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NosferatuThis is a classic vampire film, made in Germany in 1922. It is black and white, silent with whatever musical accompaniment the distributors have chosen.
Director F.W. Murnau was refused permission by the widow of Bram Stoker to do an adaption of the novel Dracula. Undeterred, Murnau changed the name of the vampire to Count Graf Von Orlock and the title of the film to Nosferatu. Stoker's widow tried to have the film destroyed, but between the 1960s and the 1990s it was restored. Unfortunately, this reviewer only saw a version where the names have been changed back to those in Dracula.
The plot is more or less that of Stoker's book. The differences? Well, the thing that stands out about the film is Max Shreck's makeup and portray of Orlock. He is not the suave Dracula portrayed later by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, but a hairless rat-faced monster that the film links to the plague of Bremen in 1836.
Shadow of the VampireThis is apparently based on a true story about suspicious happenings on the set ofNosferatu in Germany, 1922. Director F.W. Murnau [John Malkovich - Being John Malkovich ] is obsessed with completing his project. To that end he has recruited Max Shreck, apparently a follower of Stanislavsky's method-acting techniques, to play the vampire. The rest of the cast and crew will only see Shreck while he is in make-up and in character.
The cast, including Eddie Izzard [ Mystery Men ], travel to a remote castle in Czechoslovakia to film the location scenes. Once there they meet Shreck [Willem Dafoe, recently confirmed as the Green Goblin in the forthcoming Spider-Man movie]. Dafoe is excellent, both creepy and sinister yet with a hint of self-mockery. Hard to believe he shagged Madonna senseless in Body of Evidence!
As the film-making continues, the cast and crew begin to suspect that Shreck is not an actor but a real vampire, obsessed with the female star of the film [ Catherine McCormack ]. While the film progresses, life imitates art. Unfortunately, there is very little suspense or realism in the film. It descends into a state of semi-surrealism; we know the answer to the question Is Shreck really a vampire?, but the film doesn't show any consequences to the revelations.
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