I thought Nosferatu would be the movie that most scared and therefore most pleased me, but I felt disappointed. The ending was too sudden, and I did not get enough quality Orlok time before then. I did get the creepies from the famous shadow scene, impressive considering that I had seen the image before. (Nosferatu‘s like the Grand Canyon in that way; before you ever actually visit, you’ve seen most of it before, and dare I say that there’s something slightly anticlimactic as a result?)
So, I’m not sure I have much to say about the film except that this version struck me as some strange allegory about extramarital desire, only the ending doesn’t work out as such situations typically do. From the beginning, I hated Hutter; I mean, who gleefully prances off on a business trip after watching his wife weep over his departure? Hutter and Goodman Brown, that’s who. (Jerks.) I feel like we are supposed to see him as a little foolish. At least naive.
So, when Orlok is all passionately obsessed with Ellen, I thought, “Good for her. At least she’s getting some attention.” And what self-respecting husband doesn’t at least say, “Hey!” when another man says that his wife has a lovely neck? Sheesh. What interests me is that Ellen is equally enamored in this version even though she’s not given a clear reason to feel this way. Coppola had us believe that Dracula and Mina were past lovers reunited by reincarnation, but what is the cause of Ellen’s infatuation? Why does she open the window? My answer: because her husband is sleeping in a chair.
Yet, in the end, Ellen suffers no repercussions for what could be seen as symbolic adultery. She allows herself to be bitten but, in doing so, saves the town instead of earning a scarlet A. After she and Orlok are both sated, he simply disappears in the morning light, like the memory of some forbidden dream.