Murnau's most famous film is Nosferatu, an adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula that caused Stoker's estate to sue for copyright infringement. Murnau lost the lawsuit and all prints of the film were ordered destroyed, but bootleg prints were stored and preserved over time, so that Nosferatu is widely available in the present era. The film inspired Werner Herzog to remake the film in 1979.
Murnau emigrated to Hollywood in 1926, where he joined the Fox Studio and made the 1920s-era fable Sunrise - a movie often cited by film scholars as one of the greatest films of all time. It was a success and it received several Oscars at the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1927 (though the movie Wings won Best Picture). However, Murnau's next two pictures, Four Devils and City Girl, were modified to adapt to the new era of sound film (Four Devils has been completely lost), and they were not well received as a result. Their poor reception disillusioned Murnau, and he quit Fox to journey for a while in the South Pacific.
Murnau's travels abroad resulted in the film Tabu, which was censored in America because it showed images of bare-breasted native Polynesian women. Tabu would be Murnau's last film, as he died in an automobile accident in 1931.
F.W. Murnau Facts
|Birth Name||Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe|
|Birthday||December 28, 1888|
|Date of death||March 11, 1931 (age 42)|
|Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror, F. W. Murnau|
|The Last Laugh|
|Sunrise Blu-ray + DVD|