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Overview for F. W. Murnau
F. W. Murnau

F. W. Murnau


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Also Known As: Died: March 11, 1931
Born: December 28, 1888 Cause of Death: automobile accident
Birth Place: Germany Profession: Director ...


"When I think I shall have to leave all this I already suffer all the agony of going. I am bewitched by the place ... Sometimes I wish I were at home. But I am never 'at home' anywhere--I feel this more and more the older I get--not in any country nor in any house with anybody." --F.W. Murnau writing to his mother, reprinted in "World Film Directors, Volume I" edited by John Wakeman (New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987)

Shortly before his death, a fortune teller Murnau was in the habit of consulting told the director he would be with his mother on April 5, a date which was not in keeping with his plans. However, after the March 11 auto accident that claimed his life, his remains travelled by ship to Germany, arriving in Germany on April 4. The woman who gave him life claimed them the following day, April 5, 1931. --From "The Motion Picture Guide, Volume X" (Chicago: CineBooks Inc., 1986)

Anticipating Alexandre Astruc's "camera-stylo": "The camera is the director's pencil. It should have the greatest possible mobility in order to record the most fleeting harmony of atmosphere. It is important that the mechanical factor should not stand between the spectator and the film." --F.W. Murnau, reprinted in "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" by David Thompson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994)

"Of all the great personalities of the cinema, Murnau was the most German. He was a Westphalian, reserved, severe on himself, severe on others, severe for the cause. He could show himself outwardly grim, but inside he was like a boy, profoundly kind. Of all the great directors, he was the one who had the strongest character, rejecting any form of compromise, incorruptible. He was a pioneer, an explorer, he fertilized everything he touched and was always years in advance. Never envious, always modest. And always alone." --Emil Jannings' written tribute to Murnau, reprinted in "The Great German Films" by Frederick W Ott (Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, 1986)

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