BWW Review: NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF HORROR, Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is notorious for bringing back to the screen beloved films and setting them to a live score often played by renowned orchestras, creating a magical vibe to surround classics as well as blockbusters. In occasion of this year's Festival of Film, they've dusted off a chef d'oeuvre of monstrous proportions: Nosferatu.
Based on Bram Stoker's gothic horror novel Dracula and shot in 1921 by German Expressionist director F. W. Murnau, when it graced theatres in 1922 the author's heirs sued the production and all copies were ordered to be destroyed. Luckily for all cinephiles, that didn't happen and the film grew to become one of the staples of the silent era. The restored version offered in this instance comes from a tinted nitrate with additional titles inserted and accompanied by an original score by Dmytro Morykit.
With only a piano being played in the relatively small Elgar Room, the Royal Albert Hall dials back time and takes their audience to the 1920s with only the rolling sound of the projector missing from the circumstances, and with the difference that Morykit plays all the music from memory instead of improvising it. Composed for other projects and then added to the masterpiece of cinema according to feeling and intention, the pieces build tension and crown suspense well heightening the tone of the story.
The downside of having pre-existing themes is that some of them fail to cover the entirety of the scenes, which results in drastically pulling out the crowd away from the pretence and illusion of the picture. In spite of this aspect of the collection presented by the pianist, the event was overspilling with charm and flavour. The piano succeeded in being a discreet but powerful presence, even inundated with crimson light in its corner.
It was a wonderful chance for those who were already familiar with the film to rewatch one of the best restorations in existence, and for those who were less so, to be introduced to a jewel of the seventh art as a pre-Halloween treat.