The impact of Richard Wagner on Werner Herzog's film Nosferatu
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The film Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht [Nosferatu, Phantom of the Night] (1979), known in English-speaking countries as Nosferatu the Vampyre, a retelling of the Dracula legend, demonstrates the artistic affinities of director Werner Herzog (born 1942) with the nineteenth-century music titan Richard Wagner (1813-1883). In order to prove these affinities, I consider their artistic similarities as well as their mutual attitudes toward German culture and the greatness of the German past in the context of the New German Cinema. In my exploration of the film score I describe and explain Herzog's music selections as well as to contextualize them in terms of the plot and corresponding images. With this foundation I will then analyze the director's creation of a German Romantic ambience in Nosferatu and finally summarize Wagner's undeniable connection with Hitler and Nazism in the process of revealing why Herzog employed Der Ring des Nibelungen in his effort to restore Germany's cultural , political, and economic identity Herzog adapts Wagner. The filmmaker's encounter with Wagner in Nosferatu, nonetheless, is not restricted to borrowing the composer's musical ideas or his music. For Herzog, Wagner himself becomes a historical and cultural icon that can provide hidden messages in the retelling of the Dracula legend. My historically and musically informed exercise in film criticism provides an interpretation of Herzog's intentions and a rationale for his methods in his highly regarded film.
Access is limited to the University of Missouri - Columbia.