The War Against the First Dracula Film

Bram Stoker was not the first author to write about vampires, but his 1897 novel Dracula was the most widely-read up to that point, and established the concept of a vampire in the minds of his readers. It was the only novel Stoker wrote that was bringing in any money at the time of his death in 1912. Stoker's widow, Florence Balcombe Stoker, was not fond of Dracula, but she was fiercely protective of her husband's legacy, and the profit it produced.

German expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau made a movie based on the novel, titled Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors, in 1922. The names of the characters were changed, but it was obviously the same story, which the producers admitted was "freely adapted" from the novel. But they did not ask the permission of Stoker's estate. When Florence Stoker heard of the movie, she went after the movie and its distributors with a vengeance, leading to a years-long court case. Thanks to a German version of "Hollywood accounting," there was no money to pay Stoker, so she set about destroying Nosferatu.

As the greatest example of this phenomenon in film history, the copyright owner of what is essentially valuable intellectual property demanded every last print of an unauthorized adaptation be burned at the stake. Florence never saw Nosferatu; she had no interest in ever seeing Nosferatu. She only knew Nosferatu violated her rights and should be eradicated from the face of the Earth.

This scheme not only destroyed Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors and came close to wiping it from history, but it also led to our popular image of Dracula that hardly resembled Stoker's character at all. Read what happened and the 100-year legacy of the cinematic Dracula at Den of Geek. -via Digg ā€‹

#vampire #Dracula #Nosferatu #BramStoker #FlorenceStoker #horror

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