Nosferatu Was Almost Lost

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Nosferatu was the second film to be based on Bram Stoker’s definitive horror classic, Dracula. However, the filmmakers created the film without his permission. When they were unable to secure the rights, they simply decided to carry on, changing the names of the main characters and the title. In fact, they were so careless in their plagiarism that one advertisement for the film stated it was “freely adapted” from Stoker’s work.

Stoker’s widow, Florence, however, was not impressed, and she took legal action against the movie, calling on the British Incorporated Society of Authors for assistance.

While the film company, Prana-Film, filed for bankruptcy to avoid the issue, it soon came before the court anyway, when a print of the film surfaced in Budapest.

Stoker won out, and the company was ordered to pay. After the company appealed the decision in an attempt to avoid the high fine, Stoker decided to request a different outcome – that all copies of the film be destroyed.

Thankfully, one print of the film survived and eventually came to light in America, where it was safe in the public domain and would later be enjoyed by horror fans for years to come.