This essay examines the role of rumors in F. W. Murnau’s films as well as in later writings about his life and career. While Murnau perpetuates long-standing figurations of gossip as a frivolous or even malicious activity, he also grants unverified information a truth value. Where Heidegger claimed that Gerede (idle talk) is based on “groundlessness” and “indifferent intelligibility,” this essay shows that rumors in Murnau’s films are often well-founded and also essential to a nuanced understanding of his work. Bringing together film analyses, archival materials, and philosophical texts, the essay sheds light on an underexamined aspect of Murnau’s oeuvre and addresses broader questions about the status of speculative, uncertain, or contested knowledge. A study of Gerede does not entail a concealment of authentic discourse but illuminates Murnau’s philosophy of rumors as part of a dialectic of destabilized knowledge.

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