Sound vs. Silence
Essay submitted by Anonymous
In making a silent film, a director must rely on sight-and a certain amount of text-to
kind of resources as a director of film that is not silent. In the case of Nosferatu, this
that every character does not extract a certain emotion from the audience. It is simply
to say that a great number of characters in Nosferatu use only image to achieve their
street, an adverse reaction would be somewhat illfounded. Outside of his clothes,
appearance of a character. Another example, in Dracula, the first character that is
given any kind of development whatsoever is Renfield, and throughout the movie,
Renfield is transformed first to a blood sucking savage, and then slowly returned to a
already the blood sucking savage, cooped up in the loony bin, eating bugs when the
movie starts, and the extent of his role seems to be nothing more than to provide more
insight into the nature of Dracula.
Perhaps the most interesting contrast between the two movies is that although they
Nosferatu, John Harker is the one who travels to Transylvania. It is not explicitly clear
in Dracula who the owner of the property that Dracula purchases is; however, in
Nosferatu, it is clear that John Harker is the owner, and his trip to Transylvainia is for
the purpose of selling the property to Dracula. Furthermore, in Nosferatu, the discovery
of the true nature of Dracula, and the one thing that will bring about his demise is made
with the ease of finding a book brought back from Transylvainia by John Harker.
character with very little, if any impact in Nosferatu) makes a number of discoveries
the professor reveals his findings, as well as what is necessary to bring down Dracula
directors interpretation of Bram Stoker’s novel; however, it is quite possible that a
number of them were a result of the fact that the director of Nosferatu was forced to
converted to a text caption.
In addition to character development, and story line, there is also another difference
between Nosferatu and Dracula that is the result of one film being in the silent medium.
However, in Nosferatu, the director was forced to rely on the background music, or the
physical orientations of the characters. In a sense, this would lead to more work for
the director of Nosferatu. For example, in Dracula, there are many occasions where the
camera turns away from a certain character to focus on an action somewhere else, and
then a scream is heard from that character that was just recently in focus. With this,
two things are achieved; first, implying that he works in shadow, mysteriously hidden
from all except his victim reinforces the eerie image that Dracula has come to hold
throughout the ages, and second, the role of the character that screamed is pushed
forth without even having him or her in the picture. The director of Nosferatu, on the
other hand, is forced to use the camera to its fullest extent to create the same effect.
For example, when Dracula takes Lucy as a victim, the director uses the shadow of
Dracula poised over Lucy, growing ever larger, and revealing an ever more frightening
shape. In addition, the shadow is portrayed on Lucy, who now shows the face of
someone appearing to have seen death itself.
In contrasting Nosferatu and Dracula, someone need do no more than observe the films
from the director’s point of view. This achieved, it would be plain to see that all of the
differences, outside of interpretation of the novel and things attributed to individual
style, can be accredited to the fact that one director was forced to work without
sound, and one was not.