Thursday, October 30, 2014

NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (1979, WEST GERMANY)

12 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!
DAY 11
Nosferatu 1922
Nosferatu 1979
Nosferatu, the Vampyre (1979) is how you do a remake! You bring all the elements from the original: the creepy castle of Nosferatu, the ill-fated ship transporting the vampire, and the confrontation between Nosferatu and his beloved at the end of the film. But you add new elements to the story to round the whole thing out. The embellishment on the details of the plague is the chief example, as well as the surprise twist to the ending that those that have seen the original (me at least) may not have been expecting here.

The scariest thing about the original is just the look of Max Schreck's Nosferatu. You may say his exaggerated features make him look too non-human. But I think Schreck's look is the best thing about the original. Klaus Kinski's Nosferatu  in this remake is still scary looking, but his appearance is toned down considerably. His eyebrows are less out of control, his ears less exaggeratedly pointy, but he is still a scary looking vampire. His at least reasonable proximity to a man does give him room to seem closer to the human species than the original. But not by much.

Additional casting notes: I recall on the commentary track for the movie Fitzcarroldo, how director Werner Herzog talked about how difficult Klaus Kinski was to work with. It should tell you about how good Kinski was that Herzog would keep using him in film after film. He is a marvelous and intense Nosferatu and is great to watch on screen. Extra hazard points to director Herzog for being able to rein in this difficult thespian here and elsewhere.

The movie also benefits from two strong actors in the roles of Jonathan and Lucy Harker: Bruno Ganz (later my all-time favorite Hitler in Downfall) and Isabelle Adjani (two-time Academy Award nominee.) 

2 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this yet, but it is supposed to be highly interesting:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200849/

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  2. That looks interesting, Nicolas. I'll have to check it out. I still haven't got to Aguirre, the Wrath of God yet. I'm looking forward to that one.

    ReplyDelete