The film was accompanied by an improvised score courtesy of renowned organist, Martin Baker, who has since 2000 been the Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. Baker was granted the rare honour of being allowed to play the world famous Mulholland Grand Organ, one of the oldest examples of a functioning classic English pipe organ. The Organ is named after former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Andrew Mulholland, who donated it to the hall in the 1860s.
|The Ulster Hall, Belfast|
|The enormous Mulholland Organ, situated at the front of the hall|
|A wider shot of the hall for context (this photo isn't of the event). The giant screen onto which Nosferatu was projected, was positioned in front of the organ.|
Nosferatu holds the honour of being the first ever cinematic adaptation of Irish writer Bram Stoker’s bestselling chiller, 'Dracula' – the ultimate and most renowned of vampire novels. However, we should count ourselves lucky that this adaptation is actually available for us to watch at all today. Stoker’s widow, Northern Irish born Florence, found out about Murnau’s ‘plagiarised’ adaptation and successfully sued his production company for copyright infringement. Without having seen the film for herself, and well after its sparkling German premiere – at which it was accompanied by a full orchestra to provide a score – she demanded the negative and original prints be destroyed. Luckily they weren’t – someone who saw the groundbreaking film for what it was – a future classic – hid them away for safe keeping.
The screening of Nosferatu and its accompanying live score by the inspired Barker, unfolded as a magnificent evening; the success of which will hopefully ensure it was the first of many more to come. I will certainly treasure the experience.
Fangs for the memories, Belfast City Council. *ahem*