Shadow of the Vampire (Review) | Movies about Movies #6 | Mickeleh

Shadow of the Vampire (Review) | Movies about Movies #6 | Mickeleh

September 11, 2019 28 By William Hollis


movies about movies today number six a movie about a movie about a vampire no the vampire vampires more popular than ever in books movies and television but these days of course they’re sparkly and sexy and teenag but the first movie vampire they went a different way a rat tooth bat eared creepazoid FW Murnau’s Nosferatu is symphony of horror 1922 if you have ever enjoyed a horror movie anyone from Bride of Chucky to the T Chronicles to super brainy zombies uof nobody more now the first vampire movie the first horror movie and still in many ways the most unsettling vampire movie of them all is it still scary in the 21st century maybe not scary no but still very haunting very creepy Neville’s inside in fact this guy more now was making it up he didn’t have a model Tarantino watches other people’s movies and he goes oh that’s how you do that that’s how you do that George Lucas copied endless movies shot-for-shot when he did Star Wars Episode four Teen New Hope but more done with his production designer Alban growl and his cinematographer fa vogner they made it up Raul was producer costume designer production designer vogner was on the most talented cinematographers working in Germany in the 20s and 30s every shot in Nosferatu is designed and composed with exquisite care and intelligence at least a dozen of them will imprint indelibly on your memory now Serato is really an easy film to get obsessed with Steven Katz started his obsession at age 10 or 11 the performance of Max Schreck is the vampire Count Orlok the teeth the ears the gliding moves the stillness the fingernails at some point cats thought to himself wait this guy doesn’t seem human what what if he actually is a vampire what if it turns out more now wasn’t making a horror movie but filming a sick documentary Katz fleshed out that premise into a darkly comical screenplay a fantasy film about the making of Nosferatu espresso BTS behind the scenes his agent sent the script to Nicolas Cage which just started his own production company and boom greenlight for shadow of the vampire cage recruited to director Elias Mirage and the writer Stephen Katz had a specific actor in mind when he wrote the script to play the part of Max wrecked as an actual vampire he wrote it for Willem Dafoe happily caged and marriage concurred and Dafoe was available and it was Cage who first thought to pair Dafoe with John Malkovich as director Friedrich Wilhelm more now both these lead actors are founding members of two renowned theatre companies in the u.s. Dafoe the Wooster group in New York City Malkovich Stefan wolf in Chicago these are actors actors intelligent fearless funny I think it’s worth watching shadow of the vampire just to see these two masters of their craft have added there are a few scenery-chewing among bastok explosions maybe over the top but with Malkovich there always are I think that’s why you hire him isn’t it they’re all so delicate subtleties in both their performances I mean think about what the phone is doing here he is playing a vampire who is pretending to be an actor playing a vampire it sounds like sketch material not into foes hands he is very funny but at the same time he carries the weight of centuries of unspeakable sadness and isolation and horror loneliness he becomes as vain and difficult as any movie star and on top of that he’s starving literally it’s a richly layered performance I mean to put a comedic gloss on max wreck without losing the horror it’s extraordinary work Dafoe got an Oscar nomination for him the whole cast is strong I especially loved Eddie Izzard he plays Gustavo Fagin Hines the actor who plays cutter in the zoo that’s the real estate agent who journeys to Transylvania to meet the mysterious Count Orlok and negotiate the sale of a house in the city if you have seen Nosferatu you know that hutter is a strangely passive simple childlike slightly effeminate guy who never quite gets what’s going on he’s always a beat behind for example he wakes up after spending the night in oarlocks castle he finds two marks on his throat and he goes huh mosquitoes now to be fair he’s never seen a vampire movie but the terrified superstitious villagers at the end gave him the handbook he had the briefing mosquitos hunter lively cells or locked the big house right across the street from his own house to the peril of his wife and all their neighbors fat Commission salesman Izard’s performance stands on its own but if you have seen the original he is hilariously on point the plot of house ferrata hinges on that disastrous bargain that hunters struck with the vampire and the plot of shadow of the vampire hinges on a similar short-sighted bargain one that more now makes with the vampire but what could a movie director possibly offer his payment to a vampire mm-hmm lunch and that sets up the core conflict between the fictional more now and his undead star the vampire getting hungrier by the minute more now struggling to keep him from feeding on the cast and crew at least till he gets the last shot in the can all the while trying to persuade the cast and crew this shrek guy just a method actor Stanislavski he just doesn’t want to break character you can relax director Elias marriage also wants to make some serious philosophical points about art and immortality about the movie camera itself being a kind of vampire that sucks the life from living actors leaves them as undead shadows if you were to symbolism it’s not bad maybe it’s just me I don’t really have a lot of patience for the philosophical speeches but I have to admit there’s something to it I mean watch Nosferatu nobody in that film is alive anymore yet their undead performance is still captivate us the movie camera does turn living actors into undead shadows happily the key players of shadow of the vampire are still with us still doing amazing work Dafoe is having a fine 2014 the grand Budapest hotel The Fault in Our Stars shadow of the vampire is a wonderful enjoyable film but it is not like Nosferatu an immortal one I think it’s too cluttered for one thing in Nosferatu the vampyre has only about 10 minutes of screen time he’s in our head the rest of the time but in shadow the vampire once the vampire shows up he hogs the screen like Hamlet or Richard the third and his lines aren’t nearly as good the mysterious primal evil of the original is diluted by treating Orlock as a demanding diva bargaining with his director for more close-ups it’s a good premise but I think it wears thin I think maybe the compensate marriage just piles on comedy horror philosophy social commentary the decadence of the Weimar Republic between the wars drug addiction he puts a lot of freight onto the film and in the process he through that more is not necessarily more but when it’s good shadow on the vampire is delicious until next time i’m mickeleh DVD extras opening shot of shadow of the vampire is an extreme close-up of the eye of the director followed by a matching shot of the lens of his camera the camera is more now’s old camera the actual camera that more now shot with borrowed from a private collector one of the liberties that shadow takes with actual history is the way it treats the producer channel of the vampire reduces Albin growl to the cliche of a harried producer struggling to keep up with and clean up after a man visionary director but in reality growl is an essential part of the creative team the film was his idea to begin with he was in the supernaturalism he was not only the producer but the designer of the sets and costumes he did the concept art the storyboards not only that he designed the promotional posters cautionary tale for youtubers Nosferatu is based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula so as the vampire called Orlock did not Dracula why is the young couple called hütter and Elin instead of Jonathan Harker and Mina well it turns out more now didn’t clear the copyright with Bram Stoker’s Widow order that reflects the fact that movies a hundred years ago were seen as kind of a bastard child of the Arts not respectable you know like like YouTube now movies were an upstart that’s like the theater what license my husband’s novel to a movie oh no we couldn’t make a proper play of it put it on in the West End and send it to Broadway no rights no problem or no on growlithe ought they can get away with filming Dracula without rights just change the character names no one alone the widow Stoker was not fooled not amused she sued she won and a court ordered all prints of Nosferatu be destroyed that is the ultimate takedown notice so please clear your copyrights luckily a few prints escaped destruction but for most of my life most fraught to is viewable only in terrible multi-generation prints jittery flickery scratched faded mottled is even one of those on youtube but please don’t watch it because amazingly in 2006 a restoration was issued based on a few nearly pristine prints that were discovered in the Film Archives around the world mister shots were found some existing shots were extended original tinting restored a reconstruction of the original symphonic score was recorded that’s the one you should watch here is a trailer for the restored Nosferatu it’s on Netflix or on blu-ray and here the trailer for the shadow of the vampire now here’s a dry but very deeply researched documentary on the real story of the making of Nosferatu and if you missed super brainy zombies or the T Chronicles you can look for them here no I’m not plugging any of my own videos today you know where to find me don’t you when you found me here by now