had to be destroyed of course not to thwart the law but thankfully in my opinion that did not happen prints of the film made doc angry girl and it's supposed to be Wednesday at which to me was very funny by the time that the case that it's a little bit different but there's enough there that it's pretty clearly if you had read Dracula you'd be like this sure looks like a lot like Dracula sorta like when you go to buy Halloween costume rich in a manner that suggests that the director was just a driven autour who only cared about capturing what he saw as his vision without being concerned about anything emotional fall mirrors the fall in his status as a staff member in the hotel. There's almost no dialogue in the last laugh this there's no audible dialog at all and Florence balcon stoker who was Bram Stoker's widow sued over it yeah they change names of characters and the location and it's at his funeral that will kind of very clearly point out how how differently he really really was portrayed in that film from what he was like in real life rumor that Shrek actually did practice vampirism during the filming of Nas for outside but to be clear that it's fiction Murnau is portrayed by John Malcolm we to London where Florence Malcolm Stoker was able to block its screening in nineteen twenty five and then to New York where it was viewed by audiences in nineteen twenty nine anybody else that is totally opposite of just about every account of Murnau as a director yeah we're GonNa read something later that was was said Thir role of bathroom attendant this transition is significant and difficult for the main character because his identity is totally tied up in his work as a doorman and the runs seventy seven minutes the entire story is told through pantomime and the use of shadow light and other artists creative skill the last word for vampire although the true etymology of that word is a lot hazier than that there's no exact known origin point NAS continues to have its own mythos original shooting script to untangle which of those versions is actually closest to Murnau's original as an aside the film shadow of the vampire which unlike and while no Soroti was probably the film he's most famous for today at least in sort of general audience circles I think if you get into sinophile circles others come up pretty quick demands because Brunell really felt like the film needed to be more dynamic a freund did everything from attaching cameras to bicycles to strapping for the audience and for the film's opening shot he was on a bicycle as it travelled on an improvised elevator going down and then essentially he peddled out into a hotel due to his waist and for one scene he wore the camera on his waist and he crossed the set wearing a pair of roller skates with the camera rolling to create the illusion of drunkenness Gli but Murnau went on as we said at the beginning to direct plenty of other films and it was really those films that put him on the map as director of note with his contemporaries in Germany was in still in the silent film era so the jazz singer would not debut for another three years but there is also only a single title card in all of Murnau's nineteen twenty four film came in one thousand nine hundred twenty four let's demand was released and it was a breakthrough moment in narrative cinema while the title translates directly to the last man. Go whether you're in the car if you're at work if the kids are at school if you're doing grocery shopping if you just check out the adt go APP which has a handy SOS button you have your security as an rigs that are specifically made to make the cameras agile but freund had to really improvise to find ways to get his shots and some meat Murnau's Dan in its English language release it was titled The Last Laugh it tells the story of the Doorman at a fancy hotel who as he ages forced into the less be set so it drew the audience into the motion and the tone in the world of the character in the film instantly think living in the era of gopro footage it's easy to forget that laugh gained Murnau a lot of attention in part because of the work of cinematographer Karl Freund in Service Timber Now's vision unlike most of the films of the like people had to work out how to make cameras move this way there's a really great story that one of his colleagues tells about how when Murnau is I the main characters point of view captured and shared with the audience and that's something that movie goers of the nineteen twenties weren't really accustomed to today there are Dali taking it off the tripod but the next part was just like the logistics of the next thing we're so big that they didn't even think about like just having to hold the like we need to follow this smoke up this this set and they're like okay wait we gotta walk up the stairs and how he really I'm that were shot on sound stages from an audience perspective almost like you were viewing play the last man traveled through the set to mimic walking the streets of the city camera after the last laugh Murnau was known as the great impressionist in German film circles he took that reputation and used it to turn out a very Lawrence Malcolm Stoker brought went to court the Phil Company was already bankrupt so much money had been spent on publicity for knows for ought to an on stage allies later that they had already assumed that they could figure out how to carry the camera they were just like but how will we get up the stairs like they had no problem getting over that plus for us I have seen stars Willem dafoe as actor Max Schreck who brought count or lack to life it's a really fun movie and it plays on the long run another literary adaptation that was Faust which debuted in nineteen twenty six throughout the mid nineteen twenty s Murnau had become quite a big name in German cinema I'm sure with an extravagant film next that was an adaptation of Moliere's Tartuffe which debuted in nineteen twenty five his next film was the influence on Apple podcasts or the iheartradio APP or wherever you get your podcast audience's interest in talkies if you see today you're probably going to see an all silent version because most Most versions we would see today are re edited regain his artistic freedom he formed a partnership with Robert Flaherty the two combined their efforts to start their own production company but this was kind of an odd pairing Moore Gainer also won best actress that year she was nominated in three different roles including her work on Sunrise Seventh Heaven and street Angel Sunrise Our daily bread premiered in nineteen twenty nine this film also came out under a different title which was city girl and Murnau still being pretty highly supervised by the studio coming into a city setting that's considered super important The wife in this movie was played by Janet Gainer Sunrise was and still is a critical success not have complete control over this project and additional scenes were added at the last minute by the studio so that there could be some audio dialogue in the film to take advantage of the one for cinematography and was also nominated for art direction and that all sounds like sunrise was a big big hit but not so much with audiences critics dates one of Murnau's requests that he be allowed to take his crew with him and that was something that Fox agreed to Murnau's first project under his contract was as much the same sometimes bitter sometimes sweet the film which is considered a masterpiece by a lot of people tells the story of a married man who has an affair now was known for his fictional work and that was where his heart really was as a filmmaker but flaherty on the other hand was a documentarian so working on films together put them at odds nineteen twenty-seven picture called sunrise a song of two humans it opens with title cards that read quote this song of the man and his wife is of no place sittard like the first of their kind there's one where the two of them are on a trolley car kind of passing from a more rural suburban and every place you might hear it anywhere at any time for whatever the sun rises and sets in the city's turmoil under the open sky on the farm life sort of holy grail film like they everybody hopes that one day we will find this hill because it does when you read treatment of it in script pieces sound very very interesting back to what people believe was was Murnau's initial vision naturally that kind of tampering with his work was not something that Murnau is happy about at all an effort yes it went on to win an award at the First Academy Awards that was held in one thousand nine hundred ninety nine and it was in the now defunct category of unique and artistic picture Jan the Great Astronomer and author Carl Sagan once said if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the is played by George O'Brien and he's unable to follow through on this plan and instead he reconciles with his wife There are a lot of shots in this film that are key I love it but sunrise just did not draw viewers and the ticket sales on it we're really disappointing despite all of the accolades that the film garnered Fox decided that Myrna Circus Act this is one of Burnell spells which has not survived yeah that's sometimes when you talk to people it's definitely mentioned her and his lover suggests that he killed his wife so that he can leave behind his old life and start a new life in the city with her and the man that is all he is named as how was going to have less freedom on future projects for devils came out in nineteen twenty eight it told the story of four orphans were raised by a clown and became a high wire and we're going to talk about the project that Murnau flaherty took on as their first collaboration in just a moment but first we're going to hear from one of the sponsors that keeps stuff you missed in history class going I my name is Michael Schulman and I'm the host of a new podcast called from scratch on iheartradio this isn't another podcast Kinda sensory memory of another place sensory memory of my personal listen to from scratch on the iheartradio APP and Apple podcasts or wherever you get my twenty year careers writer have written books which aim to translate the chefs craft for the home cook. Now I'm continuing that tradition here every episode from scratch we'll explore a cooking with one chef so right now all I'm doing is taking a piece of fish and one expert who isn't a chef what I was missing wise food from scratch is a podcast about cooking that was my very first time meeting with the Bacon. JC The collaboration aspect of this film quickly ended flaherty left the project pretty early on although his name does appear in the credits as CO director how much either of them only project together was a film called. Taboo spelled T. A. B. U. IT was shot on location in the South Pacific primarily on Barbara and Tahiti but whereas flared he thought that they were making a documentary about Polynesian Culture Murnau saw the documentary aspects of the production backdrop for a fictional story that he wanted to tell lead roles of lovers whose desire to be together is at odds with their cultural rules Murnau fell so in love with Tahiti that he built himself a home there has mother later wrote that he had always been fascinated with the south seas and that going there to make tabby was the culmination of a lifelong dream he plans to make more movies there whereafter Tabby was released in the time that was leading up to the release of Tabu Murnau who had traveled back to California had planned to visit his mother and the home of his friend actress and screenwriter selker. Tell to pick up some sandwiches for the car right up to Carmel del Monte where meeting was going to take place Murnau influence this film is another thing that people sometimes like to debate Murnau continued as he desired crafting a love story set in the tropics he cast local islanders in the or he left for Germany he planned to have creative meeting with author William Morris about potential projects together on the morning of March Eleventh Nineteen thirty one Murnau stopped unsettling coincidence Murnau Ted told friends that he had consulted a fortune teller before starting his journey this fortune teller told him that he would die in a car fiction yeah he thought booking this longer cruise was his way around with Fortune Teller told him so it was One of those sort of creepy coincidences is that the fact that he died on the much shortened drive portion of his trip just adds to the Mystique of the whole thing but this is also an Stevenson who the director had hired to be his valet and driver in Germany there are different accounts of what happens next but a little less than twenty miles outside of Santa on this trip he had thought about taking a ship from California all the way to Europe instead of driving to New York to cross the Atlantic and he thought that would thwart that was riding in a hired car which he planned to take with him by ship to Germany and he was traveling with a chauffeur for the California dr named John Free Lind as well as a much younger man Garcia cast Murnau first and Barbara the car Murnau and the other two men were travelling in skidded off the road and down an embankment according to the new story that ran in the New York Times the car friend Salka viertel one by a man who was in a car behind him there is also testimony given by Freeman Freeman and Garcia both survived said Freeman gave an account during the investigation Garcia I didn't see anything that that listed a clear account from him old twice on its thirty foot drop and then landed on its roof Murnau fractured his skull in the accident and died the next day and the in a bit of an because Murnau's mother trade sue the company that he had rented the car from in one account Murnau himself was driving in others it was Murnau's Valet Garcia Steven Jason who was underage he was a teenager who is at the wheel stories began to circulate in Hollywood that Murnau and Stevenson had been engaged in a sexual act in the front seat the enthusiasm he seemed like some great aristocrat interesting himself in the cinema partly out

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