On Sunday, October 14 at 8:00p.m., East Lynne Theater Company and The Cape May Film Society are proud to present the 1922 silent film cult classic, "Nosferatu," at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, where ELTC is in residence.
Hutter, a real estate agent from Bremen, Germany visits Count Orlok at his remote castle in the Carphathian Mountains because the count wishes to buy a house in town - "a deserted one." On his way to the castle, Hutter visits an inn, where all of the customers fall silent when he mentions Orlok's name. Outside, horses bolt and run, and a hyena snarls before slinking away. He laughs off all the signs of gloom and doom, until, while dining with the count, he cuts himself with a bread knife and the count comments, "Blood - your beautiful blood!'
The full title of the film, "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror," lives up to its name. Max Schreck, who portrays the count, behaves more like an animal than a human being, with ears like bats, claw-like nails, and fangs that are in the middle of his mouth like a rodent's. Special effects add to the uneasy atmosphere: the disappearance of a coach, the count materializing out of thin air, and photographic negatives used to give the appearance of white trees against a black sky.
In spite of the film's director, F. W. Murnau, changing the characters' names, it is obvious that he's telling the tale of "Dracula" created by Bram Stoker. Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain, that the film be destroyed. Ironically, Murnau might have been the making of Stoker because "Nosferatu' inspired dozens of other "Dracula" films, none of them, according to many critics, quite as artistic or unforgettable, with the possible exception of Werner Herzog's 1979 version with Klaus Kinski.
Wayne Zimmerman, who played the organ accompaniment for ELTC and the Society's 2011 Halloween offering, "Phantom of the Opera," was so well received, that these two Cape May not-for-profit organizations started a Silent Film Festival. "Nosferatu" is the third and final film for this year's offerings, and Wayne is once more providing the music. He plays concerts and for silent films throughout the country, creating his own scores for every feature. Never taking a break during the film, he plays his scores from memory. It is rare nowadays that film lovers have the opportunity to see silent films as they were meant to be shown, with live music.
Tickets for "Nosferatu" are $15 and reservations may be made by calling ELTC at 609-884-5898 or by visiting their website, www.eastlynnetheater.org.