David Kalat wrote:OK, obviously F.W. Murnau is the director of this acclaimed work. Murnau is himself a once-in-a-generation talent who worked in an institutional environment where the director had a substantially higher degree of authority and creative latitude than anywhere else. As a result, it’s an easy trap to fall into to think of Murnau’s films as wholly auterist creations, in which he and he alone was responsible for all the creative decisions.
But thinking about Nosferatu in these terms does a disservice to the film and leads us down some false trails—one of which is missing the contribution of Albin Grau.
Grau’s credit on Nosferatu is for “costumes and sets,” and he is often referred to as the designer. But as we shall see, that’s a gross misrepresentation.
I don't particularly relish the thought of finding myself in the position of disagreeing with the commentator/writer I trumpet almost above all others, but I think that David is pretty seriously off the mark here. Every presentation of this film on the occasion of it's past restoration--where the original score was recovered and presented with the film--came with a Transit-produced feature focusing entirely on the person of Albin Grau, specifically because his contribution is every bit as profound as writer and director in terms of conceiving and constructing this film. Grau was credited as the core figure of the film, who conceived it, designed it, and hired everybody who pretty much extrapolated his very specific inner vision of the film, right down to his extremely
unusual conception of what a vampire should look like. It's noted that it was his production company and his title, and that the occultist bent was his own-- he is the axle around which the entire wheel of Nosferatu
turned. They even discuss his next, post-Prana title, Warning Shadows/Schatten
, which carried forward his very unique cinematic sensibility (and thus helps illustrate for viewers and historians the Short Lived Cinema of Albin Grau via the consistency between the two titles), and with him into this film went key cast and crew of Nosferatu
: Gustav von Wangenheim (Hutter), Alexander Granach (Knock), cameraman Fritz Wagner. . . .