Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Murnau, Friedrich Wilhelm


(pseudonym of F. W. Plumpe). Born Dec. 28, 1889, in Murnau, near Bielefeld, Westphalia, Germany; died Mar. 11, 1931, in Hollywood, Calif. German film director.

Murnau studied at the theatrical school of M. Reinhardt, later directing and performing in theatrical productions. His first films were close to expressionism in theme, character treatment, and external means of expression. Murnau gained recognition for his films Der Januskopf (1920; released in the USA as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; based on a work by R. L. Stevenson) and Nosferatu (1922; based on B. Stoker’s Dracula), as well as for his films featuring the prominent actor E. Jannings: Tartuffe (1925; based on Moliére’s play) and Faust (1926; based on Goethe’s drama). Murnau’s best work was Der letzte Mann (1925; released in the USA as The Last Laugh).

In 1926, Murnau went to Hollywood, where he made the films Sunrise (1927; based on H. Sudermann’s play) and Tabu (1931; codirected with R. Flaherty). He died in an automobile accident.


Komarov, S. Istoriia zarubezhnogo kino [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1965.
Eisner, L. F. W. Murnau. Paris, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Among them are films from well-known names like Fritz Lang, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Georg Wilhelm Pabst and Ernst Lubitsch.
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The Berlinale's special tribute is honoring all of that tumultuous history, beginning with Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's 1924 classic "The Last Laugh," which starred Emil Jannings (the first actor ever to win an Oscar) as an aging hotel doorman who suffers humiliation after being demoted to the position of washroom attendant.
Mae Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror - ffilm fud y cyfarwyddwr Almaenig Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau a wnaethpwyd yn 1922 - yn cael ei chydnabod fel clasur gan wybodusion y sinema.
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