A thoughtful analysis of one of the creepiest movies ever made. Written in accessible language, painstakingly researched, and full of useful insights, this monograph accomplishes what the BFI film series set out to do: allow a greater appreciation of classic films in an academic but not stuffy series of short books.
The author adequately sketches in the background to the film, the influences of Weimar culture, the fashion for belief in the occult in a society devastated by World War I, and provides a short biography of Murnau. Then after 2 chapters giving a close reading of the film, he explores its reception and then its influence (its "afterlives").
Altogether a very satisfying reading experience, supplemented by appropriate stills from the film in full tinted color. Only a handful of flaws in the editing detract from the writing (for example, a phrase about director Edgar Ulmer on page 17 is repeated verbatim on page 33). But these are quibbles. Overall, this is an excellent piece of film criticism (that encourages one to purchase the newly released Blu-Ray of the film for repeated viewings).
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: British Film Institute; 2013 edition (25 October 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1844576507
- ISBN-13: 978-1844576500
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1 x 18.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)