Friedrich William Murnau

undated haven guessing admission of F. W. Murnau

Friedrich William Murnau (* 28. December 1888 in Bielefeld/east Westphalia; † 11. March 1931 in Santa Barbara, California; actually Friedrich William awkward one) was a German film director.

Table of contents

lives and work

Friedrich William awkward one grows up in a wealthy citizen family; the father is a cloth manufacturer, the nut/mother was a teacher. After the attendance of the High Schoolin Kassel, where the family moved, it begins a study of the philology and history of art in Berlin and Heidelberg. There the famous director becomes max of Reinhardt on it attentively during a student performance. Reinhardt makes the attendance that for it possibleMax Reinhardt Schauspielschule and employs it as actor and a Regieassistent. Awkward one accepts the artist name Friedrich William Murnau (after the place Murnau at the relay lake). This was, apart from the artistic aspect, also a clear indication of the break with its parents, thoseits Homosexualität exactly the same as its play and direction ambitions not to accept wanted. To his artist friends among other things the authoress Else Lasker pupil and the expressionistischen painters of the group the blue rider belong.

At the 1. It takes world war as a second lieutenant in the 1.Guard regiment to foot and starting from 1917 as combat fliers part, until it (whether now intentionally or by a navigational error) lands in the area of neutral Switzerland, where it is interned first in other matte, but after the profit of a production competition for thatpatriotic play Marignano on the Luzerner theatre to work can.

The war experiences are coining/shaping for Murnau as for many its generation; its life companion at that time falls at the east front. In films such as Nosferatu has a lasting effect for some critics still the grey of the war.

1919 it returns to Berlin and begins for the film to work. Its first feature, which is boy in blue, today, like also some its later films, verschollen. With the film of the bending couch and one begins the dancermost fruitful co-operation with the film script author Carl Mayer, which writes the books in the consequence still for six further films Murnaus. Other artists, with whom Murnau co-operated preferentially, are the film script authoress Thea of Harbou, the cameraman Karl Hoffmannand the actors Conrad Veidt. Its most famous film from this time is Nosferatu, a Symphonie of having a horror 1922 with max fright in the title part, a filming of Bram Stokers Dracula, which are renamed however due to license problemshad.

The success of its films brings to Murnau a contract with the UFA , for which it produces 1924 as the first the film the last man, in which Emil Jannings a Hotelportier embodied, which is degradiert to the toilet man and by it breaks.In this film of Murnau and the cameraman the Karl friend used „provoked “or also „flying “camera released the camera from its statics and made completely new perspectives possible (over e.g. to pursue, friend the camera fastened the smoke of a cigaretteto a Feuerwehrleiter and this moved). Furthermore Murnau inserted „the subjective camera “, which shows the happening with the eyes of an acting person in this film. Murnaus ability to also tell to purely cinematic means a history shows up also in it,the fact that he could do in this film nearly completely without Zwischentitel which for the silent movie time is most unusual. The number of its films created in Germany locks Murnau 1926 with Tartüff (after Molière) and fist - a German people legend .

Murnaus of successes in Germany and above all the American version of its last man in the year 1925 made Hollywood attentive on him. Murnau receives a contract offer of the American producer William Fox, which assures full artistic liberty to him. Itsfirst in the USA produced film Sunrise after the narration the journey after Tilsit of Hermann Sudermann wins with the all first OSCAR - award 1927 three Oscars, fulfills however commercial expectations not completely. For this reason and because of that increasing, Murnau must accept more with difficulty becoming economic situation of the company Fox and the situation in Hollywood at the threshold to the Tonfilm with its following films increasingly interferences into its artistic concept; with the film Our DAILY Bread it becomes even asDirector replaced and without its influence was manufactured an additional clay/tone version.

Disappointed by the obligations Hollywoods, quits Murnau 1929 the contract with Fox. After an attempt without result to come again into Berlin with the UFA into the business he buysa sail yacht, firmly decided, to realize its next film alone after its own conceptions and drives to Tahiti, around there with the director and documentary film producer Robert J. To turn Flaherty the film taboo. During the turning work there were substantialDifficulties with the film film companyfilm company financing the turning costs. Finally separates Murnau from Flaherty, which had stronger documentary film ambitions, and produces the film at own expense. The film turned on the island Bora Bora with native layman actors becomes exclusive a style-formingMixture from documentation and Melodram. The selling of the film, on which it had spent its entire fortune and had highly been to blame for themselves, financed by Murnau themselves, is taken over by the company Paramount, who is so impressed by the film that herMurnau a ten-annual contract offers.

The premiere of the film at the 1. August 1931 does not experience Murnau however any longer. At the 11. March 1931 briefly before a European graduation route Murnaus, loses its friend the force over its car, on the coastal road of Santa Monika,and hits frontally with a truck together. Murnau dies few hours later at its injuries.

Its body is transferred to Germany and buried at the Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf with Berlin. Carl Mayer and the director Fritz long hold the grave speeches. Toothe mourning guests count among other things Robert J. Flaherty, Emil Jannings, Erich Pommer and George William Pabst.

Friedrich William Murnau is considered as one of the most important directors of the silent movie era. Its work affected by the expressionism, its psychological picture guidance opened by at that time revolutionaryCamera and assembly work completely new cinematic possibilities.


  • 1919 the boy in blue - 1919
  • Satanas - fragment 1920
  • of the bending couch and the dancer - 1920
  • the Januskopf verschollen - verschollen verschollen
  • 1920 evening - night -Tomorrow - verschollen
  • 1920 longing - 1920
  • the course verschollen into the night
  • 1921 lock Vogelöd
  • 1922 Marizza, called the smuggler Madonna - 1922
  • the burning field 1922
  • Nosferatu , a Symphonie of having a horror verschollen
  • 1922 phantom
  • 1923 driving out - verschollen
  • 1924 finances of the Grand Duke
  • 1924 the last man
  • 1926 Tartüff
  • 1926 fist - a German people legend
  • 1927 Sunrise - A Song OF Two Humans
  • 1928 Four Devils - 1930
  • town center Girl ( Our DAILY Bread) verschollen
  • 1931 taboo

see also: Friedrich William Murnau donation


  • Luciano Berriatúa: Looselyproverbios chinos de F. W. Murnau. Filmoteca Española. Instituto de read Artes Audiovisuales, Madrid 1990-92. ISBN 84-86877-06-7
  • Lotte H. Eisner: Murnau. Local cinema, Frankfurt/Main 1979.
  • Klaus Kreimeier (talk.): Friedrich William Murnau 1888-1988. Bielefelder publishing house, Bielefeld 1988. ISBN 3-87073-034-X. (Catalog to the exhibition 1988/89)

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| | * Literature of and over Friedrich William Murnau in the catalog of the DDB



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