F. W. Murnau

Friedrich Wilhelm "F. W." Murnau (born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe, December 28, 1888 – March 11, 1931) was one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era, and a prominent figure in the expressionist movement in German cinema during the 1920s. Although some of Murnau's films have been lost, most still survive. He was born in Bielefeld, Province of Westphalia. He attended the University of Heidelberg and studied art history. He took the name "Murnau" from the town in Germany named Murnau am Staffelsee. Openly gay, the 6'11 (210 cm) director was said to have an icy, imperious disposition and an obsession with film. He was a combat pilot during World War I and directed his first film Der Knabe in Blau ('The Boy in Blue') in 1919. Murnau's most famous film is Nosferatu, a 1922 adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula for which Stoker's widow sued for copyright infringement. Murnau lost the lawsuit and all prints of the film were ordered to be destroyed, but bootleg prints survived. The vampire, played by German stage actor Max Schreck, resembled a rat which was known to carry the plague.


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